Ha. I realized that my last post was “360”. Somewhat humorous considering this is a Xbox-related post.

And so, I renewed my subscription to Xbox Live in the last week. While the service has gone up an extra $10 bucks, I didn’t mind this time, as there wasa pretty good incentive: Renew for a year, and get one of these four games: Halo: Reach, Fable III, Kinectimals, or Kinect Sports. And to keep all of you out of suspense, I chose Fable III.

I couldn’t tell you how or why Fable III fell under my radar and I never followed up on picking it up before. I did like the second game, majority wise.

Let me continue on with my statement of that I liked Fable II, but I did have some issues with it. I liked that it was similar to Legend of Zelda in play feel (in some aspects), if not so much a play style. It was extremely linear in some aspects, and yet you could break free to explore if you wanted to. I liked you could be really good or evil, and that it was reflected in things that you did. I liked the dog (my real world dog, however, did not and barked at it often). And mostly, I just like RPG/adventure games.

This game did make me wonder if perhaps there was a thing as being “too good”. I had built my character up to the point where he had a halo upon his head. You would think being good would mean that everything would be perfect, right? Enemies were afraid of me and generally refused to attack, I had fans the second I walked into any town or city (once my rep was built up), a wife and two kids (and an extra on the side as I got bored after a while and wanted to be a little wicked. Heh heh). Things were good, but there were issues.

I appreciated the choices, but some choices weren’t all they were cracked up to be. I played mine as a good, straight (you can choose sexual preference), warrior with good magic. Clothes are reputed to be such a major aspect of the character, and while I chose the “best” very early on in the game, I looked like a foppish Gandalf, and no clothes that I ever found later ever allowed me to improve, or even switch out styles with some penalty. It’s only through one of the expansions that I found a suit of armor that I really liked.

The crowds became tedious. The hero, having renown far and wide throughout the land of Albion, would draw hordes of admirers in every city, rich or poor… and wanted him to fart and do hand puppet shows. This is how I built my adoration and reputation. Not on slaying neighboring bandits, freeing slaves, or overthrowing a tyrant. I built it on doing stupid dances and lute playing.

Even the sexual aspect was skewed. I played my character straight, but during one attempt to impress a villager, I accidentally hit the “Flirt” command. From then on, I had all sorts of men begging me for a wedding ring (in front of the wife, no less). It’s a little strange having the entire town begging or griping at you because they want to be married. I already had two wives. I had my hands full as it was.

But the choices could be fun. I’d give homeless people diamonds or a million gold just for the heck of it. And unlike some “moral choice” games that saved after everything, a friend and I decided to test the waters on how “evil” could I be. And some times, it made no sense at all. One shop keeper kept singing my praises… until it came time for his store to close and I was still inside. At that point, he instantly became murderous, and would relentlessly chase me through the streets firing his gun at me. The Jekyll/Hyde thing was a little perplexing, to say the least.

Happily married, we invited some woman we met off the street into my house where the wife was, and proceeded to sleep with said woman right in front of her. The wife, of course, would complain, so my character would slap her, and bring in a new person. Finally after having enough of the complaining, we pulled out the big jade war hammer that we had and uppercutted her over the stairwell. One hit was all it took to become a single man.

Of course, the villagers took offense to this and came into the house to attack (after my character’s child was taken away). We used lightning magic to hurl them out the window, destroying a good number of people (And the house) in process.

After leaving the house, we proceeded to go to the tailor’s buy and wear the most tartish women’s clothes we could find, and then ran to every food vendor to eat every single thing they had. Once “properly attired”, we proceed to wipe out the entire town.

From a haloed foppish wizard, to a red-eyed and horned blimp of a monster in only the sleaziest of corsets and thigh-high boots (the feathered hat was a nice touch, however) in a matter of minutes. If anything, it couldn’t be argued that the game didn’t offer choices or go with the flow if you change your mind on alignment.

The point of all this is that even with its limited and unrealistic AI (despite all the initial hype that it was the most immersive thing you’ll ever play), and the glass ceiling in certain areas of what you can do, and where you can go, Fable II did offer some unusual choices. But there were barriers, despite its best efforts, and if you so chose, you could literally “Point A to Point B” the entire game if you followed the little glowing trail.

So there’s the question about Fable III: Does it offer more realistic diversity? Is it more of the same? Is it a better experience than its predecessor? I figured “Free” was the best way to figure those questions out myself, but I’d be curious to hear reader’s own experiences with either (or both) games.

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