To know me is to know that I love my yearly series, and here’s a new a one! This year I’m taking on the 30-Day Video Game Challenge (30VGC). Though, actually, it’s going to be more like the 26-Week Video Game Challenge, since I’ll only be covering two or three topics from the challenge each month. You can check out my intended schedule in this post. With that, it’s game on!
My pick for a disappointing game sequel is Fable 3.
So here’s my hot take on Fable 3 from an article I originally wrote for Virtual Bastion back in February:
When you get right down it it, Fable 3 is a joyless game. That’s really the nicest conclusion I can come to at this point. It’s not unplayable or broken or even “bad” in the academic sense. It took the simple pleasures of Fable and Fable 2 and ran them through the muck. Fable 3 is a weighty and unfortunately boring affair that’s a decided step down from Fable 2. Aye, and there’s the biggest rub. If anything, Fable 3 is like a slightly enhanced version of Fable 2 with a worse story. Very little about is says “sequel;” it’s just more of the same…and less.
I have to say that narrowing down my choice to Fable 3 was a difficult one. With the key word here being “disappointing,” and with “disappointing” being quite subjective, and since I can be too judgy for my own good sometimes, I had to set aside a number of other choices that immediately popped into my head upon first glancing at the topic. What eventually left Fable 3 as the only game on the “disappointment table” was just how much I looked forward to it after Fable 2. Back then, in 2009/2010, I followed game news lightly, watching mostly only X-Play and maybe catching online reviews here and there. I essentially lived in my own little gaming bubble, and I was happy there. Filling it with the likes of Fable 2, especially, was most comforting, because it was a game that I both connected with and immensely enjoyed.
Despite my love of Fable 2, and since I didn’t then have a strong a need to hold onto games that I had already played, I opted to trade it in towards the purchase of Fable 3. Not knowing any better, I figured that surely Fable 3 would provide as much, if not more enjoyment than Fable 2, because how could it not?
Up to the point of Fable 3, which I played through twice just to make sure I wasn’t imagining how terrible it was, I had never before been more disappointed in a game sequel. I didn’t outright hate the game, but I certainly didn’t love it as much as Fable 2. With Fable 3, the series went from being filled with simple RPG fun to becoming a momentous and unimportant slog. The game tried far too hard to be something it wasn’t, something more than the sum of its withered parts. I appreciate that creator Peter Molyneux had some grand visions about changing the landscape of RPGs, but there was nothing grand about Fable 3. Oh, it had some good moments that peppered most of the game’s first half, but it all went downhill after that.
More than anything, Fable 3 made me incredibly upset that I had sold away Fable 2. That ill move was the most disappointing thing of all.