Minor spoilers ahead!
I’ve begun playing Fable III, a game that I’ve been interested in for quite some time. I must say I enjoyed the two previous games; despite the difference between Lionhead’s ambitions and the actual game I really found the first Fable to be a very cozy and enjoyable action RPG. The second game increased the scope and allowed me even more freedom in creating my own hero and walking around doing everything from kicking chickens to buying property and exploring deep forests.
Regarding the third game it is quite obvious that Lionhead has made some changes to the concept. It is still Fable we’re talking about and much feels like the two previous games. One difference is how Lionhead has tried to reduce the interface, which didn’t really work that well in Fable II. The experimental solution to this has been to “spatialize” the interface/inventory. The game contains a sanctuary in which all of your gear, gold and clothing are stored. You can at any moment teleport to this place in order to change clothes or equip another weapon. I think the approach is quite interesting and even though it doesn’t work flawlessly, the overview regarding items is not the best, it is still functional. I enjoy that the developers have tried a new way to solve the problem of RPG interface/inventory – something BioWare also did with Mass Effect 2.
Regarding theme the game deals a lot with power, and more specifically political power. It is no secret that you become king/queen halfway or so into the game. I haven’t reached that point in the story yet but it’s interesting to see how Lionhead forces me to make promises (re-open the academy, give money to the poor, grant political freedom) which I hope will develop into tough choices when I become king. Perhaps I have to choose between re-opening the academy or helping the poor? Perhaps granting political freedom to the mountain people will make the kingdom loose a considerable source of income, thus making it impossible to honour the other two promises.
I feel that I’ve to play through more of the game before I can give some kind of final verdict. So far I quite enjoy the game and it’ll be interesting to see how the ruler-aspect of the game works. Time will tell.