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Fable III Review

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What's going down in Albion?

★★★★

Tainted by a smattering of messy mistakes that stop it being granted instant access to the pantheon of role-players lorded over by The Legend Of Zelda and Fallout 3, Fable III is nonetheless a complex, charming and utterly compelling romp that’ll keep habitual RPGers hooked until Christmas 2010 is a dim and distant memory.

Set 50 years after the previous adventure, Fable III is a game of two parts. During the initial stages, players are expected to play a canny game of politics alongside the traditional exploration and swashbuckling, gathering followers and upgrading their character in preparation for a hostile takeover of the throne of Albion. However, once the crown is yours, the game enters a new phase where gamers have to face the responsibilities and consequences of power, an epic challenge that feels completely fresh in the world of traditional role-playing games and marks Fable III out from the competition.

As with previous instalments, what’s most engaging about Fable III is the sprawling world of Albion; a place packed with opportunities to stray off the beaten path and make your own fun, and brought to life by a warm-hearted atmosphere and clever script where every encounter demonstrates developer’s deep love for role-playing adventures, laden with peculiarly British gags and clever scripting that constantly pokes fun at the fantasy genre. Gentle streamlining of the familiar Fable experience by removing health bars, fussy skill trees and the like also helps create a fun experience that’s more immersive than RPGs that draw attention to the genre’s hackneyed conventions, while imaginative landscapes, lush presentation and a wide variety of challenges also help make this one of 2010’s most luscious quests.

Technical bugs where characters speak over each other and the action judders during visually complex sequences are a distraction from the quest in hand, as is the occasional dumbass enemy who’s at odds with the otherwise flawless game design. And while these niggles aren’t enough to spoil the experience and shouldn’t stop RPG fans from taking the plunge, anyone weaned on Zelda or Final Fantasy will be irked by Fable III’s minor failings.