Thursday, 18 August 2011

Lamer Gamer fails at computer romance - Review of Fable 3

Uuuuhhhh - ok, so this is a SECOND game review post that no one really cares about to be honest. But in my fantasy world, my over inflated ego likes to think that someone out there actually cares about my really boring decision making in Peter Molyneux's latest and probably not so greatest.

There's a pic of my avi, and yes, it's a she.



Scars and Magic Leylines are the hip thing when combined with Steampunk/Victorianesque Corn Rows baby

I was mildly interested in Fable because the trailers made it look steampunky and very, very cockney. That and the pretty impressive cast of voice actors (God's own Stephen Fry is Reaver! I mean... of course he is! how lascivious). An interesting note is that Ben Kingsley plays the voice of Sabine, who is, thankfully, a guy... but he sounds Welsh... hmm.

Anyway.

Installing Fable 3 was like running a techy gauntlet of Doom. My computer is fairly new, one of those new-fangled touch screen all-in-one PCs with a Pentium i5 and a pretty impressive NVIDIA graphics chip with the latest driver already humming. And yet, nothing. Installing it was pretty impossible, it would freeze at 57% extraction and stay that way for hours and once, in my stupid ass desperation... days.


Ahahaaaa... oh hell no...

I took the game back, exchanged it, and had the same result. Eventually I trawled Lionhead's forums to find that a huge bunch of folks were having the exact same problem.

Solution - copy pasta is your friend; if you have the patience and the hard drive capacity.
Eventually, I had to go through some convoluted loop around method of Installing Windows Live, copy-pasting files from disk to drive, fixing compatibility, running as admin and doing the drag and drop game.

The result? MY Window Live ID - Sparsebracelet1.
I think its quite catchy... and thankfully gender neutral... sort of.

Finally, the game started, after a hiccup or two of not remembering my first game... but that's ok... I am...sort of infinitely patient - or infinitely stupid for hanging on for so long.

You play the younger Sibling prince/princess of King Logan (one part Debonair, two parts megalomaniac and a quarter part creepy and secretly, half part sexy), successor to your father's throne, who is also incidentally, the previous Hero from Fable 2. So, oddly enough there is an assumption that the only real canon hero from Fable is a male one... well, harrumphf.



Ok - so he isn't that appealing - but power and shiny purple velvet with armour just gets to me

Your tale begins as you wake up in your royal quarters, sleeping rather uncomfortably for a polygon, next to your faithful companion dog, who I aptly named Poopee (shut up). Your first game shaping decision as you wake to your loyal butler's (voiced by JOHN CLEESE GUYS!!!!)command is to pick an outfit with which to gallivant with for the day.

This is some serious business.

After your cocky big brother gets all paranoid about traitors among the workers and among palace officials, he forces you to decide on killing a group of protesters or your democratically leaning sweetheart. Kindly enough, my beau offered himself... sort of. I really ought to find out what happens If I let the rabble die and save my hunk - apparently he still gets killed... but whatever.

After this injustice your butler, Jasper, but lets call him Jives (like chives, not Jeeves cause that's boring), and an old fellow who used to be your Hero/King/Father's right hand guy take you to a crypt where you discover that you have inherited Dad's magical hero powers and the ability to dig the grotty stuff your dog finds (sans used condoms). However, you will need to progress along the game to gain XP to soup up your powers and weapons as well as learn to fart, bake a pie and propose to people.

I suppose its because all you know is etiquette and flower arrangement or something.

The game progresses through the first main plot line - gather enough supporters (by fulfilling story related quests) in order to overthrow your brother and take power, all the while developing your own reputation as some sort of horny devil, chicken kicker or capitalistic entrepeneur. Depending on some of the very black and white choices you make - you gain fame for either being outright evil or being outright good. There is little in the game that allows you to make creatively neutral choices - the bad choices are ringed in fire and the good ones in a white halo.. I mean...seriously? I am a very ambivalent person, is there no 'meh' choice?

This may be part of the positive or negative side of the game. The choices you make are so very one or the other - but it may well be that your choices heavily impact the feel and layout of the game in the future.

For example - if you decide to send financial aid to the Aurorans to rebuild their city and thus fulfilling your promise, you gain another vibrant town to trade and explore. If you dont (and I haven't made this decision so far with the character iIve played), then the place becomes a mine, plagued by the darkness that invaded the city the first time you visited it.

The second part of the main plot consists of you keeping, or breaking the promises you made to the allies you made in order to take the throne as well as: Dun DUn DUN! twist!

Turns out - your evil big bro was only a douche cause he was trying to prepare the treasury and his army for this totally evil invasion of dark stuff aptly called - the Darkness. But they dont sing and wear glittery spandex jumpsuits like the band, so they're not cool.

Anyway, its all very - 'What will you do now? Build a school, or earn revenue by building a brothel instead?' - very, you know - typical policy making crap.

I assure you, I have not spoiled a single thing, each individual quest in game is its own story and depending on the choices you make you may end up with a differently tinged or coloured ending, even if in the end, you essentially (almost, kind of) get the same result... sort of.

Mind you - it is actually a hell of a lot more challenging to take the 'good' path, simply because eventually - it appears that taking the easy and evil choices simply makes the game easy for you, despite the fact that every character hates you. But then, what do you care if Hannah, the heavily breasted house wife thinks you're scum? its not like you were going to sleep with her... were you?

Social interaction is the name of the game. But its really lame interaction. Everyone has to have some sort of talkative opinion of you. For extra XP - you can always perform a small delivery quest for someone and it will eventually guarantee that the person will befriend you and then, after a few more quests - fall ragingly in love with you (after one date too, they're so easy!).

In any case, the people of Albion are fickle and also alcoholic (as evidenced by my policy of making booze cheap - rendering EVERYONE in bowerstone over the drinking age into staggering, puking lumps).

Policy/social decisions aren't really all that dynamic, they merely affect the way people perceive you, but dont, in much way actually help in the Kingdom's defence or economy. One example was the building of said school - I figured that there would have been some clever result that more educated people meant better quality weapons or something. Turns out, my soldiers were still dumbasses and not one of my citizens even lifted a finger to begin a people's defence or militia. You know, to help me out cause they know how hard I've been working these past few days and such.

Fucking ingrates... I should have been stereotypically evil... and maybe gone to bed with Reaver (even though you cant).

I haven't even talked about the combat system yet haven't I? Ok - here is my synopsis.... left click (attack) right click hold (to power up/focus).
Pretty complex stuff right? Yeah - one of the most sophisticated fight systems out there - eat that Final Fatasy XIII... yeah.

Killing the generic assortment of hollow men, sand banshees, robot funky things and mercenaries and it ends up being a clickfest that my poor fingernails did not appreciate.



Using the power of your left click - you too can engage in interpretative dance

Dying only meant that I lost a few XP points, and gained a few character building scars (although Hannah, my buxom wife thought that maybe I ought to to take care of myself... its not that iIm ugly though, its just... [yeah - her actual words man], that stung Hannah...).

But that's really it. As you progress along the 'Road to Rule' a metaphorical road that charts your progress along the game, you encounter treasure chests that give you weapon power up, career advancements such as baking pies, and baking better pies, or singing on a lute, and, most importantly; expression packs. Yes - you need to gain XP to learn to fart, bully little children and grope not so good looking citizens.

There are a decent amount of side quests, mainly revolving around collecting a certain amount of things from around Albion; the best one being the Gnome killing quest. This particular side quest goes along the same lines as the gargoyle shooting quest from the last Fable game, where stone gargoyles will mock you as you walk by until you smash them into silence; this time, you're smashing extremely rude lawn ornaments. Their comments are also gender based too, one of my favourite insults was - "Oh a lady! Are you lost? want me to show you to the kitchen?" - evil man, just evil...


The dialog is probably one of the best scripted game dialog I have had the great honour to hear, or maybe I'm just a sucker for anything in assorted English accents. I especially loved a part where your old weapons master, Walter, suddenly just yells out 'BAAAAALLLLLSS!' - it leaves me with a warm feeling to know that I'm not the only person who still talks like that.

Interesting to note though- Reaver, the smarmy and somewhat sleazy character played by Stephen Fry is apparently also from Fable 2, but I cant remember it very well. Oh and the spiral tower from the ending of Fable 2 can also be seen across the Horizon in some areas of the Kingdom. Interesting? sort of.
Demon Doors are still there, talkative, slightly funny - but BEAUTIFULLY rendered and their interiors are just as magnificent to behold. You can also still buy real estate and shops and make a decent profit from rent and sales but I always ended up forgetting what I bought, thus leaving a lot of my estates to languish in disrepair.



The real estate around here has potential... but it needs more steampunk


I haven't played this on online multiplayer, I can't really fathom how it can be in any way entertaining other than for opening one single demon door and killing assorted baddies. Unless you're really lonely - but I've never really felt the need since I have my faithful AI dog to bark and cuddle when I feel like it.

All in all - it is an OK game. But considering the frigging grief about technical issues and the extremely boring combat system; I wouldn't reccomend it to gamers who like meaty RPGs. This is a game for chuckles and in my case, corporate capitalism (I have yet to make a character that sleeps with everyone and has to support a million babies).

Peter Molyneux's heart was in the right place, but more than half of his intentions with this game really didn't pan out. Being good in this game was only challenging because if I wanted to be bad - I can easily go play something else.

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