The Fable Continues in The Third Installment
What It Is
I know what you are thinking, “How can a Mature-rated game be family friendly”? Well, it isn’t, and I’m not recommending that you buy Fable III for your next family video game night.
However, Fable III is one of the most hotly anticipated games of the year and chances are good that someone in your household (kids, spouse, babysitter, etc.) is going to want to play it so you should know what it is all about and who should or should not be playing it. That’s why we’re making an unusual break with our general practice of not reviewing M-rated games.
The story of Fable III takes place 50 years after the second game in a world where the industrial revolution is in full swing and the reigning monarch (your brother) is driving his subjects into the ground. You will play through as a revolutionary leader on a quest to seize the crown and try to do a better job of ruling the land than your dethroned brother did. All of the Fable games are story-driven, third-person adventure games in which the player is faced with decisions that will affect the way the game is played. The player can choose to be good or evil, and the actions taken in the game will change the game’s worlds. For example, the world of Fable is known as Albion and it is made up of various villages, towns and cities that are all populated with hundreds of in-game A.I. characters who each have their own stories and want something different. You can choose to help them out and earn their friendship or treat them rudely and force them to do what you want.
Why It’s Fun
Fable III (like the first two in the series) will be different for everyone who plays it because the player decides what they want to do within the game. The main quest of the game will be roughly the same for everyone but you don’t have to follow that quest. You can spend hours taking jobs to earn money to buy a house and then spend your time decorating and upgrading your home. Interacting with the in-game characters will also open up a practically endless stream of side quests and missions that you can choose to tackle or ignore. The more people you help, the more Guild Seals you earn, which can be used to upgrade your abilities and skills and to learn additional responses to use when communicating with the people. Guild Seals are also earned by defeating enemies, which are scattered throughout the world.
The world of Albion is a massive interactive environment in which you can enter almost every building you see. While exploring the land, you are joined by your faithful dog who has a nose for sniffing out buried treasure. You can train your dog by buying books from vendors to improve his treasure hunting abilities. Like the side quests, wandering around and exploring Albion adds hours of fun to the Fable III experience.
The 2-player Co-Op feature allows two people to play together either in the same room or across the country (if they both have the game).
What To Be Aware Of
Fable III is rated M for Mature because of violence and blood, sexual content, language and use of alcohol. I want to break down those items so you know exactly what is in this game and can decide for yourself if this is a game you want in your house. First of all, the blood and violence is fairly mild and nothing like a Mortal Kombat style fighting game. It’s much closer to the blood and violence found in Halo, just with much less technologically advanced weapons. The role of alcohol in the game is not a primary function or over-the-top like it is in a Grand Theft Auto game. There are pubs in most of the towns, and the pubs might be filled with drunk patrons, but they are harmless and usually pretty funny. Alchohol is also sold by vendors and can be used to restore your characters’ health meter. However, alcohol like blueberry pie (sold at a different vendor) will also make you fat so fruit is a better food to buy to restore health. The language is mostly PG-13 and is much more saucy than it is raunchy. Most of the questionable conversation includes insults from nasty gnomes and solicitations from prostitutes. Speaking of prostitutes, the main reason I would not recommend this game for kids is the prevalence of sex in the game. It isn’t part of the main quest, but as you interact with people, you have the option of wooing, seducing and eventually going to bed with most of the characters. There is no nudity, and the sex scenes are just black screens with cartoonish, excitable noises playing, but you get the idea of what’s going on. If you play the game as a man and marry a woman, you and that character can even have a baby together.
Who’s Going To Love It
Because of the content mentioned above, this game is not intended for anyone under the age of 17, however, this same content, which is more South Park than soap opera, is going to make 13-year-olds all the more eager to check it out. Out of the intended target audience of 17 and above, the game will be a huge hit with college kids and gamers in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s. I know a few women in their 30’s who are very excited about Fable III and were a little jealous to find out that I received an early copy of the game.
This could be one of the most replayable games I have ever reviewed. Even if you complete the main quest, you can still spend days working on the side quests scattered around the game.
5 out of 5
It has to be fun or it wouldn’t be on Time to Play. But some games are more fun than others so here’s our scale: 1 is fun, 2 is a lot of fun, 3 is great, 4 is awesome and 5 is out-of-this-world!
Video Game Information
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Rated: Mature (17 and up)
System: Xbox 360 Exclusive
Players: 1 with 2-player co-op
Available: Now, at most major retail, toy, gaming specialty shops and many online e-commerce sites.
Launch Date: October 26, 2010
Date of Review: October 26, 2010