Behind a bead curtain lurks the Kingdom of Albion, which has had a few tweaks here and there.
A bead curtain covers a mysterious door in the corner of the Microsoft area at TGS. Luckily MS hasn’t gone into the adult movie business, this little area is where it keep its Japanese Z-rated games (for 18+), including Lionhead’s upcoming Fable 3.
The “Bowerstone Boat” demo drops us in a subterranean dungeon where players are re-introduced to the old Fable combat system. Not much has changed. Trusty canine pal by our side, we follow the usual sparkling quest indicator through the caves. The ghostly hollow men make a return, but are easily dispatched by the trifecta of sword, missile and magic.
Combat works more-or-less identically to Fable 2 . The main changes in gameplay are the simplification of some of the controls. Many core functions have been shifted to a simple press of the A button. This doesn’t just include things like digging, but also interactions with your dog. Pressing A near your companion halts other functions and brings up the various options (scold, reward, etc.). The central gameplay seems very much streamlined rather than drastically overhauled.
The big difference is in the menu system. In Fable 2, a quick look at the map or a change of clothes involved delving into menus and trawling lists, often with aggravating load times. In Fable 3, menus are now a thing of the past. Pressing start whisks the player to the Sanctuary area, where Jasper the butler ably guides you through your options. For example, entering the weapons room allows us to grab a sword straight from the wall. Other rooms allow a change of projectiles, clothes, etc. Returning to the game is as easy as a couple of presses of the B button. Load times were virtually non-existent and it all seemed quite intuitive. Moreover, it succeeded in ironing out the disconnect between inventory management and the game proper that slowed the previous game down a little.
So more of the same then? The demo featured none of the touted kingdom management features, nor did we get the chance to see any NPC interactions. Judging solely on what we played, there has been tweaks here and there, but core Fable gameplay remains untouched.
TGS 2010 reporting is done jointly by Fintan Monaghan and Lisa Gay.