game score

Soundtrack review: Fable III (Russell Shaw – 2010)

fable3

“Fable III” is an action role-playing open world video game, developed by Lionhead Studios and published by Microsoft Game Studios for the Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows. The third game in the Fable series, the story focuses on the player character’s struggle to overthrow the King of Albion (who is the hero’s brother) by forming alliances and building support for a revolution. After a successful revolt, the player becomes the monarch and is tasked with attempting to defend Albion from a great evil. This time there is voice acting from people like Ben Kingsley, Stephen Fry, Simon Pegg, Naomie Harris, Michael Fassbender and John Cleese. Russell Shaw returned to write the score.

The third version of the main theme is darker than the previous two. That Elfmanesque fantasy delight complete with choirs and that melodic line that’s made so many Tim Burton films work gives the main theme a great appeal. It puts me in a great mood right away as I am ready to explore this world once more. This version of the world seems more dangerous than before and the music is more string oriented. A cue like “Escape” is the most action oriented piece of the franchise so far. I like that it reminds me a little of Michael Giacchino’s music, the way the strings cut and hack.

Darkness is also more present than before as the first shadows of the medieval choir appears in “Theresa” and not at the end of the score like before. Then I hear “The dwellers” and it quickly shots up into my list of favorites from the entire franchise and not only as it is one of the most beautiful and haunting solo violin compositions I’ve heard in a long time. This one just breaks my heart and brings me nostalgia of Yitzak Perlman. I can’t get enough of the pure emotion it evokes. I am simply floored by this cue; I was not expecting to find such a treasure in this score.

I don’t have time to recover as the next cue “Sanctuary” hits another very soft spot inside me; this cue is retro atmospheric of my favorite kind, reflective and intense, seductive and addictive. I am hypnotized and I don’t want this cue and this mood to ever end.

Even the playful exploratory cues are different here. They have an extra touch of darkness and that unmistakable appeal of a melodic fantasy score. The music comes like a thin dark veil that both confuses and caresses. I usually don’t spent this much time on separate cues but “Fable III” keeps hitting me with highlights… “Reliquary” is a somber and haunting choral piece, quiet and mournful and beautiful. “Drfitwood” is once again my kind of reflective atmospheric cue.

“Fable III” is by far the best score of the franchise yet. There are a lot of amazing moments and the generally darker atmosphere works very well. This constant evolution of the “Fable” music makes me hope for great things from the next albums.

Cue rating: 92 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 47 / 72

Album excellence: 65%

Highlights:

Fable III Theme

Escape

Theresa

The Dwellers

Sanctuary

Reliquary

Music Box

Driftwood

Reaver Mansion

Shadelight

Death of Walter

Farewell Walter

Finale

About the author

Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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