Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Fable III

Fable III Review

Kid Safe: Low                     Game Quality: High

Genre: Open World Action/Adventure
-          This game takes place where choice is everything. Rather than providing a set story that a player has to follow, they are provided a world that they can explore and do as they wish with a focus similar to an action movie. Likewise, as players adventure through this title they will find alternate means of completing their tasks including battles, negotiation, and puzzle solving.

Internet Requirements: Moderate
-          This game features a moderate amount of online content. To begin, players have the option to play online with other players and are able to join them in multiplayer sessions where they will help each other adventure through the title. Players also have extra content, adventures, and items available to them for purchase and download on the internet from the game's designers that may enhance the player's experience.

Story Summary: In Fable III, you play the role of the son (or daughter) of the previous Hero King some
   50 years after Fable II. With the great Hero King having passed sometime previously,
   the kingdom has fallen into disarray while being ruled by your tyrannical brother
   Logan; who has taxed the people of Albion into poverty, enforced child labour, and
   fallen into having regular executions of "Traitors" that defy his rule. Rising to respond
   these wrong-doings, you vow to end his tyrannical rule and begin an adventure across
   Albion to attract followers to your cause and establish yourself as a Hero much like
   your father before you. Finally, after overthrowing Logan from his seat of power, you
   are thus pronounced King, only to find out that an ancient evil is approaching to destroy
   life as you know it. You must act as King, controlling taxation and rulings in your
   kingdom while trying to raise an ample response to the impending evil and either save
   or doom the people beneath your liege. The choice is yours whether you shall act for
   the greater good or bend the kingdom to your evil ways.

Kid Safe: Low
-          Foul Language: Moderate
o   Fable III contains a moderate amount of foul language including such words as b*stard, s*it, b*tch, and a*s. Foul language is generally far and few between unless your character should choose to be evil, in which case individuals are able to insult other characters and villagers. In this instance, players are able to cuss, flip off, and show other signs of vulgarity as a display of their social inappropriateness.

-          Violence and Gore: High
o   Fable III contains a high amount of violence. To begin, players are able to kill anyone and anything that they so choose to and are thereby not limited to "bad guys". Should the player choose to be an evil character they are fully welcome to murder innocent civilians and villagers and the game will even keep track of how many you slaughter. Secondly, the overall fighting that occurs in game tends to be less gruesome than most titles and displays a flash of light whenever other characters are hit; however, whenever characters use a special type of attack, called a "flourish", there is a chance that they will kill enemies in a particularly gory way. Several examples are where the Hero jumps over an enemy and stabs him in the back, sending the sword clean through his chest; another example being when the Hero kicks a man to the ground and shoots him in the face.
o   With the normal fighting aside, the story itself features several gruesome situations. Several executions take place throughout the story where main characters that you have grown to know and like are killed. Likewise, as the ancient evil appears, one of the main characters is attacked and quite literally has his eyes sucked out; leaving gaping black holes. Finally, after you are King and attempting to prepare for the attack, there is quite literally a scale of how many millions of innocent lives will be lost because of the decisions that you make as King.
-          Sexually-Related Content: High
o   Fable III contains a large amount of sexual content. To begin, every person that you speak to has a list of their sexual orientation and players are welcome to engage in homosexual, heterosexual, and bisexual activity. No matter your gender, you are able to engage in sexual conduct with men, women, and groups. While there is no nudity and the screen blacks out when engaging in sexual activity, players can still hear the sounds of sexual activity and will hear moans, groans, lewd commentary,  creaking, and other noises. Players are able to engage in both protected and unprotected sex. If players engage in unprotected sex, they will have a chance of having children or even catching an STD. The game will also keep an entire list of all sexual relations that player's have engaged in as well as a list of all STD's that player's have caught from said relations.

-          Use of Drugs and Alcohol: Moderate
o   Fable III features a moderate amount of alcohol usage. Players are able to engage in consumption unhindered consumption of alcohol that will lead to blurring vision and a character that stumbles about and is generally difficult to control. Continued consumption of alcohol will also lead to vomiting and further difficulties controlling the character. Even if the player chooses not to consume alcohol, it is present around them. The story will present you with characters who are imbibing alcohol or who have passed out due to excessive consumption. 

Game Quality: High
-          Graphics / Visuals: High
o   The graphics score for Fable III was highly debated however we decided to lean favorably towards them and decide that that are of a generally high quality. To begin, the visual presentation of the world and that the characters in Fable are absolutely top notch. Fable III tends to favor a rather cartoony appearance for the characters and people wandering about; however the world that is available to explore, particularly the underground caverns, castles, and catacombs are a truly breathtaking sight that require special mention. The battle animations are equally impressive, blending sword/melee weapon usage, gun usage, and magic usage smoothly and making all look and work quite well. Finally, cut scenes are a treat to enjoy and feature such finely done computer animation as feature-films released in theatres today.
o   As previously mentioned, the score for Fable's graphics were debated and it was due to a number of problems that the graphics also suffered from. Primarily the problems are in the character animations themselves; while people look decently and are well presented, they suffer from several problems. To begin, there were a few situations where there was improper lip synching to audio dialogue. Secondly, the crowd animations with multiple characters grouped together (most often protesting the king) are rather unimpressive and do not appear like they are made up of a group of characters but instead like they are simply a moving background picture. Lastly, there are several situations where the gameplay starts to freeze up for no apparent reason and players suffer graphical "stuttering" as the game attempts to catch up with what is happening. Luckily this last situation is uncommon, however the times that it did were distracting and more than a bit frustrating.
-          Audio: High
o   Fable III has a generally high audio quality. First off, the title features a varied musical score to accompany you on your adventures through the land of Albion; often changing to highlight the mood. Notably, ambient noise of creatures and beasts about you in the word equally livens your adventures. But none of this stands up to the absolute top-notch voice cast that lends their talents to this game. Noted actors Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead), Stephen Fry (V for Vendetta), Ben Kingsley (Schindler's List), John Cleese (Monty Python), Naomie Harris (Pirates of the Caribbean), and Michael Fassbender (Inglorious Bastards) are just a few of the upwards of several dozen well-recognized voices that will appear in this title.
o   Fable III generally suffers from very few audio problems. That said, there are two that stand out. The first, as previously mentioned, are several instances of poor lip synching that should have been polished out well before the game had ever released. The other is that while the voice cast is truly one of the best, the musical and audio score did not really impress. While it was by no-means bad or really suffer from any fall-backs, it simply did not stand out against other games being released to date.

-          Gameplay / Playability: High
o   Gameplay was another highly debated factor for this review and, much like the graphics, we felt that positives of this game outweigh its shortcomings. To begin with the positive, Fable III offers a rather simple to use and easy to understand battle system that makes use of three buttons. Melee attacks use one button, ranged attacks another button, and magic attacks the third, with dodging on the forth. Likewise all controls are thoroughly explained to the players in a safe and easy to learn environment. Likewise, if players choose to engage in social interaction and making friends, the social system is a great deal more realistic than previous iterations of Fable and require players to have a one on one conversation with people in the street. Finally, the fast travel system is vastly improved and easy to use, allowing players to go anywhere they want on the map and even anywhere they want in a town (something that is uncommon in games) with the touch of a button.
o   While Fable III hosts some rather impressive Gameplay, it does suffer from some notable problems. The first is that, after very little battle training, you are dropped into a very large fight where most inexperienced players tended to lose. Secondly, Fable III suffers from several notable glitches that detract from the gameplay and that we can only hope will be solved by the designers sooner rather than later. The two major glitches that I ran into was an instance where, while playing as a miniaturized character in three wizards' "game", I found a sword of "Baron slaying". Not liking the design of the sword, I decided to swap this sword for my original sword, unbeknownst to me that I HAD to have this sword in order to beat that mission, that there was no means of reequipping said sword, and that I had to literally restart from my last save point in order to do anything because I could not leave the mission until it was complete. While this is the exception and not the rule, it is still a big probably that we can only hope will be fixed soon.
-          Dollar-Value: Very High
o   Fable III, bearing in mind the previously mentioned problems, still has a rather impressive dollar value. The single player story alone, doing very little else than is required, will take somewhere in the range of 10 to 15 hours of playtime. Even then, the game as a decent amount of replayability as the game will change whether you are attempting to be a good and helpful person or an evil and resolute person. From there, you may also to decide to examine what else the game has to offer, and that is quite a bit. Should players wish it, they can do jobs to earn extra gold; playing mini-games that will earn more gold as they improve in their skill and ability to perform them. If your player is more business savvy, they may be more interested in property and business investment; which allows players to purchase real estate and turn a profit off it. Let us not forget the player's ability to start and raise a family. Or perhaps the player would be interested in engaging in the multiple other side stories that are available to them. Care to bet on a chicken race? (I'm partial to Mr. Clucky myself.) So long as your player enjoys the world of Fable, Albion has more than enough choices available to them to keep them busy for many, many hours and stretch your gaming dollar to the limit.

-          If the content for Fable III is a little too heavy, I feel that the first Fable for the original Xbox is a very solid fallback. While it is still M rated, it is primarily due to violence and therefore may be considered acceptable for some parents. Previously mentioned Infamous may be another good choice as a Teen rated alternative. Likewise, Elder Scrolls: Oblivion is another fine choice. Sadly, the problem with this genre, as mentioned in other reviews, is that the majority of them fall under M rating and are truly up to your discretion.

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