With Failure to Connect, we asked our writers what games they were unable to connect with, regardless of their fiscal and critical success. For the month of May we will attempt to explore this issue in detail on a case by case basis.
I played the first two Fable games without mercy. I loved the story, the characters, the combat, the writing. They were great games, and they will always remain that way. Then, Fable III was announced, and they had this grand promise of “be the King”, and that was what drew me in. But what should have been an experience that rooted me to my seat, left me questioning my decisions, while forcing me to play through it again really only left me with a feeling of ‘oh’.
Now when I first played Fable III, and was tasked with deciding to spare my friend or that family, I felt as though I was getting a taste of the level of decisions I would be faced with as King. However, the game quickly brushes this aside, and sends you on a dizzying number of fetch quests to build an army capable of taking on your brother, the King.
To this end, you complete quests for the different regions in the land, and after promising them something if you’re made King, they agree to help you. Attempting to justify his actions, your brother tells you that the reason he was such a tyrant was because a creature called the Crawler is coming to destroy all of Albion, and he wanted to raise a large army to combat it.
Then you take the throne, and are immediately tasked with either keeping the promises you made, or turning your back on them. Compound that with having to make decisions that ultimately boil down to “obviously good choice makes people like you, but at the cost of your army size, versus obviously bad choice that makes good financial sense, but makes people hate you”, and you are left having to decide if you want money or fame. There’s no middle ground, it’s cut and dried.
The other problem this game suffers from is that it doesn’t feel like it really ‘grew’ the franchise past the second game. The combat feels the same, the characters feel the same, it’s just getting tired. The only thing that really feels ‘fresh’ is the actual lay of the land, because they added a new district to it. But all in all, it’s a tired rehash of the second game.
At the end of the day, Fable III is a grossly padded game that boils down to “green means good, red means bad”. As good as the combat system is, the story is boring, the climax isn’t exciting, and the end is a letdown no matter how you look at it. Some people might feel differently, but I just couldn’t connect with this one.