Fable III review

We’re not shy PC gamers – many of our favorite games, and favorite versions of our favorite games, have been on PC. That said, we also have the ability to connect our PC to our TV, plug an Xbox 360 controller into it, and use said computer as nothing more than a really, really fast Xbox 360 – so it’s safe to say that we have a healthy love for console games, too. And that faux-console setup was exactly what we ended up doing, reluctantly, with Fable III’s PC iteration. The simple fact is that the mouse-and-keyboard controls are clumsy and feel tacked-on (which they undoubtedly were), and the camera and interface aren’t well-suited to close-range, small-screen gaming.

Fable III is not bad, mind. You can see the full details of our thoughts on the core game in our360 review (opens in new tab). The game is competently made, and features all the things you’d expect from a Fable title: “moral” choices, in-depth character development, oodles of places to go and things to kill, and a conga line of NPCs straight out of fantasy-RPG central casting.

To be fair, the production values are top notch, with excellent voice acting from a variety of famed British thespians, and a rousing, even inspiring, original score. Graphics are another matter: while they look quite good for a console game, if you’re a hardcore PC gamer, and you’ve seen the likes of Crysis and The Witcher 2, you’re going to be a bit disappointed by the cartoonish and rather low-fi look of Fable III, especially if you have the graphics maxed out on your killer rig.

All that said, gameplay is always the thing that really matters, and Fable III certainly has its strong points. Some of the set pieces and portions of the main plot are compelling, both from a storytelling perspective and as far as gameplay is concerned, often tasking you with interesting choices both in how you go about achieving your goals, and which goals you choose to achieve.

Unfortunately, the combat is terribly hampered by the mouse-and-keyboard controls that come by default with the PC version. The camera is terribly difficult to control and tends to whip around all over the place when you’re just trying to point your gun at the bad guys. The interface, too, is very console-oriented, requiring you to do things like hold down a button in order to confirm a choice, something completely unnecessary when you can actually point a cursor and select the option you want.

On the plus side, if you want access to all the limited-edition content in one fell swoop, it ships bundled with the PC version by default, so you don’t have to go downloading a lot of DLC. But definitely think about getting an Xbox 360 controller before you wade into this adventure.

Jun 17, 2011

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