While Fable 3 has been out for a while for the Xbox, the third installment in the Fable series wasn’t released for the PC until this last March. This game starts with you leading a revolt against the King of Albion, your brother.

Your brother is an evil monarch that taxes his citizens into poverty and people claim he has gotten worse over the last four years. It isn’t long before the player is placed in an impossible position where he must decide between the lesser of two evils. This leads you to begin your revolution, as you conspire with the various factions of Albion to overthrow its ruler.

Fable 3 is all about making choices and living with the consequences. Despite this, it is still rather linear. The storyline is pretty much the same no matter what choices you make, however, the way it is handled can vary greatly. For example, once you overthrow your brother, you must decide whether to live up to the promises you made or forsake them for a greater good. There really is no correct choice and many decisions paths will still lead to victory. The question in the end becomes whether you achieved victory through good or evil means.

Fable 3 is a roleplaying game, with an open world aspect and many areas to explore. You have all the usual roleplaying features: stats, items, collectables, quests, achievements, et cetera. The land of Albion is represented by a map, and players can transport themselves to each location to adventure. Despite the lack of sprawl, each area is rather large, with quests and objectives available for those who really like to get the maximum benefit from an RPG. Personally, I refuse to collect each of 50 silver keys hidden throughout the land, but some people really enjoy this type of gameplay, which can extend the life of a good game well beyond the 100 hour mark (for those with OCD).

On average, Fable has about 30 hours of game play. Unfortunately, the game rewards you for remaining online even when you are not playing in the form of collecting rent for properties you own. Every 5 minutes or so, money trickles in and every ruler needs money. Once you are king, you are faced with a 6.5 million dollar burden. In an effort not to spoil the storyline, the player must gather these funds within one year’s time or risk losing a portion of the population to war. At first, you are stuck trying to please the people, which means spending money, or hording wealth to reach your goal. The tension builds as the people start to question your leadership. However, if you just leave the game on for 24 hours, you will find yourself rich enough to please the people and save the world.

Clearly this game mechanic needs work because even if you do not just idle overnight, and choose to hunt down the silver keys and gnomes hidden through the world, you can easily find yourself rich beyond your wildest dreams. You would think time online would be tied to the one year time limit, but the two are completely independent. This is a fatal flaw in an otherwise entertaining game approach.

The graphics in Fable 3 are cartoonish but overall well done. The PC version of the game comes with some 3D graphical improvements, but they are still not the best in the business. The mini games are a fun diversion and the NPC interactions are downright hilarious. Reputation is an important part of the game and players can travel around the city dancing, tickling, and otherwise harassing the populace for brownies points. The English humor is very apparent in just about every encounter, but if you try to explain what is happening to someone who hasn’t experienced the game, they would think you are nuts.

The game plays very well with an Xbox controller, but I found keyboard and mouse controls a bit awkward. For a PC gamer with years and years of WASD experience, it was surprising to find the controller more comfortable. I suppose this makes sense as Fable 3 was ported from the Xbox 360. Overall the UI is a bit confusing, but luckily the in-game butler will walk you through the basics if you are patient.

Overall the game play is worth about $30 or so, which is definitely not the full price of the box. If you are a fan of the Fable series, then the third one shouldn’t disappoint. However, for your average roleplaying fan, you are probably better off picking up Witcher 2, which was released around the same time. Fable 3’s quests are very uninspiring. The storyline and combat can be very slow paced and repetitive at times. The game, however, makes for an excellent educational game that isn’t really educational, as it lacks a lot of gore, yet teaches children consequences. Of course, most children will become evil dictators because that is what children (and most adults) do in video games, but I digress. Fable 3 isn’t a poor purchase, it just isn’t the best one given the current choices on the market. If you are still eyeballing this game in a few months, wait for it to be on sale, and give it a whirl.