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Fable 3 (PC) Review
Review By @ 08:50am 18/05/11
As gamers, it’s easy to sometimes forget that certain words have other meanings. Take the word ‘port’ for instance. It can mean the left side of a ship, the places where boats moor or a kind of alcohol that fits best with older people. When we gamers hear the term ‘port’ it’s usually followed by a cringe and bad memories of inferior game adaptations akin to the feelings of watching the Star Wars prequel trilogy.

Well aware of this rather negative preconceived notion in regards to ports in the gaming world, Lionhead Studios has already pre-emptively assured PC gamers that the PC version of Fable III isn’t a port; rather, stating it’s the best version of the game (check out the dev diary video here). They qualified this boast with claims of a redesigned control system, hardcore difficulty mode, a graphics overhaul and some additional content.

So instead of rehashing what Chad has comprehensively covered in his Xbox 360 Fable III review, I’m going to focus on Lionhead’s PC-centric claims and the differences between the two versions. Suffice it to say, you can safely assume that all of the tonal praise, such as fantastic voice acting and solid comedy, and gameplay elements (whether they work or not) are present in the PC version of Fable III.

Lionhead hasn’t told porky pies when they said that Fable III has had a visual upgrade. While things aren’t exactly of Skyrim quality, and the character models (particularly their faces) aren’t really anything to write home about, the world itself is better looking and the stylised cartoony charm really shines through here. Some bland texture gripes aside, it’s when you step outside that the game world comes to life. The trees are hypnotic as they sway in the breeze and water looks fantastic both during the day and at night.

Best of all, this prettiness doesn’t come at the expense of loading times. One of the biggest gripes with the last two iterations of Fable on the Xbox 360 is how long the loading times were and how easily this could destroy immersion. Loading times are fast on the PC, particularly when compared to the Xbox 360 version, which makes it a whole lot easier to get into the flow of the game; even though this was my second time playing the game. Couple this with the pretty environment, and I felt a whole lot more compelled to explore the world of Albion than I did on the console.

There are, however, some graphical oddities that crop up from time to time. Distant backdrops such as the initial look at the industrialised Albion are still bland, the mystical disappearing-and-reappearing dirt during the digging animation is the worst seen in a game, while clipping problems are rife. This latter problem is unfortunate when it clashes with how well the game engine otherwise handles physics across the board. Whether you’re interacting with the citizens of Albion in social niceties or felling hordes of foes in slow-motion cinematic glory, the physics are handled in such a way that they add to the immersion and make combat look infinitely more badass.

The Xbox 360 interactive ‘Start’ menu has been replaced by a PC interactive ‘Escape’ menu that is initially jarring, but even more responsive than its console counterpart, making it more impressive in its simple revolution. The addition of a save room, complete with mannequins that sport the outfit you are wearing when you save, is a nice touch that I don’t recall being in the 360 version.

While the ‘redesigned’ controls for the PC version certainly get the job done, Fable III still feels like a game that is best enjoyed on a gamepad/controller. If anything, the keyboard/mouse controls make the game even simpler because of how easy it is to position your fingers on the numerical keys for the money-earning mini-games, as opposed to the speed and accuracy required of your thumb on a gamepad/controller.

Speaking of the difficulty, the so-called ‘hardcore’ difficulty really isn’t hardcore at all. Sure, you might have to use potions to regain health that doesn’t regenerate, but if your invisible health meter (seriously, why does this game not have one?) is depleted, the only penalty is losing your progress towards your next Guild Seal (which is ridiculously easy to earn back). Couple that with a dodge that seems to avoid every attack and the ability to perpetually block without needing to direct it towards your attacker, and there wasn’t really a noticeable jump in difficulty between normal and hardcore.

Fable III is at its best on PC, but the gameplay faults that Chad mentioned in the Xbox 360 review are still very much at play here. Despite some welcome attention to detail in this port, it’s still not enough to raise it to the heights of ‘must play’ for an action RPG whose charm, humour and some genuinely interesting ideas aren’t strong enough to battle against how unchallenging it is and how repetitive a lot of tasks can become.
What we liked
What Chad said (Xbox 360)
Visual overhaul
Solid physics engine
Fast loading times
What we didn't like
What Chad said (Xbox 360)
Graphical oddities
Non-existent health meter
Hardcore mode isn’t hardcore
We gave it:
Latest Comments
Posted 09:58am 18/5/11
As far as I can tell Fable II never came to PC, so for people without an xbox it's kind of an awkward step to consider making...
Posted 10:02am 18/5/11
Yeah, it's a little odd, but then it's set 50 years after Fable 2, so I don't think it really depends on much/any prior knowledge of the previous game.
Posted 10:19am 18/5/11
Interesting, might get it.
Posted 02:07pm 18/5/11
played it on xbox waste of money
Posted 03:52pm 18/5/11
Had Fable on original xbox was good back then, got lost chapters on pc, sad Fable 2 never made it to pc, dunno if i'll get Fable 3 without a play thru of 2.
Posted 05:48pm 18/5/11
All of the screenshots are from the official site. Did you actually even play it???
Posted 06:54pm 18/5/11
So because I didn't capture my own screenshots, you think I didn't play the game? Seriously?

Did you actually even read the review?
Posted 07:08pm 18/5/11
Got to the prequel hate and stopped. Better luck next time!
Posted 10:22pm 19/5/11
If you are smart, don't get this. I was so excited for this game, and I got punched in the face so hard how crap it was. Be smart, get a game like Obivion or wait until SKyrim comes out. Fable 1 was amazing, but ever since then all the Fables have been a disgrace to medieval RPG's. Lionhead needs to start working on a Dungeon Keeper 3 and stop with these pathetic attempts at fables.
Posted 12:18am 20/5/11
As far as I can tell Fable II never came to PC, so for people without an xbox it's kind of an awkward step to consider making...

Exept for me, who had a xbox which red ringed and so is a hunk of broken s*** in a box. The controllers use are for the PC which makes it quite neat. Too bad PC doesn't directly play xbox360 games.
Posted 12:55am 20/5/11
Pretty much what jumpy said, chads review is also spot on, except the part where he said he died. twice. Seriously? you died in this game? what did you drop the controller into a fishbowl by accident? :D

But in all seriousness I would give this game a 7 for one single redeeming environment. The demon door (for the king i believe?) where you can change dimensions from planet to planet? Absolutely gobsmacked me. Best part of the game. The music and ambience and breadth of possible interpretations, really great.

Worst part of the game was the ending, however. Not as bad as the fable 2 ending i suppose but that would be due to me expecting it.

last edited by Phooks at 00:55:07 20/May/11

last edited by Phooks at 00:55:44 20/May/11
Posted 06:10am 20/5/11
Be smart, get a game like Obivion

If you are smart, don't get this. I was so excited for this game, and I got punched in the face so hard how crap it was. Be smart, get a game like Morrowind.

Posted 08:48am 20/5/11
Buying this game and expecting your average medieval RPG is stupid, that's probably why you were so disappointed.
I reckon it's great fun with a mate, and the world is so full of character and life. It has a great atmosphere.

If they ever decided to make a serious RPG the world itself I think would be second to none, it's just a shame molyneux (sp?) seems more interested in the social crowd these days.
Posted 04:29am 10/6/11
I know i'm bumping the thread along with the review but i grabbed this off steam and finished it, even left the game on for long enough to accrue the 8 million gold you need to cover all the kingdom expenses.

I'd steer away from this:
Story wise, it takes about 14 hours to complete, of which 8 are very average but passable plot, and 6 are trivial boring micro/macro-management tasks as ruler of Albion. Then the game just ends. Literally you wake up one day and you finish the game. I can't even express how disjointed this felt. I thought it was a dream, a premonition, a warning. Nope they just say that despite the tremendous ammounts of money you threw, they still weren't prepared.

Spoiler, you sign a pledge that you promise to have 0 casualties.. and then it takes all the kingdom resources and puts it into (supposedly) an army. The very next loading screen assumes you only have whatever remaining money in the castle to put into the army and calculates your losses, which displays as nearly all of albion. I'm sure it's just a glitch, but for a second I was like "well f***".

The combat system is completely unbalanced, spells and guns are the only ways to fight. Hordes of monsters melee swings will interrupt your own . You have no armour and no health, just a gears of war style red glow. That doesn't mean the combat is hard, it just means that occasionally between slaughtering everything from a distance, they'll hit you and you'll use a potion.

The mechanics of this game are about the weapons, the only stat is weapon damage. Literally, the only number in this game is on your weapons. But you'll never notice. There was supposed to be this idealistic game where your weapon would grow with you and you could make the choice to sell on this weapon. Two reasons that choice never happened; you never became short of money and secondly the weapons you start with are more than enough to complete the game without pausing to test anything else.

There was a combat designer? He must have taken a break. No boss battle was interesting or different from any random world spawn fights. Well, actually, usually they'd fight you one on one which was actually much easier than fighting 14+ enemies that you'd normally encounter on the roads between places.

Art? I thought we were in an industrial revolution, it's a perfect setting considering the recent rise in steam punk culture! Why not cash in and invent some of your own? We'll never know why. The only steam powered cool looking thing fell off the rails before you could use it, and never comes back. It was a brief cameo.

Emotions in this game are simplified and meaningless. Fable 2 where precision of timing to perfect your pose could result in doing more harm than good, and thinking about what pose would impress what people. In fable three this is simplified. Hold A, and within 2-5 seconds of your controller vibrating and the glow around the "a" completing, release A. Do this once or twice and you will get EXP and make a friend who will want you to find something or deliver something.

Multiplayer is amazing. Seriously, you can turn on orbs and see everyone else who is nearby you in their own game! You can join them and participate them. Sadly, the first thing this causes is you to turn off "orb" sound because everyone seems to be a griefer playing nothing but glitch noises. Or maybe it was the voice codec. Ok well that's fine, you'll talk with whoever joins your game, or you join theirs. Wrong again. Because to talk, you have to go into games for windows live, invite them into a private conversation and then you might be able to talk to them. But by then, you've been idle for so long they've moved to another persons game or kicked you.

If this was Fable, the first fable, never any fables before it I could totally understand this as a cheap 50 dollar steam game. But it's not, it's literally just gone backwards from the previous games. It's short, unfulfilling and boring.

I felt insulted by this game.
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