Whenever I hear of a sequel coming out to a game that I like, I often wonder if it’s going to improve upon something that I already love, or destroy everything and shatter my fragile gaming emotions. Though this sound a bit dramatic, sequels are always a mixed bag for me – I’ve played some sequels that completely butcher the original game, while some sequels make me fall in love with the game all over again. Fable III is a mixture of both – while this third installment has cut back on certain things, its polish, presentation and fun factor are just some of the things that cement its place in my game collection.
Fable III is set 50 years after the events in Fable II. Albion is a different place now – the grime and toil of industry has given rise to mechanical advancements around the area, as well as coated the city in a dark, gritty presentation thanks to the scores of factories all around. Your character is the child of the Hero from Fable II, while your brother is the tyrannical ruler of Albion. The citizens of Albion are miserable and are too afraid to revolt against the King, and anyone who disobeys is swiftly dealt with. After choosing whether you want to play as either a prince or princess, your character attempts to reconcile the differences between the people and the King, but is quickly branded as a traitor. You’re then forced to make one of the hardest decisions of the game, and that’s barely less than 10 minutes into it – something that really brings to your attention the decision-making feature of Fable III. Only after fleeing the castle does the true game begin – the people are tired of your brother’s rule, and it’s up to you to lead a revolution (and a formidable army) against the King and overthrow him.
While finding allies and recruiting them is a fairly straightforward task of carrying out a series of missions to earn their trust, it is the gameplay element here that has changed the most. You no longer have to collect endless amounts of orbs in order to upgrade your weapons and abilities. Instead of orbs, you have to collect Guild Seals, and you do this by using your magical abilities, completing missions, and interacting with a town’s residents. You are also given access to the “Road to Rule” – a mystical pathway that marks your progressions through the game with a series of large gates. Complete enough missions and earn enough Guild Seals, and you unlock each gate in turn. After each gate is a series of chests, each one containing an upgrade to your weapons or magic, or granting you new expressions or even the ability to marry or rent out property. This simplified upgrade system may seem a bit simple for experienced players, but I personally find this much more manageable than collecting countless orbs.
Another major improvement in the game is the addition of Guild Sanctuary – a magical room that can be accessed at any time by pressing the Start button. This room allows you to fast travel to any location and bring up available quests and important locations. The sanctuary also has four special rooms – a dressing room for you to change outfits, an armory for storing and equipping weapons, a trophy room for viewing your rewards and achievements, and a ‘Live’ room for interacting with other Fable III players.