Fable 3 Review: Disappointing – A Step back for the Franchise?

By Alan Ng - Oct 26, 2010

We have just given you a collection of reviews for you to read, but now we have more details on the single negative review that we’ve read for Fable III. Is it justified or have they got it completely wrong?

The article in question comes from Destructoid, and while the majority of other reviews have generally been very positive, Destructoid has given the game a firm 5.5/10 score, even going as far to say that Fable III is a ‘step back for the franchise’ouch.

What has brought them to that conclusion though? Destructoid’s author Jim Sterling points out that while Fable III isn’t a bad game, it is just disappointing in his opinion. According to the review, Fable III lacks the sense of adventure seen in the previous Fable games, and he stresses that the developers (Lionhead Studios) have ‘neglected’ some important problems in the game.

Harsh words indeed, but what are your thoughts on this? Hopefully you’ll be able to give us your early impressions of the game after picking it up later today, but this one negative review certainly stands away from the rest of reviews which have praised the game in almost all aspects.

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    LACKS the Adventure feeling. ie Treasures too easy to find from either your dog barking at it, or your swimming in the lake and you see a ripple. You should really be able to train your dog up to those abilities. ANd you should not even start out with the dog, if you didn't want one , or one that type, then why force us. I missed the true adventure RPG's like Zelda and Final Fantasy 7. ANd the biggest disappointment is not enough fights, or variety in other types of modes. Like , your either a piemaker, blacksmith, or lute player. Why not farmer, bartender, pub game player, Hunter, Fisherman, or just a Spalunker(don't care if its spelled wrong). Game was disappointing, and i felt i wasted my time, but not my money, because this time i borrowed the game from a friend who was disappointed too. Great graphics, good stories, but needs more work

  • Although i am enjoying fable 3 i have to agree with the STEP BACKWARDS comment as that was my first thoughts when i started playing. I was looking for my ability to quickly change my spells and where my expressions wheel had gone to. Another thing i am beginning to feel is there is no enjoyment of exploration in the game, i dont know if this is due to the new fast travel system or just that the world its self doesnt feel like it did previously.

    In fable 2 i loved running around the places that linked you to other villages etc but in fable 3 i dont have that same enjoyment, i also miss being able to pick which expressions i want to use in public rather than having to do them to one person at a time and them being chosen for me. It feels less of an RPG to me than the previous fable games so yeah the game i wanted so much for my birthday is the one that i have played least unfortunately.

    There are some changes i like but more i dont than do im afraid.

    I bought Fable 3 because i loved Fable 2 so much and thought the game mechanics would of been the same but boy was i mistaken.

  • Tyyro

    This review is spot on, if not, still over rated. 5.5/10 is generous.. hell i wouldn't even give it that. i would maybe give the game a 3/10 just for some aspects of the game that were notable but not great in any way. where should I even start? The story of this game seem like it was written on a drunken night at the bar, on a napkin later used to wipe the asses of the over paid and under worked idiots that call this game anything but horrible. Lets see.. the game really gives you no choice on any aspect of the story other than the press "A" for good or press "B" for bad dialog. wow, that's really in-depth. Throughout the unrealistically short journey to gather allies and revolt against your tyrant brother, he willingly steps aside without a fight??!?! why do i feel like something is missing? last time i checked, he was killing everyone who stood in his way.. including your mate or civilians(whichever you chose) but whatever.. you only work hard and kill for what you believe in but lets just hand the kingdom over for the hell of it.

    Now lets skip the rest of the story.. which is not much to begin with.. and head to the end fight, where the conclusion to this epic story unfolds. so we gathered allies from across albion to fight the coming darkness. we ruled albion in a good and honorable way and pay in 7 fucking million gold to the treasury.. FOR WHAT? 4 soldiers to fight with you in this epic 5 vs 5 battle. hell I didint even break a sweat. I could have thrown my dog the controller and still successfully fought back the dark army while he chewed on the buttons.
    As for the boss himself! Are you fucking kidding me? all the build up and mysterious dialog/cinematics for this moment and what happens.. he dies in a couple swings of my hammer, leaving me thinking, "ok lets get onto the real boss fight".

    This story is a joke..most of the story doesn't even play into itself. Like where the fuck is the rest of my allies in the final battle? I only ran across Albion recruiting different armies to fight but did you see any in the final battle? no.. wtf is the point of the entire story if it has nothing to do with the conclusion?
    Don't bother going through the story as an evil character the second time if you picked good to start. most of the good/evil decisions you make have zero impact on the game itself.. hell the dialog doesn't even change on certain parts. I give the Story a 1/10

    Lets talk about weapons now.. what a wide selection.. only 4 types of weapons? swords, hammers, pistols or rifles? thats all you could come up with? you have successfully made a sequel with less content, bravo lionhead. now i should have started with the magic and legendary weapons before i started pointing fingers.. I know.. so lets talk legendary weapons. I don't know about anyone else but when I heard that there were 50 legendary weapons, I though to myself, "WOW that is cool, I wonder how bad ass they are compared to the normal weapons"? but when I started playing and found out every weapon is a legendary weapon and there are no "normal" weapons to compare the legendary's too. I thought, what the fuck makes these weapons so "legendary". They are really no different from each other.
    Don't even get me started with the magic and how you can only use 1 at a time.

    Process: In Development Release Date: TBA

    oh wait i forgot Fable 3 is already in stores with the game only being half finished.. that is all i have to say about co-op and how buggy it is.

    Now on to the SOCIAL part of fable 3! yay!
    what is this game, the fucking Sims? Its seems like most of the development went into the social life of your character and not to the story itself. Hell maybe next time they should just incorporate facebook right into Albion so you can show off how many useless fable friends you have. Maybe put it right inside your sanctuary, like everything else in the game.. including the god damn START MENU! NO, JASPER, FOR THE LAST TIME, I DON'T WANT TO BUY ANYTHING FROM THE SANCTUARY… I JUST WANT TO EXIT THE FUCKING GAME. oh wait.. I can't even do that either, since there is no "Quit" option.. I have to cold turkey the game to dashboard.

    Hell i don't even feel like going on anymore about the problems with this game, there are too many to even complain about in a day.

    This game is a huge let down for the Fable name.. bravo Lionhead.. now go back to making your mickey mouse games for Kinect

  • Kaneko

    I think his review is very accurate it wasn’t a bad game it just wasn’t as good as fable 2 because fable 3 is very glitchy and very short and the story sucked it was so lame I mean we waited how long for this game only for it to be a failure it literally hurt my feelings that it couldn’t live up to the previous game so I would say refund please don’t buy fable 3

  • LarryB

    I absolutely agree with Zombie on this one. I have been a HUGE fan of Fable from the start, and while there were buggy parts of F2, I still liked it, and still play it. Fable 3… while I cannot really improve on what Zombie said, I will give it that the game had it's good points, but you are rushed thru it entirely too fast EVEN WITH doing a crap load of side quests and such, you are still rushed throughm and I felt that even with the storyline, is it just me or did it seem like everyone FORCED the Prince(/princess) to revolt against his brother… In any case, I felt like my hand was forced. It didn't really seem realistic.

    The lack of a map was a serious flaw, one is badly needed, and there were so many things lacking that as others have also posted here, I am not sure I will even buy Fable 4. It honestly seems like the game was rushed through production, much like Sony Online Entertainment does on it's games time and time again. Yes the game seems very dumbed down after having played (and loved) the first two. Balls to Peter Molyneux, shame on your lionhead for a pisspoor halfassed attempt to follow up on the success of Fable and Fable 2

  • yes please

    Actually i was wondering what happend to the rest of albion, in fable i`m sure the was icy wastes and other stuff.
    oh and by the way what was all that stuff about the future of albion resting in the hands of aurora?…

  • yes

    I see the ending of fable 3 as a setup for 4 and that aurora was rushed, although i liked the crawler and how it could leed into other creatures based around lovecraftian stuff.

  • Cheese Doritoes

    i just hate it how you limited to 1spell or a merged spell at anygiven time also the weapon evolving is much to be desired i also would like it if defeating the darkness was only the 1/2 point instead of that being the end of the game. my overall ratein 4.9for a unfinished tird without the sparkiling crystals sprinkled on.

  • Paige2u

    @zomBIE 100% agreed. I’ll not be buying fable 4. They probably made a lame ass game and have tons of DLC just sitting there KNOWING ppl will buy it. They will cone out with all this stuff which means we have to pay twice the money to actually get ONE game lame.

  • Jacko

    Peter Molyneux sucks cock. THE END

  • ZomBiE

    I loved fable TLC. fable 2 was great single player horrid co-op) fable 3…….fable…fucking….3…i damn you to hell lionhead. DAMN YOU! This series went from being meant for the real gamers to a 3rd grade education level is all that is needed to play this game. It really didnt matter what you were in game (evil or good) as your choices werent realistic in any sense…yes people ran in fear from you if u were evil, yes they flocked to u when you are good…. but why oh why do evil and good look the same? (albeit minor ((and i mean minor)) changes to skin tone, and tattoos changing color) I think the weapons looked cooler when you were evil. So i had a extreme good chick, with maxxed evil weapons. And speaking of weapons….WTF….they must have spent at least 5 minutes on weapons, they were like okay, give me 5 designs for weapons, and we will split them up across 50 weapons. LAME!!!!! The entire point of a LEGENDARY weapon is that its LEGENDARY!!!! not my hero sword but with 3 stupid unlocks if you (have sex with 15 men, with 15 women, and orgy with 4 people) Fucking lazy. This game went from being a game that would hold your attention like crack does a crackhead, to being so dumbed down that even a blind, deaf, armless person could still play through this game (and even they would lament on this games let-downs) Why do developers remove all the things that make a game shine and attempt new possibilites? because its a risk? sorry, but thats a poor excuse. Why fix it if it isnt broken??? Why not keep what works, but add tweaks, extra effects, and polish the system? Why is there such a feeling of waste when they say theres 50 weapons in albion, but you can only have 30? the other 20 are totally random and may only get 1 in 5 games online? Again, laziness. Why not make all 50 available in 1 game? But with the catch that you wont see particulars if you follow a particular path (good or evil) Weapons shouldnt have a preset unlock to be rewards upon meaningless completion….they should all have 3 slots….that you can "add" abilities in game depending on how you are in albion…..but with variations of course. I agree whole heartedly that lionhead needs a sit down with fable 1 and fable 1 TLC to reacquaint themselves with what made Fable Fable. What ever happened to loads and loads of beta testers? This many bugs is ridiculous, you didnt near as many in fable 1 since back then beta testers were all about the game instead of the money they get for simply logging hours played and "bugs" found (or made up)
    You want my opinion??? Fable 3 is a pisspoor rendition of what Fable is supposed to be. Customization is what really made people feel part of their in game character. Not limited to a few outfits, but like fable 2, a plethora of outfits, that at any time you can mix and match to create a wealth of possibilites. Fable 3 is more of a childish doll like ok, heres a top, some gloves, and pants….and now you are ready to take over the world!!! Lame. Its haphazard development like this that makes us gamers wonder if fable 4 will even be worth it. OH YEAH!! in fable 2, we had repeater rifles, pistols, and multibarrel rifles,pistols, and crossbows……Is it too much to ask to bring those back? hell how about a throwback??? wheres my damn bow from fable 1!!!!! How the fuck did albion go from 15 round pistols that were quite sweet without being overpowered to everything is a damn flintlock that holds 5 rounds, and your character "touch's" the back of the weapon twice and bam, 5 more rounds ready to plant in a hollow man? WTF happened to all the magic? The first fable had it right…fable 2 made a bold step, fable 3 fell over the chair drunk and passed out, and woke up tied naked to a lightpole… The road to rule? Seriously, where is the joy of earning that next tier of damage to a favored weapon when all you have to do is dance and whistle your way to a more powerful sword. And speaking of that again, my hero sword responded to my using it so much that it has affected its physical make up?? um no, i used it twice, i used my pistol and magic more than any melee weapon until i got my souldrinker blade.

    Ending conclusion…..Fable 3 has so much potential and yet falls so short of general expectations of serious gamers and leans apparently towards a 7 to 12 year old genre that it sickens me. (its like taking a world renowned genius, locked him up in a loony bin, fed him valiums, and told him his mother was a fairie from venus.)

    Oh, and before the flak flies, yes ive beaten the game…about 6 times now… and i do love bits of the game, but there was entirely too many fuck ups on lionheads part this time to allow the good to outweigh the bad.

  • sandra

    Im still pissed about the ending.. I did all the good moral things that I was supposed to do… fought the brave fight… then wham.. NO ONE IS ALIVE in the end. I cant buy potions… I cant interact with anyone. because they are not there.. they are dead.. so much for doing something good. I will play it again.. but this time.. im going to do what Reaver wants.. and be a horrible person.. then .. in the end everyone will be alive in the end.. so i can actually enjoy running around albian. what a let down.

  • Jimi

    i paid $110 aus for this game and am hugely dissapointed

  • mathias

    ive gone to change my colour for my clothes and once theyre coloured in the dye selection is still available even when i exit the options and then i get stuck in the clothing room. wot actually happened to game testers theses days were they bribed to let the game go on the market with this many problems hence all thecomplaints. lol lionhead sort urselves out otherwise u will lose alot of customers!.

  • Bob

    The most annoying thing about the game is being restricted to one or two magic spells, that is a HUGE step back that cannot be explained away by "Gauntlets" or people being less adept in this new industrial age. Why Theresa doesn't come out of her spire and kick ass like she did previously I don't know. She could rule the world!

  • Mrsalty75

    He's right.. It was a step backward. The interactions with villagers were basic and boring, in fact less options than the fable 2, combat was not improved, the game was short and since it was short, you never saw your character morph/develop as decisions were made. Overall very disappointing and for the $60 spent, I was expecting more. Loinshead punted on this one.

  • Myrab51

    The graphics in this game are finally getting closer to what I always wished they were. People do not look so much like mutants, and body styles are much more realistic. Female heroes actually look like females. The body meshes, as well as skins have improved greatly. The clothes look better. The weapon evolution is a cool feature. However, there were problems that starting creeping up in Fable 2, and came out even more pronounced in Fable 3. They are trying to gear the game towards casual gamers, and it is becoming overly simplified. For instance, the in game map is still missing, and we need to follow the silly golden trail. If you want to explore around a while, the golden trail is non helpful. Menus are totally done away with, as well as the ability to control your experience points. For the casual Farmville style gamer, this is probably more friendly, but Lionhead is getting close to alienating true gamers, the ones that put in the hours, and are loyal to series titles for years. The first Fable was one of my favorite games ever. I waited in line at a midnight release for Fable 2 . It was still pretty good, but I found I did not come back to it time after time like I did the first. I did not buy Fable 3 until the day after it came out. I question if I will buy Fable 4 at all. The Fable franchise needs to remember its roots, as well as bring back gaming for true gamers.

  • Kent

    Pretty big letdown, but NOT because of the storyline. I did feel very rushed, especially because after you become king you have "a year"…and apparently in albion a "year" is however long it takes to to finish a few quests. I really felt forced into the main stroyline, as if something bad would happen if I took some time to explore. And when they said that they were removing many RPG elements, I had no idea it ment they would basically remove well… ALL of them…you dont even really get to see your charcter morph slowly, only abruptly change during one part of the game. I think thats a big problem with the game, things are very choppy, one minute your a rebel then a king and in a few more hours your charcter FINALLY changes its form reflecting your decisions and then…its over…

  • ElderWolfs bane

    I'm a huge fan of the fable series loved the last one, but when it comes down to fable 3 the storyline was awsome, but it whent way to fast. They should make some sort of dlc quest that takes you a long time to finish. I like me a chalenge i like getting frustrated that's what i play games for is to get ticked with it take a long time to finish and being a chalenge. Also they should fix the multiplayer to split screen if your playing with someone on the same consol. I do hope the make a dlc quest thats long and dificult, that would win back what gamers they may have just lost.

  • XProtomanRed

    Fable 3, Great story line, Dissapointing indeed. I was expecting more variety of…monsters? the hobbes are still in, glad. I wanted Trolls, or even the Ice blokes from the 1st game in Snowspire? This story even though great in its own way, dissapointing in many others, i wanted more of a challenge, it was easy, i got knocked out ONE TIME lmao, and it was cause i thought i paused the game while picking up the phone and figured i hadn't a sec. later. Anyway, its a good game, just not what i'm used to getting from fable, the 1st was my all time fav. the 2nd, not too bad…but the third…eh deff. a step-down as the guy reviews it, i dont know the person who has reviewed it above the Sterling guy, but in my opinion they needed more of a variety, and howcome i can't make multiple chars to play like in the 1st game? idk if this was only for PC, anywho…ive beat the game in a very short ammount of time, not what im used to. and…now ive nothing to do but stand around, watch my economy rise to billions of cash and do easy quests, also i'd like it if there was ALOT more bloodshed while roaming places, heck why not throw a bunch of bandits to randomly attack a village?! i'd LOVE to see them do that, like just throw all sorts of baddies in and make them try to burn it down, i'd even spend my ingame money to repair the town after killing them all.
    Sorry but i have to agree it is Disappointing, too much hype, and ended too soon, ive played with many online players, and they're like me, bored to death most of the time, a couple of them agree with me that they should @ least make an online arena — again, like in the 1st game!!! the arena was AWESOME! if there's a DLC for it i hope they take in some of this HUGE post. 5.5 is fair…Sorry Lionhead dudes >;!

  • Paige2u

    I’m a huge Fable fan and have to say this edition was lacking. I hates having to go to the sanctuary to see anything. It really felt as if you were constantly pulled out of the game. It was just a straight push through the storyline. I did side quests but even those didn’t seem very challenging. Fable two was by far better. Maybe I’m just missing something. I just didn’t feel as connected as I did in the previous fable. Weapons were another let down. I expected to see some big morphing as promised and what a let down. A huge disappointment and a huge disconnect. Fable two had some side missions that intertwined the story line. This was just boring and disappointing IMO. Assassins creed is coming thank god.

  • Dick

    i like the way the apples turn into goblins and then you can invite the goblins over for dinner

  • XdrewskiX

    One HUGE complaint. why can't I repair an entire town at once? I have to go in to each individual house and repair each and every one. time comsuming and extremely annoying

  • Yukon

    Fable 3 IS a great game (that despite some issues, is enjoyable)… to a point.

    Everything was going fine and then without warning it became one of the single most unpleasant video games I have ever played. I enjoyed Fable 2, heck I pre ordered the Fable 3 CE because I loved that game so much. In the end it has nothing to do with what they added or subtracted to Fable 3, its the complete AND total failure in its main quest/storyline, as soon as you get on the boat the entire thing goes to hell. Generic, Abrupt, and Short is how I would describe everything from that point through the end of the game.

    5.5 is sugar-coating an unpolished turd


    Jim Sterling is a douche.

  • Randall

    Sterling's review supports much of what I'm hearing about the game from people playing so far. Sounds like a really dumbed down version of Fable 2 to be honest, and Fable 2 wasn't exactly the deepest game to begin with.


  • Andrew

    It DOES lack the sense of adventure, but you gain a story that you feel a part of. Having a character that occasionally talks and a camera that moves around on its own gives it a much more cinematic feel… a major improvement.
    The thing that irritates me is that you start the game chubby. It doesn't really look fat, just… odd. After seven hours of play and several "healthy decisions" (apples, carrots, etc.) my princess has not lost a single pound.
    What's worse to me is that on the internet, you can read about how Lionhead realized that the character morphing in Fable 2 was bad and how using melee weapons makes you brawny not huge, guns make you lithe and magic makes you age prematurely. WRONG! In the game manual it states that guns make you TALL and magic gives you an otherworldly glow. This is true. And my character started out taller than most villagers. She looks like she-hulk.
    I just pray Lionhead releases another way to shrink and lose weight…

  • Joe Quinlan

    Its's Destructoid's job to be negative if there is a problem but what he doesn't see is that you CAN be adventurous and do your own thing! Espescially when some new DLC's come out. Or you could play through the story and do side quests with a second play through

    • zac

      I hate it when people think that DLC's make or break a game. DLC isnt bad, but dont try to defend a game's shortcommings by saying "magic DLC is comming".. pet peeve..sorry.

  • chicken kicker

    the game was great but it did take a bit of the explore and go at your own pace and seemed to rush me through finishing it in a day was an awesome experience (with story and dialogue better than most movies) but also a bit of a disappointment from the way it pushes you into the main story and away from all the other fun stuff there is to do.

    -not complaining though its a great story and an awesome game destructoid can suck it.

  • Kmach

    FIRST!!!….dang it!

  • Bertmasta

    Its a review by jim sterling, nuf said