Ah, I figured it was about time to introduce you to my second love, and that is video games. Lots of people think that video games and literature can’t coexist peacefully in one brain, but it’s not true. A good video game can make you think and get you attached just like a good story. Fable 3 came out awhile back, but I just got it for Christmas, and had an entire week to veg out on the couch between college graduation and starting a new job. Suffice to say, I beat the storyline tonight (day 4, I think) and so obviously it’s on my brain.
I’ve only played Fable 2 before this, so that’s the only prequel I have to compare it to. Basically Fable 3 has just as good as a story plot, possibly an even more complicated one. You start off as either a prince or princess (you get to pick), the younger sibling to a tyrant ruler of the land called Albion, which is the land that the Fable games take place in. Just as a fun fact, “Albion” is also an old name for England (in case you were wondering why everyone in the game has English accents). This particular installment has Albion at the height of its industrial age, and many of the same issues plague it as plagued England in the nineteenth century, namely child labor, poor working conditions, class disparity, etc.
The first part of the story has you gathering allies for a rebellion against your brother, followed by a revolution which puts you as ruler. After that is a really interesting addition where you must fight off an impending darkness that comes from the land across the sea, Aurora. These creatures really reminded me of the heartless, from Kingdom Hearts. “Shadelight” is the creepiest map in the game, and I am so glad that they didn’t give you any reason to have to go back in there.
I’m a really avid strategy guide user, so I’m not going to be a good judge of how difficult it is to figure things out on your own. Taking hours to find where I’m supposed to go or missing out on really cool items just because I never thought to look in one obscure location never really was what I considered fun, so I just avoid it. The golden guiding light is very helpful in this respect for people who don’t like strategy guides, but as in Fable 2, it can be a bit glitchy sometimes. Occasionally you have to wait for it to catch up to you or reroute where you’re going, and on rare occasions it leads you through a path that you can’t actually go (as in, tells you to jump a cliff you can’t). The “collection” quests are also more plentiful in Fable 3, and so far I have not found this tedious. The gnomes are an absolute riot (so much better than gargoyles), and the books can be pretty funny as well.
I’ve heard complaints from other people that the fact that you need so much money to truly play the game to its extent is too challenging. I believe you need somewhere around 8 million gold to make all the “moral” decisions as king/queen, and yes, if you can’t get a hang of the realty business, playing the lute or making pies for hours and hours sounds horrific. That said, if you are using the realty aspect correctly, and if you are giving yourself enough time at each stage of the game, raising 8 million is a cake walk. If you are too hasty to continue the story plot to raise money before you leave for Aurora, you will be hurting as ruler. Before I left for Aurora I was racking up about 60,000 gold every five minutes, putting me at about 7 million gold before I came back to Albion. The key is that you have to start buying real estate the moment you are able to, even if it means spending a little time playing the lute. Start with the places in the Dweller’s camp and Brightwall, then you can begin buying up big businesses like the pubs and shops in more expensive places like Bowerstone. Take the time to do all the quests available before you move into each section of the storyline, and don’t be afraid to take time to do demon doors and get married. This will give time for your wealth to accumulate, and then your time as ruler won’t be such a damn headache.
I was worried that having to keep your rental places in good repair was going to be impossibly tedious. It’s a new feature to Fable, but since they also added that handy dandy world map in the Sanctuary, it’s not so bad.
Ah, to the Sanctuary! It’s a cool idea to have all your inventory laid out for you in rooms that you can walk into (it feels more realistic somehow). That said, I can’t say I prefer it over the menu-style inventory. I don’t dislike it, but I’m just not sure that it personally affected my game play either way, though. Still, it’s pretty innovative.
Another thing that I found out the hard way, and that I BELIEVE is different from Fable 2 (correct me if I’m wrong) is that creatures will attack people, and these people will die and actually never come back. I married Elliot and set us up in a nice place in Millfield, then one day there were balverines in the neighborhood (they weren’t there before!) and I guess they attacked him and killed him. The game informed me that he was dead and that our kid was sent to the orphanage, where I had to go reclaim him. So, I am now down the only guy who was actually worth marrying in the entire game. I DO NOT LIKE THIS ASPECT OF THE GAME. WHAT IS THE POINT OF PAYING TO LIVE IN MILLFIELD IF YOU ARE GOING TO GET EATEN BY BALVERINES?
Anyway…to finish off, I guess I should comment on the ending to the story. I guess I shouldn’t spoil it, but seriously, very sad. Good, but sad. Sad like when at the end of Fable 2 you pick to have all your loved ones come back to life and all you get is your dog (your sister apparently being too difficult to program back into the game). It would be cool if you could still interact with the main characters after the storyline was over. Would it kill them to make Ben Finn and Page marriageable characters? I also wonder, if this game takes place in the Industrial Revolution-type period, what will Fable 4 be about? (Please please please let there be a Fable 4!)
But, having finished the storyline, I still have some serious questing to do, and that’s what makes this game awesome.
Wish me luck.