Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Fable 3

Yes or no?
Aaron and I bought Fable 3 and have been glued to it all day. One of the first things we did was have a baby, but the nanny the game stuck us with was hideous and questionable at best for a child care provider. His traits included kinky, aggressive, and bisexual -- meaning neither our son or daughter would be safe. So we fired him before he had a chance to molest our virtual babies, only it didn't end well.

What we expected was that we'd fire him and a new nanny would show up. Problem solved. What happened was we fired him and social services took away our baby. I guess social services thought our baby was better left to an aggressive, kinky bisexual than with two heroes of the realm. We spent the better part of an hour trying to find her in the orphanage to no avail. Tragic, I know. Had we found her, perhaps we would not have become such murderous tyrants. Your fault, Fable. Your fault.

The game mechanic has changed significantly from Fable II, though it's not all bad. Simply... different.

You can now only access your inventory at your home base, where items are divided by type and separated by room. This isn't necessarily so much bad as it is needlessly time consuming. I can understand if they were working from an immersion perspective, where you wouldn't be able to carry all that shit with you, but considering you can instantly teleport to home base from anywhere in the world, well, so much for immersion.

I'm not sure how to give gifts to anyone outside of other players you invite to your game. You unlock emotes as you go, so perhaps it's just something we haven't unlocked yet? But it would seem odd I could gift to players but not NPCs by this point in the game.

Shops have changed too. You no longer speak to the NPC running the shop to open a shop menu where you select what to buy. Now all shops have their wares on display. To purchase something you approach the display and buy it there. There is sadly no "buy all" option so if you want to buy a lot of something, you'll have to hit A a lot. This gets old fast.

One thing I found odd is that you can only have a maximum of two spells equipped at once. One in each hand, and once you unlock the ability to cast two different spells your only option is to cast both simultaneously. You can't just cast one or the other. Not that it matters really, as your mana pool is infinite. It just seems like a peculiar change to me.

On that note, your progression (leveling up of skills, magic, and jobs) takes place in some other dimension by purchasing chests with guild seals instead of an in-game menu where you spend the appropriately colored orbs on the corresponding colored skill. This isn't necessarily a worse method of progression, just far less intuitive.

Then there's your emotes. Unfortunately you have little control over your interactions with others. If you want to dance with someone, for example, you may have to whistle, hug, and pose for them first (multiple times over) before the option becomes available to you. You can't just hit the d-pad as in Fable 2 until you find the one you want and then execute it. This can also get old fast. Particularly if you need to complete a task where a specific emote is required of you.

Lastly, they integrated the xbox Live store into the game, which seems unnecessary altogether but a keen idea in the regard that readily available content inevitably leads to more sales.

Co-op has definitely taken a huge step forward from Fable 2, which had such lousy co-op it was unplayable. The camera is the biggest set back, as only player 1 has any control over it and if they change it during movement it doesn't detect the change accurately for player 2 which sends them running off in some random direction -- causing them to get stuck in terrain or lost. This makes navigating narrow spaces and doorways a bit of a nightmare, but it can be done. Granted it's frustrating. Teleporting to player 1 is always an option if you get stuck, but there is a delay. The time it takes you to teleport to the other player, you probably could've ran around whatever obstacle was in your way. So really it just saves you some frustration, not time.

I realize some of that sounds really bad, but when you compare it to Fable 2's co-op, you realize it's all actually an improvement.

Unfortunately your dog is mentally handicapped in Fable 3. He will often bark to notify you of treasure, or a dig site, or danger, only to then just walk in circles confused. It takes considerable patience and a lot of wiggling around in one direction or the other to make your dog actually go to whatever he's barking at. Even with advanced treasure hunting. This is really my only true complaint as the game goes on this glaring retardation only seems to get worse and worse to the point where your dog loses all functionality and you are more or less guiding yourself to buried treasure.

The only game-breaking fault lies in a certain area of the game where the map does not actually correlate to the zone you're in. With the map being 100% inaccurate, you're effectively lost, wandering around in the snow blindly. Probably for aggravating hours. This situation is impacted by there being several caves in the zone -- and you only need to be in one of them. But you have no idea where they all are or which ones you may've already visited because everything looks the gd same.

Otherwise the game plays in much the same way. X attacks with a melee weapon, Y attacks with a ranged weapon, B casts magic, A sprints when moving, you've got a dog, and so on and so forth. The quests are good, your hero is voice acted, and the music makes you feel immersed in the world. If it weren't for the fact that the game's presentation seems so rushed and incomplete, this would be a definite buy. While I foresee much time spent exploring Albion in our days ahead, I can really only recommend you rent this game.

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