A Sad Case of Sequel-itis (Fable 3)

It’s been talked about often in the gaming world; there are many sequels and few new IPs. I have always ignored this as a bit of whining. Hey, I am a busy lady, and if I want to go with what I know will work, then that’s my prerogative. Yes, I kind of like the sure thing.

However there is a downside to the sure thing and that is when a company makes a game that is too much like it’s predecessor. “It’s Game X v. 1.5, not v2.0” is the refrain. Not a whole new game, but a simple reskinning of the old game.

But if I liked the old game, isn’t that a good thing? Sometimes yes, and sometimes no.

I think the feel of the game must change: if your gameplay rocks, then fine, don’t mess with it. Tweaks are okay, but don’t fix what ain’t broken. But the rest of the game must hit the gamer differently for it to feel like a new game. The emotional impact must be different.

Fallout: New Vegas I found did this wonderfully. As I mentioned previously, the feel is different. The Mojave Wasteland is a very different place than the Capital Wasteland. The area is more inhabited, more civilized. The people of the western United States are further along in creating new tribes and new governments. But it’s still a wasteland and people are struggling to get by; ingenuity still wins the day. The Capital Wasteland on the other hand really felt barren. They have barely stepped out of their vaults both figuratively and literally. Both games have the same basic mechanic, but the notes are different.

Fable 3, I am sad to say, missed the boat a bit. It’s really glitchy, like Fallout: New Vegas. I can look past the lag if the game touches me. But it didn’t. In Fable 2, the story made you love your dog, and when he was shot you felt something. It was the two of you against the world and I remember how great it felt to go running through fields with him beside you. In this game I really didn’t feel for any of my compatriots, not even the dog-replacement, Walter.  (spoiler) When Walter was killed there wasn’t that emotional ring to it. Walter being possessed by the big bad felt like what it was: a ploy to get around having to animate the big bad. Why go through all that trouble actually creating a moving,, fighting 3-D model, when the big bad can possess a guy that is already created. Add black eyes and viola! Big Bad Walter.

That felt cheap, not touching.

There were also some inconsistencies in the game that I didn’t care for. I abolished child labour, yet there are still child labourers. I had over 7.5 million in the treasury (more than enough) yet, Hobson still goes on about how the treasury is taking *such* a huge hit if I abolish the limit on drinking. Something didn’t feel right.

The world was also very small. Very few real cities: Brightwall and Bowerstone were the only major ones. I was also surprised at how little of my choices in Fable 2 effected my playthrough in Fable 3. Now THAT will be interesting if in Fable 4, if all the choices you made would shape the world for the better or worse. For the most part all of the good choices were long-term benefits, whereas the bad choices were either evil at worst (take the treasury money for yourself) or short-term (break a few promises to save the most citizens).

I suppose it is with the feel of Fable: but there was really little shades of grey. Your brother was an evil dictator, but once you threw him off the throne they tried to write him as a just a guy who tried to do his best. I didn’t believe it, but I am not sure I was ever supposed to.

The biggest thing that was changed was the multiplayer. And yeah: that’s pretty fun. But the few times I have gone into another person’s game (or vice versa) we really don’t know what to do. Yes, there are a ton of quests, but they kind of all run together after a while.

Maybe I am disappointed because I had such high expectations. Fable 2 was my game of the year (yes, over Fallout 3) the year it was released. This game didn’t hit the right notes and left me a sad panda.

What do you think? Been disappointed by sequels? How about Call of Duty: Black Ops? Is it just a reskinning with new maps? If so, is that okay for you?

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  • Tami A  On November 18, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    Yes, I am very disappointed with Fable III. So much, that it’s been out almost for a month and I haven’t finished the game. My first save was so glitched I had to start over. I’m the king on my second save but the decisions are so extreme that they don’t appeal to me anymore. I holding little hope for Fable 4. And there’s talks of a 5th one? Please.


  • Charlie Moritz  On November 30, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    I haven’t got Fable 3 as I don’t have an Xbox360, but I was planning on getting it on PC until I heard how disappointing it is. From what I can tell if you invest in property before you become king you can fulfil all of your promises and just literally do whatever you want without fear of consequence! Sounds a bit drab to me :S

    I really loved Demon’s Souls in so many regards like this because, while the narrative was minimal, your actions really had an effect on the world. If you feel like it, you can just butcher everyone in the nexus (and, at the same time, remove any ability to level up or buy items because the vendors of these services met an untimely death).

    I don’t want games to patronise me, I want there to be things that I can do if I choose that will make the game really hard, I would like the game to react to me rather than me having to fit my actions to the game.

    Nice blog!

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