Fable III Limited Collector’s Edition Review: An Albion Rediscovered and Reclaimed – How Will Albion Remember You?

Down with the King! The tyrannical ruler of Albion is in a predicament when it comes to the grandeur storyline of Fable III, successor to Fable II from the popular Fable series of U.K. developer based Lionhead Studios. It is time to lead a revolution and find a hero within you to conquer all tribulations for the whole of Albion, and the good of its people. Five decades have passed since the events of the Tattered Spire from Fable II, and the road to revolution is sounding the horns to every oppressed citizen, desperate for the good of the people and the duty of its heroes, despite none known to be alive. Fable III creates one of the best iterations from the “Fable” series, making a mind-encompassing title with an expansive set of features, and moreover daring to keep the formula similar while revitalizing it with a newer energy that a passionate revolution demands. The online cooperative gameplay is not deceptive as it was within Fable II, and moreover lackluster. The storyline has vivaciously changed to add a brilliant depth and following to the second title, while continuing on and focusing on the challenges of being a leader, let alone the savagely glorious march to conquer the land of Albion to even begin the journey. The core combat mechanics have, without a doubt, been improved. The journey of Fable III is an immovable one full of surprises and choices, major or minor, whilst leading to a fantastically distinguė accomplishment of the series which masterfully crafts the makings of a King, and most importantly encompasses the ruling of a people and their struggle for hope and moreover – a new hero of Albion.

Fable III begins the long road and journey of the makings for a great King and Hero at the time of the industrial revolution, the very time which sees Albion and the citizens at their most productive time, but finally their most oppressive times within the course of 50 years. King Logan, a tall man with distinctively prominent features which include his slick black and villainous hair, has decided to rule Fable with an iron fist and a grey curtain of tyranny and authoritarianism. His decisions are willingly brash, his attitude direly grim, and his demeanor extremely unforgiving. As the brother to this tyrant, born from the makings of the same hero from Fable II, the central exemplar or equally demented (depending on the play-style) brother will raise a revolution that will benefit the people or lead them cringing for the question of who is worse. The choice is consequential and the revisionist combinatorial aspects within the storyline structure are what make Fable III amazing, ranging from small squabbles between two people to a massive complication in provinces of Albion itself. Everything is affected from your hero and his/her choices, to the canine companions and even the weapons themselves respond vibrantly to the surroundings to mirror the morality and personal style of combat of the protagonist.

Fable III sees an extraordinary amount of revivifying gameplay design with the single-player campaign with remarkable changes to both the interface system and finally player progression system of the hero. The pause screen finally vanquished a 2D distraction that negatively impacted the flow of Fable II, which had a lot of action and adventure. The single-player campaign mode comes with a newer feature that includes a Black & White inspired 3-D world map within a new feature room known as the Sanctuary. Players are able to have the sanctuary their Hero from Fable II left them when they came to power, giving a prominent bachelor pad for a future charismatic hero of Albion. The Sanctuary keeps players constantly immersed in the gameplay of the action by using the affirmative face buttons for the title (usually the pause button) to head to the Sanctuary from any game at any point except while engaged in combat.  This Sanctuary is composed of a series of chambers cared for by your butler Jasper, vocalized by the magnificently known John Cleese, who serves as one of Fable III’s hero confidants which every ruler can trust. Jasper can assist with matters of the court, or fashion advice as can be seen from the funny remarks at the beginning of the journey for Fable III. The Sanctuary houses an incredible amount of chambers such as the wardrobe, the weapons, achievements room, and even the online room which leads to parallel Fable universes as explicated by Fable lore in the olden times of Albion. Fable III sees a dramatic change in the attribute and leveling system within the single-player campaign as well. While there are no apparent attribute points (Strength, Agility, Luck), there are now Guildseals as a way to unlock chests that level up the spell attributes further as the title progresses, and more levels of The Road to Revolution unlocks, the only road provided as a map of simply becoming the ruler of Albion as only a small part of the journey. Gold is still the currency of Albion, and is gained concurrently with Guildseals or through capitalist ventures of owning properties and businesses that aggregate money for the hero who is soon to be the King of Albion. Fable III harbingers a level of excitement that brilliantly centralizes the need of the people during a time of mechanical evolution, while accentuating their prolonged circumstances for the need of a new hero in a terrific example of the road to power, peace or tyranny, and finally hopes for the land.

A call to arms and a call to defend the honor of the city is where it begins. Fable III makes use of the similar Fable II system in terms of combat weapons and spells, giving an unmatched fury with the one-button combat system, allowing players to combine various styles from calamitous magic one moment, to slicing the hand of a thug the next. Hand-to-hand melee attacks are finally implemented with a tenacity that is incredible, giving rise to the occasion when a weapon is wielded in the palm of the hands. The combat targeting system remains the same, and the weapons control as before, but now every weapon has a personality. If you are generally evil in terms of your morality, the weapon glows red or similar, and if positive, then likewise the weapon takes a much more powerful glow and friendly aurora.  The combat feels much more fluid for ranged weapons, but utilizing these are the very annoying flip switches which are back as part of the puzzles that make up very few areas of the title, despite being overly complicated. Luckily, puzzles and the level design has taken a turn for the better when it comes to small or underground areas, with secret doors and similarly opportunities behind every corner.

Fable III brings one of the most prodigious changes into the dexterous realm of the online-enabled cooperative gameplay campaign.  Players can finally have individual identities to their heroes, something which was highly marketed for Fable II during exclusive Fable II press events and finally shortly before the game was set for release. Unfortunately, this exact concept never made it into Fable II, which saw both players sharing one tumultuous camera, problematic at times, and also the joining player as a standard and blasé henchman NPC. Fable III finally delivers the preternatural cooperative gameplay which was demanded of players, enabling both players to retain their distinct hero identities and canine companions whether they are joining a friend’s world or hailing one into theirs. Supplementing this adventure is the newly revived Couch Cooperative gameplay which returns to “Fable III,” allowing two players to join their royal forces and rule the world of Albion together.  Multiplayer rewards an extended amount of gold and even Guildseals which players are able to take back with them into their respective campaign, while the online interaction does not end there. Players can create their own world in Albion, marry each other, raise a family, or even own shops together under their respective identities and share profits cross-LIVE. There is hardly any lag when playing on the exclusive servers and the experience is all the same through Xbox LIVE.

Fable III’s voice acting is one of the most remarkable ones that is fitting of the cast which was hired to perform the roles of the large and wide moonstruck variety of colorful and hilarious characters within the world of Albion. Zoe Wanamaker joins the hero as the famed guidance of Theresa, actively using that motherly voice to help the hero in the journey and struggle to revolution. Sir Ben Kingsley does a decent job with Sabine, though nothing spectacular or remarkable. Simon Pegg stars as Ben Finn, the loyal soldier and adventurer from the Royal Albion Army, who has dabbled in criminality due to the misfortunes that the world puts him through. Notably, one of the best voice talents of the title derives from the autocratic and deeming voice of King Logan, brilliantly proclaimed by first-time videogame voice work enthusiast Jonathan Fassbender. Fable III has a storyline matched with undying voice performances all of which formulates the journey  a bit more guided through Theresa, grim with Logan, and even a bit hilarious through the rest of Albion.

Fable III is one of the best titles of the Fable franchise to date. The voice-production work is terrific, the gameplay is fluid despite having a lot of recurring elements from the old formulas, and the newer designed systems fare much better for the pacing and flow of the journey to the revolution. The online cooperative gameplay is lively and continues to extend the title far beyond its single-player capacity in an extraordinary presence. Fable III has finally brought the thrill in the adventure of revolution, and moreover exigent rebellion from self-imposed autocratic rule while changing with the choices and the consequences the player decides in a harrowing tale of the need to be good, or the dying wish to be a hypocritical bad. Whatever the choice – you are on the fortuitous path which will lead you to your own desires, each of which reveal the true morality and the meaning of what it takes to be a Hero, for better or terrifyingly worse. The fantastical question remains: how will Albion remember you?

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