Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Xbox360 Back Track Part 2: Fable 3 for the 360




Hey, everyone, and welcome back to the 360 Back Track! I have noticed while looking at Gamefly.com that the 360 is kind of losing exclusive games for its console. It’s like Halo will be the last thing Microsoft has going for it. Gears of War has ended with the third game and well, you can’t just rely on the download market or Japanese shoot em’ ups to drive your sales anymore. This is turning into the Turbo Grafx for pete’s sake, literally, since it’s a console mostly known for its quality shooters like Halo, Gears of War, Deathsmiles, and you get the idea. It also doesn’t help that it basically has no good RPG franchise going for it. It does have its quality RPG titles like Lost Odyssey, Blue Dragon, and Tales of Vespira. You could say “Oh Cam, what about the Fable franchise?” Well, you could say that, but you would be wrong, the Fable games are not the best games on the 360. In fact, to prove this point, I’m going to review today the recent game in the franchise and what is considered the second worst game in the series called Fable 3! I can’t believe what some sites are giving this game like an 8 out of 10 and 9 out of 10. In my opinion, that is way off the mark since this game is one of the worst and messiest games I have ever played. It isn’t the worst game on the 360 since it does have its moments, but it’s a really bad game. 

The story of Fable 3 takes place 50 years after the second game in the continent of Albion. The old king is dead and you play as one of two princes, and you basically play the good egg out of the two. After some incidences at the castle caused by your jerk wad of a brother, you leave the castle with your mentor Walter Beck and your servant Jasper. You then find an ancient artifact that was owned by your father, and you start to develop a revolution to take down your brother, and become king in his place. While there are some great voice work and some decent characters, the story isn’t original and it doesn’t really get interesting until a little after halfway through, and I didn’t really feel connected until I became king.
The gameplay is a somewhat mix of action with RPG elements, and a somewhat king simulation. You run or teleport from place to place completing missions. To arm yourself against the horrors that await you in Fable 3, you get a sword, a hammer, and either a rifle or a handgun to take down your enemies. You also have a decent magic system where you can upgrade how powerful your magic can be and combine 2 spells together. Throughout the game, you can make decisions that will alter the later parts of the game, like how much support the other kingdoms will give you in the ending part of the game where you are king and need to make big decisions that will affect the ending of the game. Later in the game, you will become king and this is where the game will actually be interesting. You have to make the decisions that will either improve you in being a good king, or make you a bad king with some results in poor defenses against the final enemy, distrust from your allies, and well, giving you big evil wings in the end. You can also get in a relationship with a woman and get married to her, but it’s rather tedious, so I wouldn’t really bother with it, but that’s just me. You can also team up with other people and go around the world of Albion taking down evil. There are also mini-games, like making pies and playing music that will net you some extra cash for some of the fairly expensive weapons and clothes.
The art style is fantastic and it reminds me of other games like Overlord. It’s a beautiful looking game and it’s one of the better looking exclusives on the console, even though I think Tales of Vespira looks better if we are talking exclusive RPG’s. The music isn’t bad either, but again, I feel like I’m playing Overlord, due to the sound of the music. The voice acting is also not that bad and it seems like the actors really wanted to pull you into the story, and even though I said the story was unoriginal I did feel pulled into it due to the voice work.
However, a lot of big things and little things really bring this game down. The first thing I want to complain about, and well I am going to complain about is the over-powered firearms and magic. This made the game way too easy, because I could easily flank the enemies from far away, and I only died once. The loading times are ridiculous. It seems like it took forever for a lot of the loading screens to be done with. There are also a bunch of glitches that I found that pulled me out of the game, like seeing hair on top of a character’s head move, and just a bunch of little, but nothing serious bugs that just made me shake my head since I’m a game tester and I hate seeing this stuff in a released game. The AI is terrible. I feel like the ally and enemies are just not that smart. I was able to just flank enemies from afar and they could never get out of the way or get close to me. Even if they got close to me, they wouldn’t attack. Even though it’s nice that I could carry a sword or hammer, with the over-powered magic and guns, I had no reason to upgrade my melee weapons. The king gimmick might be the most interesting thing in the game, but it comes in so late in the game and it just isn’t fully pulled off. The reaction from your allies when you make a bad decision is silly, since it’s like, “ oh, hey, I’m glad I’m your ally!” and then when you make a bad decision “ I can’t believe I fought for you! You suck!” How does that make sense? They should have known that you were going to make some harsh choices when you became king, and it’s like they never knew that. It’s terrible writing at its best. There are also a bunch of little things that drag this game down, like holding the A button to open doors, a clunky menu system where everything is set up into room-like areas that I guess they were trying to do like Terranigma did, but not well-executed, and very repetitious main missions and relationship missions. I felt like I was doing the same dang thing over and over and OVER AGAIN!
Overall, Fable 3 and Lionhead Studios are terrible. I mean, I can’t believe these guys get so much money for such below-average games. Fable 3 is one of the worst executed games I have ever played and one of the worst games on the 360. I can’t recommend this action RPG and I can’t recommend any games from Lionhead. I can understand the founder being really high-spirited about his games, but I can’t see why they promise so much and deliver so little. Don’t buy this game, and even if you own it, return it! I say, go out and get Tales of Vespira or the other Japanese-styled RPG’s over this terrible game. Stop sucking up to the companies’ mainstream reviewers! You can give a game a bad score. It will show them that they need to WORK HARDER!
This game gets a 4 out of 10

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