Time for my review of Fable 3. I had mixed feelings before I played this one and I have mixed feelings right now writing this review.
I played Fable 2 and enjoyed the time I spent in the game, I really like the mixture between a sims style game and a traditional RPG. The relationship and marriage aspects of the game are for the most part unique when it comes to console games and the real-estate management system is a game in itself.
Fable 3 did some great things with the relationship systems and real-estate management system. They also improved the overall interface used to interact with other characters, although it removed some of the freedom of expression you had in the previous game.
The real estate management improvements came along with improvements to the fast travel and map in the game. The whole start screen was revamped and is one of the most creative and effective ways of doing a start screen I have ever seen. I loved my start screen being an actual room with different branches where I could browse my inventory, change weapons, view my overall wealth and achievements, see availible DLC, change my gear and outfit as well as hair and makeup, and view the map and buy/sell/rent houses and move to locations using that map interface. All while never entering a menu.
The start "room", called the sanctuary, really makes the game flow a lot better and allows the player to do quests a lot faster and really be able to focus on the story that's developing instead of having to focus on the best path to take when walking from point A to point B, or having to navigate a menu to change weapons for a certain encounter.
Speaking of story, I found this story to be surprisingly deep and the multiple climaxes make it incredibly interesting and entertaining. Although the story is somewhat unoriginal at first, the whole "bad king, people want change, revolutionary hero overthrows bad king, people happy" story has been terribly overused. However Fable definitely delivers some originality through the multiple climaxes and double plots I mentioned earlier. It's almost as if Fable 3 is two games, one that is focused on leveling and working your way up the "Road to Rule", which is the unique way Fable 3 removed the menus for leveling up abilities and buying new abilities. Then the other "Game" is a more economy focused rush for cash that presents the player with significant in game moral dilemmas. In it's entirety the main story of Fable 3 is more than satisfactory.
The side quests are alright, you can tell that a lot of the time spent developing this game was put towards removing menus from the game with the sanctuary and the road to rule. However, the lack of menus is so refreshing and overdue in games that I overlook the fact that sidequests lack sufficient story. Although they do add that characteristic foolish, jester-like comedy that everyone expects from a Fable title.
All the good considered, Fable 3 had PLENTY of flaws. The most noticeble flaw actually stems from one of the improvements. The lack of menus is something any gamer would love to see, but there are times that a menu is needed. Like when browsing a shop's goods. I couldn't stand the retail system in this game. Walking from item pedestal to item pedestal trying to find what you want was one of the most annoying things I have ever done. I would much rather have a menu with all the items availible listed. I understand they wanted the most realistic experience and that in real life you have to browse the shelves, but I don't want that much realism in a game. Just give me my dang menu. The next flaw comes from the problem with retail in the game. I can't EVER find the item I need. I had a weapon that could be upgraded by having sex in the game with 20 women, but I couldn't upgrade it because I couldn't find condoms, and I didn't want 20 mini heros running around. Also, Health potions were like rare diamonds. It was maddening.
The combat system is effective, but could use some balancing. Ranged combat is a far more efficient means of dispatching your enemy and leaves Melee combat in the background. There is also a lack of effective Area of Effect attacks that would be useful when fighting the large groups of mobs you often encounter.
As with most games, I had a small problem with some of the voice acting. Many of the commoners were portrayed as too stupid and the nobles were too uppity. I know this mass stereotype system is part of the comedy in the game, but it could be toned down a bit.
Overall the game stays true to the series and provides an easy to play but in depth story that leaves the player fulfilled upon completion. The attempts to create a menu-free game are mostly effective but also creates some significant problems with the retail in the game. NPC interaction and moving around the game are a breeze and the combat is fun and fast paced.
I give Fable 3 a Game score of 8/10 and a personal score of 7.5/10