Fable III Updated Hands-On

We spend some more time in the troubled world of Albion in Lionhead's upcoming role-playing sequel.

While we just saw Fable III a few weeks ago, logging in a chunk of time from the start of the game, Microsoft offered us another opportunity to spend more time with the game at its Washington offices. As we've noted previously, the latest entry in the role-playing series leans into the theme of choices--great and small--and how they affect the world. Our time with the game let us cover some of the territory we just saw, albeit tightened up some, and also take a more exploratory route through the game.

The early stretch of our time with Fable III played out as before with players being given the choice to pick their gender and familiarize themselves with the current state of Albion, where things start to go poorly pretty quickly. Once the setup is complete, the game still keeps its training wheels on for a bit as you're guided to some set locations and directed through the start of some of the main story quests. However, once you've cleared those required to set up the story and introduce you to the concept of followers and the Road to Rule leveling system, you're free to move along at your own pace.

Your trusty canine buddy is back and always eager to direct you to loot--both obvious and hidden--so you can go exploring for a while if you like. If you're the more devoted sort, you can invest a good amount of time mingling with the various locals you'll meet in towns and other places to build relationships with them that yield guild seals. These are Fable III's nearest equivalent to experience points. Not only does this help with moving through the various gates along the Road to Rule that require a certain number of followers and seals, but it also makes new quests available to you that are specific to building your relationship with a particular character.

If you're feeling more entrepreneurial, you can take on various jobs and make some cash you can use to get a house, set up a shop, or get yourself some nice clothes. But, if you're a no-nonsense linear-gameplay-loving type, you can choose to bypass the side stuff and work your way through the story, which appears to give you just enough followers and guild seals to keep you moving along through the Road to Rule.

However, if you opt to stick to the central story religiously and don't let yourself get sidetracked, you may regret it. Your guild seal count will force you to make some choices about how to upgrade your character, as many upgrades will require more seals than you'll have if you try to tear through the game. We learned fairly quickly that it's probably in your best interest to pick up every upgrade you can on the Road to Rule to ensure you're buffed up enough to deal with the mobs of enemies you'll encounter. Speaking of enemies, the revamped combat system works amazingly well, even in the work-in-progress version of the game we tried. Combos are key to battle and the three-button system keeps them attainable. Juggling straight melee combat with magic and firearms is a very satisfying experience, thanks to the charge moves you can work into the mix. As before, the tactics you favor will help your character evolve in a specific direction, which lets you buff up in the areas that are central to how you play.

The visuals in the work-in-progress version of the game we played were coming together well. Albion is a picturesque place teeming with variety. The different environments we've seen strike a nice balance between new and familiar. The world has a more “lived in” look to it this time out, which we expect is due to all the oppression going on, though we did come across some places that still had some natural beauty to them. The residents and your chosen character are an expressive bunch that come alive as you try out whatever interaction options you have on them. Animation on your character and the various non-player characters you'll come across tend to be where you'll find the game's broadest stabs at humor so far.

In terms of effects, there's quite a bit going on during combat, thanks to the different options open to you. Magic is obviously where you'll find the flashiest effects; the fire and shock spells we saw were impressive and tossed around a good amount of particles and lighting. Melee and gunplay, while not quite as showy as magic, featured more cinematic flourishes tied to camera angles and more subtle lighting to reflect your charged attacks. The unfinished version of the game ran fairly smoothly, although there were the occasional hitches that are to be expected when dealing with an unfinished game.

Based on these recent sessions with the game, we're anxious to spend more time with Fable III. The various refinements and overhauls Lionhead's done give the game a decidedly different feel from its predecessors. While this has changed the game's pacing and balance to a more action-oriented direction, it doesn't appear to have diminished the fun to be had in single-player. We're also very anxious to see how the experience we had is affected by the multiplayer elements. We'll be curious to see how the whole promising package fares when the game ships next month for the Xbox 360.

Written By

Want the latest news about Fable III?

Fable III

Fable III

Follow

Discussion

238 comments
nickpeyon
nickpeyon

Video Review for the PC please? They spent some time changing some stuff for the PC, so what are these changes? How good is the game now? Thanks

marinkalomensky
marinkalomensky

We got a new release date. Wonder how much time before being "delayed" again, and again, and again? I'm sick of promises.

archie405
archie405

Someone said that it's going to come out on 28th Feburary,let's give faith on it and hope it will really come!

Norwegicus
Norwegicus

Wouldn't be surprised if this is going to be TBA for a year and then cancelled.

lordsarum
lordsarum

Guys WHEN IS IT COMING OUT on PC???? states that its due on 12 december,.. but there is no fable in the shop yet ;( WTF?

AmoNPhegoR
AmoNPhegoR

After you finish the game in Fable II do you still get to continue playing it?? you know.... like oblivion......??

kotetsu2k2
kotetsu2k2

Ok I love fable and all, but does anyone feel like sometimes the characters are like sims if they could talk? That's just the feeling I get sometimes. Sims + medieval expansion pack + dialogue.

Heshertonfist
Heshertonfist

Hopefully they've made the game less linear than previous versions. I'll be getting this anyway though.

murray_mchs
murray_mchs

I am glad the hero has a voice this time. I feel like the main charactor of a story driven game should be able to speak. It's kind of neccessary.

BlazeShaman
BlazeShaman

@Temperedelm I am sorry to inform you that you are wrong, but in fable 3 the hero does speak. They voiced him/her in this one

Temperedelm
Temperedelm

@Tokinblckgie How can you make the judgement that this new system is poorly done like the last one the damn game isn't even out yet, so unless you some how stole a copy from Lion Head kindly shut the hell up. Fable's hero *Spoiler* DOES NOT SPEAK *Spoiler* so a touch system works just fine. In my opinion a new and innovative system of interaction is preferable to the same old thing time and again. By the way, if you think my head is in my ass, you mad.

Linkmaster2010
Linkmaster2010

the good news is that if ppl can only follow you by holding hands there won't be any stupid escort missions because you wouldn't be able to fight while holding hands :D

Red83
Red83

I believe reason why they never reliesed Fable 2 on PC is becose it whas crap! So the third should be better! :) cos they are relising it!

KILLROYIIII
KILLROYIIII

Cool as king i'll be able to have so many slaves ;D

Hexalude
Hexalude

I sure hope they don't shift their focus to the multiplayer. That is not what Fable is about.

guertt
guertt

I'm so in love with that girl :)

Tokinblckgie
Tokinblckgie

@Temperedelm *sigh* I never said the old system made sense either. They were both poorly done and hard to take seriously, which was basically my point to begin with about how Lionshead has great ideas but doesn't impliment and polish them well. A more robust dialogue system closer to Mass Effect's or Fallout's would make more sense than any of Fable's interaction systems which hardly make the world seem real, which is what they were supposedly aiming for with the 1st two games. Besides, having to hold grown mens hands in order to get them to follow you makes just as little sense as "doing a dance, then commanding them to follow you." Feel free to take your head out of your @$$ anytime now...

busfumes
busfumes

yes! i cant wait to become king and seduce lots of chicks.

lpool8
lpool8

@spencertaylor good the levelin up was terrible in fable 2.. ur orbs just f*cked off into the ground and i never used magic coz u turned into some blue smurf an allz i ever got was magic point altho i just went around tw*tin everyone widda sward.. plus iv got me girlfreind into games and i have to keep levelin up for her the daft cow.. good ridence i say.i get what u mean tho they didnt have to red rid of it tho just maek it better

Temperedelm
Temperedelm

@Tokinblckgie I supose doing a dance, then commanding them to follow you was more plausable?

Tokinblckgie
Tokinblckgie

I'm clueless as to what followers have to do with leveling up your skills. If that's even an option... And holding hands looks very lame and pointless. Why not just have them follow you on their own? The team at Lionhead is certainly ambitious, but I swear they seem kind of clueless as to how to pull things together and execute the ideas properly. Just my opinion.

spencertaylor
spencertaylor

fable 3 will have mass effecr 2 syndrome completely throwing away its rpg elements for pure action really sad

Slash_out
Slash_out

"The various refinements and overhauls Lionhead's done give the game a decidedly different feel from its predecessors. " You mean don't give a different feel from it's youngest predecessor. Fable 2 was a lot different from fable 1. Less mature, mroe cartoonish, more colored, easier, less engaging, more casual. And for that Fable 1 was a lot better than fable 2.

tproudmoore
tproudmoore

Fable 3 for PC is coming out next Spring/summer..

piyush18
piyush18

Is the pc release of this game is on oct 26 or later??? As gamespot is showing it on 26 oct is it right or not.... And i have heard that this is delayed till last of this year.

DanSpinoso
DanSpinoso

too many good games are coming out, i need to win tattslotto

pokey4him
pokey4him

Must finish Wind Waker in time... This looks amazing.

vsivertsen
vsivertsen

October is gonna be a great game month. Arcania, Fallout New Vegas, Fable 3 and Free to play LOTRO (EU).

Skrewdriven
Skrewdriven

god dang, how many great games are coming out in October, ridiculous, Arcania, New vegas, Two worlds 2 (in eu), fable 3, and more im sure, ridiculous. Its cool fable 3 is gonna be on the pc, its sad it will be pirated like crazy and then fable 4 wont be. This peter guy always over sells his games too, all the fable games have been good games, maybe even really good games, but not world changing like he always claims.

Dynamo11
Dynamo11

Ah man I'm gonna be poor this autumn, so many good games!

SolanOcard
SolanOcard

organbank, really? I have suffered a few glitches here and there with Fable 2, but nothing that severe. You really think THAT killed your xbox? Really? It wasn't the terribly flawed design of most of the xbox models? And between my wife and I, we play it ALOT. 9 Different characters, most of them completed the game, including both DLC packages. so in Summary, Fable 2 does not suck. It sucked for you, but that might be your own fault.

madglee
madglee

@drknessfeeds: Yeah, I have gone through the games without expressions, but being the gamer I am, I KNOW I'm missing out, so I'm forced to tool through those meaningless things to complete as much as I can, and end up not enjoying it. I'll check out the game you mentioned, never heard of it.

madglee
madglee

@Wolfie600 No, I don't want it to be a hack and slash. Some of those games are fairly cool - dungeon siege, diablo, etc. I love the game how it is, I just don't like the expressions. Seems more gimmicky than anything.

Peachwasp
Peachwasp

I am really hoping that this game is not short, like Fable 2. The original Fable was just plain awesome!

Electrokah
Electrokah

@kobe23ivan I want to buy Fable 2 for the PC too man... I am primarily a PC gamer. I only have an xbox 1 console. I am glad Fable 3 will be for PC too. :)

KOBE23IVAN
KOBE23IVAN

fable was 1 in a million and i was soo angry that fable 2 did not come on pc, can't wait for fable 3...

TrueProphecy22
TrueProphecy22

I'm looking forward to it. The style of Fable games is endearing, if the games are not all that great. What really bugs me in Fable games, Fable 2 especially, (and I know some people will call it minor) is when you walk into a city and find twenty NPC's making vicious love to you and following you everywhere you go. For a game that's supposed to immerse you in a magical world, things like this are essentially distracting from the immersion. Especially considering the limited number of lines each of these NPC's have. Your ears become numb to the same lines proffered to you again and again.

Omegakill0
Omegakill0

I think its a bit stupid that Fable 1 was on the PC but they missed out Fable 2 but Fable 3 will return to the PC again..I can also see this being another "promise the world deliver a country" type game. Peter isnt great when it comes to keeping promises so I think if I set my standards nice and low i'll be really impressed.

D3thN1gh7
D3thN1gh7

I can't wait for this game. I pre-ordered the collectors edition for the Xbox 360 but I also have a very capable gaming PC. So chances are I'll end up getting the game for both platforms! :P Game is going to be amazing.

dogg755
dogg755

i think fable 2 lacked a bit of depth, worth a play, but not a month-eater

hahamanin
hahamanin

omg wish they never released it for pc its dat much crap===pc gamer

hahamanin
hahamanin

nw wil see hw the pc gamers react....

BiGG_SMiGG
BiGG_SMiGG

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

YoyoSal
YoyoSal

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]