>Impressions: Rock Band 3, Fable 3

>OK, so.  I had more or less written off the rest of 2010 in terms of “games to get excited about.”  And now, suddenly, I’m up to my ears in quality stuff.

Rock Band 3 is easily the best iteration of the franchise, and I say this even though I’ve only played one 14-song setlist with my wife, and without even owning the keyboard or trying out any of the “pro mode” stuff.  I’m talking strictly nuts-and-bolts here; the game feels “smart.”  Being able to save a setlist is a fantastic idea, especially if you want to set something up ahead of time; having the game actually pause between songs is also something much appreciated, to give everyone a second to catch their breath, stretch their fingers, take a quick bathroom break.  The stat-tracking is really interesting; it’s keeping tabs on all sorts of cool stuff, which definitely scratches that “let me play one more tune so I can get the next achievement” itch.  I’ve only seen a tiny fraction of what the game has to offer – I plan on messing with it A LOT over the weekend.  And I still need to get familiar with the on-disc setlist; I’ve already merged my RB1, RB2 and DLC libraries, so I need to see what’s actually new.

I can’t quite tell if Fable 3 is the best iteration in its franchise; I’m maybe 30-40 minutes into it, and it basically feels like Fable 2 (which is not necessarily a bad thing, of course, as I very much enjoyed my time with F2).  It does have some strange design choices, though, and I can already tell that some of them are going to get annoying. 

For example:  one of the bullet points of this franchise is that you can interact with anyone, and there’s lots of ways to do that; so that’s nice.  Except here, if you want to interact with someone, you have to stand close enough to them that a button prompt appears; if you press the button, then the game momentarily stops, and then restarts with a new contextual button prompt; if you then press that button (shake hand, belch, etc.), then you’re kicked back out into the first button prompt, and then you have to press another button to get back to the actual game.  This is strange and needlessly cumbersome. 

Also – the X button is both your melee attack and your block, which can be tricky, and the block really ought to have been mapped to one of the triggers, which are not used at all

It’s not really fair of me to criticize it just yet; again, I’m not even an hour into it, and there’s so much more left to do.  But every game’s first impression goes a long way toward coloring your eventual verdict.



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