Fable III Hands-On Preview

fable 3

After the slight sighs of disappointment from Fable II, gamers were hoping for a big revival in the sequel, Fable III. And with good reason, given how much Molyneux has been talking up the various emotional and motion-controlled aspects of the king’s rise and subsequent use of power. While we didn’t manage to see how Kinect will play into the game, we did get some quality time with our new hero of Albion and were surprised by its familiarity.

Not to be confused, this is a new game with plenty of revamped systems and ideas, chief among those being the trajectory of the storyline which follows the king’s brother as he overthrows his sibling’s rule and takes it for his own, good or bad. But the whole thing really feels an awful lot like its predecessor. Take, for example, the mapping of attacks. X is melee, Y is ranged, and B is magic. Sound familiar? Now look at the system for quests: Find a quest, accept a quest, follow the yellow sparkles to the quest, and complete the quest. It should be noted that these things aren’t wrong or bad, but they certainly don’t provide a revolutionary sense to the gameplay which most gamers were likely hoping for.

The improvements, though perhaps not entirely as visible, are significant enough to mention, and probably significant enough to change the play experience. Among the most basic is the removal of a start menu in favor of "The Sanctuary," an actual interactive space, sort of like a large walk-in closet, that houses all of the inventory, dogs, powers, and the butler that the player possesses. It should be noted that John Cleese voices the butler and narrates parts of the game as well, faithfully spreading cheeky British commentary throughout, and preserving the humorous charm of the series.

But humor comes in more forms than an ex-Monty-Python butler, as missions will have the character performing some outlandish and ridiculous stunts. In the E3 village demo, players were asked to don a fairly realistic-looking chicken suit to lure a farmer’s chickens back to their pen. However, it’s still possible to interact with the townspeople while wearing the poultry outfit, and so we took some time to explore those options. Like in Fable II, players are able to choose what kind of actions to perform to, around, or for townspeople, which this time around will help accumulate followers for good or for bad. And some of the bad responses are just awesome. In quick succession to an unsuspecting woman at a pub, we were able to chicken dance in front of her, grab her face and break wind all over it, and spin her around and rodeo ride her. Seriously. If you want to be bad, the option is definitely there.

Another tweak that may have a great effect on combat is the slow morphing of the character and his/her weapons to shape his/her desired style of play. So if you use your cutlass more than anything else, your character will become more proficient with it, and the sword will appear more worn but familiar to your character. This is the kind of system players will likely have to see to truly get, but it sounds promising.

While the most intriguing part of the game, the reign as king, was not on display at E3, Molyneux has promised a deep, strategic system affected by moral decisions as well as political ones. He even hinted at the possibility of taking over other lands with military might. And although Kinect was also not on display, Lionhead is reportedly still working hard to integrate the new technology in the game to very dramatic effect. Let’s just hope Milo isn’t the big surprise.


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Author: Dan Crabtree View all posts by
Dan is Managing Editor for GamerNode and a freelance gaming writer. His dog is pretty great. Check him out on Twitter @DanRCrabtree.

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