Fable 3 hit store shelves this week, and the game – which features voice work from the likes of former Monty Python stalwart John Cleese and British actor Stephen Fry – is earning solid marks from critics around the globe. For a full re-cap of the prior Fable adventures, you can get caught up here. In the meantime, let's check the scoreboards.
Over at the UK Guardian, Greg Howson gives Fable 3 a four out of five star review. "Like the other two games in the series, this is ostensibly an RPG but one that focuses on action and interaction rather than fiddling with stats," Howson writes. "Fallout fans, for example, will scoff at the simplistic weapon upgrades but they would be missing the point. Fable is much more about what you do than how you do it, and never more so than in Fable 3."
Meanwhile, the kids at Loot Ninja say Fable 3 – which like Fable and Fable 2, allows players to make a series of "moral" decisions that will directly influence the direction of the plot – looks better than ever. "Right away, you will see how good Fable III looks. By far the best graphically in the series. The character models are much improved from Fable 2 as well as their interaction," Loot Ninja notes.
At Escapist, Susan Arendt argues Fable 3 is also more emotionally complex than its predecessor. "Your exploits in Albion were never completely carefree," she writes, "but the impending evil never quite impacted the citizens the way it does in Fable 3. These problems are real, people are dying, and you are literally the only one who can save them. Time to stop playing at Hero and actually be one."
And what about the storyline? In Fable 3, you pick up about 50 years after Fable 2 left-off. Your task, if you choose to accept – and you certainly have plenty of choices – is to stage a rebellion against the evil king of Albion, who also happens to be your brother. "[Y]ou'll actually feel the weight of those choices in an unexpected and very personal way. It's almost a masterpiece. Almost," Arendt writes.
Get used to collision detection that has you spading your shovel straight through your loyal dog; texture pop-in that would make Unreal Engine blush; clipping that will get you stuck in the game's geometry; a breadcrumb trail that's more inconsistent than a bowl of rock pudding; a frame rate that can, on occasion, aspire to double digits; laggy minigames that have to be seen (and barely played) to be believed; and co-op load times that will challenge not only your patience but a friend's.
Still, Grant gives Fable 3 a four-star review – out of a possible five – and says that gamers shouldn't let the hiccups detract "from what remains an exceptional game. It may not be revolutionary, but it is royally fun."