Another game that’s recently been getting my attention is Lionheads Fable III. I was a big fan of the game at first but I think other game releases just took priority and I stopped playing it. Maybe the initial glamour wore off. I just know that the impressions I had of the game at the start are a lot different from those I had at the end.
Firstly, if you want a bit more information about the game itself, you can read my review here. It’s a bit rose-tinted, but there’s enough negativity below to balance it out.
These are the problems that I have with the end of Fable III.
How much is your life worth? – 1 gold apparently
The end of the game is entirely based around the premise that it takes 1 gold to save the life of 1 person. I know they have to keep things simple but knowing this very simple fact makes all your decisions not based around any semblance of right or wrong, but a purely financial equation. The end of the game is designed to show you just how difficult decisions could be for kings and rulers. However, those people painted as despots and saints would not have had exact casualty figures only their advisors or ethics to guide them with a set of rough costs.
For example, one of the decisions I had to make was either keeping an orphanage which would cost me 50,000 or building a brothel which would bring in 1,250,000. Now that’s a lot of money and knowing that putting a brothel would save 1.25 million lives makes it an easy decision to make considering the alternative is effectively killing 50,000 people and keeping the orphanage.
I would have liked an element of mystery or even using randomly generated costs would add to the realism. Maybe bringing in advisors similar to that of Civilization. Where each advisor would advise (as they do) according to their remit. There would be a military advisor, a welfare advisor an education advisor etc. Their opinions could conflict with each others and it would be up to you to make what you thought would be the right course of action.
They love me! They still really love me!
Well, by the time I got to the final battle at the end of the game I had managed to amass 1.5 million into the treasury. This was mainly due to the brothel and a diamond I found in Aurora. So that meant that because of my actions or inactions 5 million people died under my rule. Which in quick figures gives me a mortality rate of 77%. Now, consider the fact that out of the countries involved in World War 1 only 5% of the population died, that puts my death rate as over 15 times higher.
Even weirder is that everyone still loves me, ok I’ve danced with a lot of people, hugged my way around Albion, rescued some chickens etc. but would those actions in any way excuse five million deaths in my hands?
Teresa the Machiavellian psychopath.
When Teresa first gives you the insight into your brothers mind, you hear him saying things such as “If the people will not follow me then they will die”. Admittedly a clever piece of wordplay because when you first hear this it sounds like your brother is arrogant and cruel enough to kill anyone who doesn’t follow him. It is later discovered that your brother knew the same things you now know. Namely that a large drippy oily dark thing is going to invade. With this bit of information, we can see that your brother was actually saying that he needs people to trust that he is doing the best for them as a nation or the big, purpley oily thing of death will kill them. This is clever, I gotta admit.
However, the issue I have with this is that Teresa admits to setting all of this up. Teresa needed you to realise your powers as a hero in order to save Albion. Your brother is just an ordinary person and therefore expendable. So what is the easiest way to get someone to realise their power? Well, apparently it’s to throw your brother into a no-win situation which causes him to be cruel to the population for their own good, giving you the ammunition to escape, train, over-throw your brother (possible killing him and god knows how many other innocent people in the process) and then be faced with exactly the same problem but with a lot less time to do it in.
Seriously Teresa, there must have been easier ways than that.
So in short, the beginning of the game is quite interesting, sidestepping the embarrassingly simple and illogical way to make friends. However the end game feels like everyone just phoned it in. The idea is nice but it misses many of the important parts about being a supreme ruler. The decisions that may have seemed good at the start that back-fired for example or any set of random circumstances that could affect previous decision. In short the entire end game is one big maths problem.
I’m playing it through again, so maybe these initial thoughts will change. Though just the concept of having to play it through again to try to get a better opinion seems somewhat back-to-front.
So my favourite out of the three games remains to be Fable 2.