A fun and empowering, albeit familiar outing.
Fable II, much like its predecessor, is a game about choice; these choices in effect ripple throughout the experience, creating a myriad of different outcomes for both yourself and those around you. While the game nevertheless tells a very linear story and has in place all the usual restrictions of such choices usually associated with modern console RPGs, you’d be hard pressed to find an experience as rejuvenating, addictive and empowering as this one on the console market. Telling a story of good and evil, the game adopts a style that lets you determine your eventual outcome, culminating in three distinctly different endings that have a grand effect on how you then approach the free-roaming nature of .
One of the original game’s biggest disappointments undoubtedly came when you finished up the main quest and had to start all over again. Thankfully with the second instalment, the series’ mantra of more choice and freedom equals more fun resonates in this element of gameplay; rather than having to start again, the game opens up more side quests for you to accomplish, and with these and the many other areas of gameplay to explore, there’s a lot of value present to keep you busy. Although the main quest’s story is notably downsized and a little less engrossing as last time, there’s still plenty of intrigue built over the course of its pages to keep things moving along with some decent pacing. There’s also plenty of dark humour and wonderful satire to interact with here also; the writing is for the most part sharp; there just isn’t enough of it. The overall barebones experience of getting through the story will cost around ten hours max, and as such it can definitely feel a little underwhelming. Yet if used in combination with the many other side quests, real estate, job and general free-roaming elements of the game, that figure can easily be tripled- and that’s just your first play.
Aesthetically the game feels just like home in regards to the series on its own. The graphics, although a little harsh in some areas are smooth enough for the most part to get the message across whilst never drawing much attention to themselves. Sure enough having to battle through countless enemies, all of which usually look exactly the same as each other, can get a little tiresome, but for what it’s worth, the design is adequate enough to still feel fresh and inviting. The score penned by Russell Shaw is of a much higher quality, engulfing the world of with rich sonic textures that fully complement the game’s whimsy, tragic and epic themes of choice, morality and consequence.
The biggest draw value that Fable II has however is that outside of the sums of its parts lays a naturally exciting, entertaining and compelling game. Much of this certainly has to do with the lax balance present, which keeps things pretty straight forward for the player as far as difficulty is concerned. Sure enough there are some tricky spots here and there but for the most part, things move along smoothly without much cause for concern. Nevertheless, what results from this slight imbalance when used in turn with the game’s themes and gameplay design is a memorable and addictive experience that can be played for hours on end. Certain areas, such as the barebones ‘multiplayer’ mode and the main quest’s length could have been improved for a much more streamlined play, but there’s enough present to distract away from such underdeveloped aspects; a fun and empowering, albeit familiar outing.
Story & Game Modes… 7
Gameplay & Control… 8
Graphics & Design… 7