return to albionSo, it's come to this. The hero you spent so much time building up as a bastion of good in Albion is old and feeble. His two sons are left behind to control the realm. Unfortunately, his oldest has seized power and is about as evil as Darth Vader without the mask and breathing apparatus. As the younger son, it is your responsibility to foment a revolution and take down your townsfolk-beheading brother.
The game starts with Darth Fableous forcing you to pick between the lives of your beloved, who begs you to choose her, and the lives of some townsfolk who just wanted something to eat. Your ethical decisions carry on from there, turning your character into a paragon of virtue or an evil overlord. You must rally various towns to your cause in order to overthrow your erstwhile brother and seize the throne of Albion for yourself. I won't go into any more detail as I don't want to ruin the story, but it's a serviceable sequel to the first two Fable games.
Does it hold up?
The game is pretty fun, but it just didn't hold that same sense of wonder that Fable 2 had. It was a bit darker and had more fetch quests than I would have liked. I'm almost positive that every single NPC had a fetch quest if you were nice enough, although I'll admit I didn't try everyone in Albion. I especially liked the level-up system where you were transported to a dream-like world to open chests that granted powers once you had achieved enough points. Rather than being an automatic level-up. you could choose between the more expensive chests that increased your melee, magic, and ranged attacks and chests that gave you new interactions with other characters.
As Fable 2, your decisions have a direct effect on not only your character, but Albion itself. If you are a paragon, the land will turn more bright and beautiful as do your outfits and weapons. If you are a dirtbag, it shows in your surroundings and character. As with most games, I chose the path of virtue. I got married and had a child and, somehow, managed to keep my wife and baby happy throughout the game. I also managed to gain enough followers and friends to present a dangerous alternative to my less-than-honorable brother.
where it falls short
One of the complaints I had about this game was that it didn't really feel like a sequel. While there are mentions of "The Hero" who was the protagonist in Fable 2, there is little else that ties it to the previous entities other than some gameplay aspects. I would have liked to have returned to many of the same environments and towns from the previous game, but the settings were nearly all new. While I wouldn't expect it to be a carbon-copy of the other games, it needed more ties to the previous iterations in order to bring back that sense of connection that players have with the other games.
Another mild complaint I had was that the story was rather predictable and linear. While you could pick up the aforementioned side quests by befriending the locals, the rewards they provided were barely worth the effort and provided little in the way of extra fun. You basically went from town to town, performing some quest they needed done to get them on your side, then moved on to the next one. They needed to break up the action a little more with something other than fetch quests for the downtrodden locals. Instead, you just chose between main quests intended to bring followers and fetch quests intended to make friends. There wasn't much else.
Objective Score: 6/10
Bonuses: +1 for the creative way you interact with the NPCs. There wasn't a character in the game with which you couldn't chat, dance, mock, or play pat-a-cake.
Penalties: -1 for seeming more like a separate game than a sequel. There should have been more tie-ins with the previous games.
Nerd Coefficient: 6/10. Still enjoyable, but the flaws are hard to ignore.
On a personal note
I got my nose broken by a homeless crazy person this week. Thus the late posting today. One distracted me while another ran up behind and sucker punched me. Instead of dropping like they expected, I turned around and bowed up to the guy who took off running as fast as he could. Luckily for me, I can take a punch. Otherwise I might have lost more than just blood. Here's a nice shot of my shirt after the attack. Anyway, I hope the later post wasn't too inconvenient for everybody. Have a nice three-day weekend!