Non-gamers, please bear with me. I have to get this off my chest:
Fable 3 freaking blows.
I am not a hardcore gamer. My life is full of one husband, four dogs, three jobs, and a time-consuming hobby (i.e. putting on shows and stuff). I don’t have the time, energy, or interest to spend hours hooked up to my Xbox or Wii. And yet, somehow, even on my tight schedule, I managed to finish Fable 3 in less than a week of sporadic play.
But worse than the short game (Oblivion and Fallout 3 each took months to complete, Assassins Creed several weeks) was the fact that the storyline and the quests…well, they were mostly terrible.
I’ll try to do this without throwing in too many spoilers, but for sensitive types: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS AHEAD. TURN BACK NOW.
Fable 3: The good
1. It’s pretty. It’s no prettier than the first two, but they were both nice to look at.
2. It’s gay — and not like electric cars are gay. The Fable 3 world is a très gay-friendly world. In the first Fable, there were two NPCs available for gay marriage. In the sequel — which was also a disappointment — there were more. This go-round, it seems like half the planet is ready to get hitched or have a quickie behind the bushes, provided you do them a wee favor first. (See item #8 below.)
3. It requires tough choices. Unlike the first two installments of Fable, you can’t be a goodie-goodie all the way through Fable 3. There comes a point where you have to make some very difficult decisions. Granted, they’re boring, Sim City sort of decisions, like, should you raise the income tax rate? Should you preserve the forest or mow it down to make room for condos? Still, they provide some morally interesting plot points.
4. Your dog works better this time. Granted, he’s no more useful than he was in #2, but at least he doesn’t get lost now, which means you don’t have to spend half an hour trying to find him.
5. You can dress like a chicken. (See below.)
Fable 3: The very, very bad
6. Visually, it’s no improvement over the other two. The original Fable came on strong, with dreamy landscapes and sunlight and chickens. Sadly, neither Fable 2 nor Fable 3 had any new tricks up their sleeves (except for those in item #2 above).
7. No jumping allowed. Seriously, your character can’t jump. That shit gets ooooold. Fable 3 isn’t the only game with that problem, I know, but that’s no excuse. You don’t want me to jump? Build a freakin’ wall, don’t put a pebble in my way and tell me I’m trapped.
8. The quests are TERRIBLE. The main storyline is bearable, I’ll give you that. It’s broken into two major parts, and each is vaguely engaging. But the side quests — nearly all of them — involve running errands for NPCs: “Oh, hi, would you take this package to my business partner three villages over? Then I’ll totally be your friend.” And, “There’s this thing — it’s not really important, and you can’t sell it or even use it — but it’s buried in this random spot on top of an icy mountain crawling with monsters. Could you dig it up and bring it back for me?” It’s like spending a Sunday afternoon with elderly relatives you don’t like very much and constantly being asked to find the TV Guide.
9. It’s short. Like I said, it’s split into two parts. I finished the first in about three days and was momentarily very pissed off, until I realized that there was more ahead. And I thought, “Oh, this is interesting”. Then I realized the second part was just a series of chores and unengaging side quests and “Should I build a school or a brothel?” Then, a few days later: poof. Finito. Sure, you can still run around and do stuff after you complete the two main objectives, and I imagine there’ll be some downloadable content soon, but for $60, I’ve come to expect a little more than a well-tailored chicken suit: