I’ve been debating whether or not to play Fable 3 for quite some time. I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy it, Fable 2 was a let down and I was familiar with Peter Molyneux’s reputation. But I had played Fable 1 and 2, so I thought, “why not?”
I don’t dislike the Fable series, I actually enjoyed Fable 1 when it was first released and thought the franchise had a lot of potential. By the time Fable 2 came about, I was puzzled. It’s the same reason Fable 3 puzzles me. A game where we’re supposed to shape our own destiny seems to lack any real decision making. There are no gray area’s when it comes to making a decision and the choices we are given aren’t difficult to make, you don’t struggle with the options you are given. If your character is good, you’ll make the good choice no matter what. If your character is evil, you’ll choose the evil option without hesitation.
In a quest called Bored to Death, you meet two brothers who are ghosts. They tell you that their mother was buried with a magical book and they would very much like to have that book because they’re bored. So you set off on the quest, get to the graveyard their mother is buried in, fight a bunch of hollowmen and meet the ghost of the mother. The mother tells you that her sons were constantly getting into trouble when they were alive. She decides the best thing to do is to give you (I’m a good hero), the book to keep safe. I automatically thought her sons definitely wouldn’t be happy with the choice I was about to make. So I hurry back to the sons and to my disappointment, there was no choice at all.
“Hold A” to give book to Sam and Max
Should I have been surprised? This was a game created by Molyneux after all, I knew what I was getting myself into. I assumed that this aspect of the game would have been improved, especially with games like Dragon Age, Mass Effect, Red Dead Redemption and Fallout 3 using this system quite effectively. I’m not a huge fan of Dragon Age: Origins, but I was impressed by the choices you had to make and the impact they’d have in Ferelden (The world the game is set in). For example, in the quest to get an alliance with the Dwarfs of Orzammar, you had to settle a dispute by assisting in choosing the next King of Orzammar. At first it seems like an easy task, there is the “good” choice for king and an “evil” choice. But the more you interact with the Dwarfs in Orzammar, you discover that it’s not necessarily that easy. Each candidate for king has their own agenda, and each has his pros and cons. It is really quite a fascinating quest and one that made me appreciate Dragon Age that much more.
For Fable, a game that relies on your choices to help shape the story, a system that is supposed to add depth, but ultimately makes the game shallow. Without revealing any spoilers, in the later half of the game, you are given the impression that the choices you make (as a good hero) will have some sort of negative impact on people. That’s just an… illusion. As long as you raise enough gold, then you still have nothing to worry about. I suppose there are reasons to go with a simplistic system. Molyneux wanted to bring this franchise to the mainstream audience and simplified the game the most he could. From the control layout to the general difficulty of the game, and in my opinion the game suffers from it.
It’s not a bad game, it’s not a great one either.