Monday, October 25, 2010

Fable III

With Fable III coming out tomorrow, I wanted to recap and post my wish list for a franchise I hold pretty close to my gaming heart. So lets start from the beginning.

*Warning* If you haven't played Fable or Fable II yet, this post will contain spoilers...

The original Fable came out in 2004 for the original Xbox, and it is one of my favorite games of all time. The game had its hits and misses, but what truly sold me hook, line, and sinker was the story. In my personal opinion, Fable has one of the most well told stories in all of gaming. You start out as a young boy in Oakvale, a small, peaceful town in the world of Albion. Its your sister's birthday, and its pretty much her worst birthday ever. Soon after the game starts, the town is raided, your father is killed, and your mother and sister are kidnapped. After the dust settles, a mysterious man named Maze shows up to help, and takes you to the Guild. The Guild is where you are introduced to all of the abilities of the Hero, as well as many of the main characters in the game. Once your training is complete, you are off to find out who is responsible for what happened to your family, and finally get your revenge.

Now, I know when written out like this, it doesn't sound all that original, and at its core, the story really isn't. But the story is told and played in such an way that it really draws you in. You feel connected to your character and the people you meet. One of the things that really draws you in deeper is the decisions you are faced with. The first time I played through the game, I thought a lot of the decisions were really tough, heavy decisions. Without giving too much away, some of these decisions were whether or not to kill your childhood training partner, and yes, your sister. They were also tough because you weren't sure how the world or story line would change with each decision. But this was also one of the downfalls of the game.

The first play through of the game is truly amazing, and I found myself wanting to play through it again immediately just to see how the game would change if you decided to be evil instead of good, and unfortunately  the story doesn't really change all that much. Its actually a rather linear story. Some of the events change slightly, but you are always faced with the same decisions and you get to the same place at the end of the game. The only things that really change are your appearance to a degree, and how people react to you in towns.

As far as the game play goes, I thought it played pretty well (I actually played it on the PC and thought the controls were pretty intuitive, so I cant really speak for the Xbox version). There wasn't too much depth in how you could progress your powers, but it was interesting to find which combinations worked best. Progressing the lifestyle of your character was fun at times, but certain actions like buying a house and marrying someone were not critical. Beyond that, it felt like a pretty traditional RPG in combat, upgrading your gear depending on the stats, and collecting special items around the world. The game really had potential here, but fell just a little short.

Another small, but very mentionable note for what made this game so great was the voice acting. The voice acting was phenomenal, and really gave the world of Albion personality. It a brought a realness to the game.

All in all, Fable is an amazing game (at least on the first run through), and is definitely worth your while if you never played it. With as much fun as I had in Fable, Fable II was sure buy when it was released. But did it hold up to/go beyond the original? Check back tomorrow for my recap on Fable II and my wish list for Fable III.

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