Preview: Fable III
After the initial shock of a Kinect hands-on (if you can call it that with nothing to hold onto), which can be read about here, I got the chance to try a few levels of Fable III. This will be a slightly brief preview, as I only had about half an hours game-play, and it didn’t really highlight anything new about the storyline or major quests etc, but I will give it a go anyway.
I was rather excited about trying out this game, as I have been a HUGE Fable fan from day one, exploring Albion and lapping up every side-quest it could throw at me. Now the kingdom has expanded dramatically, even more so than in the second installation (five generations on in fact). I got a chance to explore the area of Brightwood, but it was very unlike the wooded landscape with a tower in the middle that we are now accustomed to. A town has developed, and seems like a slightly rural version of Bowerstone; a few farming areas on the outskirts, but still the larger buildings towards the middle. Three missions were available; one included rounding up chickens that have escaped for a farmer. Donning a familiar chicken-suit, I lured the chickens back to the pen, then made the awkward decision of whether they should be slaughtered for market, or saved for another day, of which I chose the former (evil laugh).
A rather eerie opportunity arose during my time in Brightwood. I could walk up to a child and simply take their hand. I dragged the child around the town with me during my missions for a while, without any worried parents coming to beat the shit out of me for stealing their child. I looked to my right and the guy next to me, also trying out the level, was doing the exact same thing. It was very surreal to simply take a child and walk away with it. Much unlike Fable II, where you couldn’t get children to follow you at all, this option is readily available. I am unsure as to whether you can take the child away from the town it comes from, and into the woods or a creepy dark dungeon for example, but it could spur some angry letters from parents to Lionhead if they realize you might be able to put young game-based children in danger. On the other hand, it’s pretty funny…
During gameplay, touching the ‘start’ button instantly takes you to your menu rooms, which filter off to different corridors, depending on what you want to look at: clothing, weapons, quests etc. This is a nice adaptation from the hundreds of boring lists and text that accompanied the menu screens from the previous games. Your butler, played by none other than John Cleese, instantly becomes memorable, with his witty charm, and helpful information within your menu.
I also got a brief chance to try out some fighting. It looks pretty much the same as the other games, but without the health and magic bars. When you are taking a beating, you get a red glow around your screen, much like your famous war games these days, minus the blood splatters. Creeping down a dark cave, shadow men came at me from every direction, and I used hardcore swings of my sword to subdue my enemies… as you do. I was cut short of this area, as the event came to a close, but I was told you travel further through this evil spirited tunnel, and emerge to the first view of Aurora. According to various sources, Aurora is a brand new continent to explore, with possible deserts, canyons and tones of rocks; something else to get excited about then!
Attention to detail in the buildings within Brightwood is beautiful. There is no doubt that Molyneux and the crew has created a rather pretty game. They seem to have revamped the previous games with yet more magical experiences with every new location. It still has the same feel that we have become accustomed to, but obviously with a new game comes new graphics.
The sound hasn’t changed at all as far as I am aware. They are using the same music as the other games to keep the fluidity, and similar if not same fighting sound effects. It still accentuates key moments within the game, building up during big fight scenes, changing seamlessly through different areas, and this subtle act of harmonious music versus actions still works very well.
With big names like John Cleese (as mentioned), Simon Pegg, Sir Ben Kingsley, Jonathan Ross, Stephen Fry, Zoe Wannamaker etc it will be a constant guessing game as to where you have heard that certain voice before.
After reading this back, I guess I got a fair bit out of my half hour session with Fable III. If I am honest, it was what I expected. Nothing jumped out at me as a surprise, positive or negative, and nothing seemed very new to report after all the hype we have had from Molyneux’s ravings over the months. I was just glad to give it a play and I think it will be a success, just like the other games have been in the past. I might be slightly biased on this opinion (as I have said I was ‘rather excited’) but this is still a great action RPG. We will just have to wait until October 26th to know for sure, or maybe before if Xboxer360 gets the chance. We promise to keep you informed, as it gets closer to the release date.