Review Written by Nook29
For those that don’t know, Fable 2 is an Action RPG, released exclusively for the Xbox 360 in October 2008. The game is the sequel to the original Fable, which was released in September 2004, on the Xbox, PC and Mac.
I’d been looking forward to this game for some time. I played Fable on the PC a few years ago, and thought it was brilliant. It wasn’t perfect though, and despite Peter Molyneux singing its praises, it wasn’t quite as good as it could have been. When I first saw screenshots and video of Fable 2, I had high hopes for it. It looked absolutely fantastic, and looked like it would finally deliver what Molyneux promised with the first game. So did it meet my expectations?
Well, to put it simply, yes. The first time I fired the game up, the menu screen seemed magical, and was surprised to hear Zoë Wannamaker say, ‘And so the story begins’. Upon the starting the game, the opening scene was fantastic, a stunning pre-rendered video, which sets the scene really well.
Now like the first game, your hero starts off as a young child. The opening part of the game sees you walking around with your sister, collecting enough gold coins to buy a magical music box, which will grant you one wish. This basically serves as a tutorial, to get you used to the game, but also does a good job of kicking off the story. Your childhood comes to a fairly abrupt and shocking end, and after no more than an hour of gameplay, your hero is a young man, and you have your first proper quest to complete.
And so you get your first taste of proper combat, and whilst the combat system in the game is very simple, it works very well. A simple one button system, which involves you pressing X to attack with your chosen weapon. You can also use ranged weapons, using Y. And you can also use spells, which help you deal more damage to enemies, especially when there’s a large group of them. As you defeat enemies, they drop small coloured orbs when they die. This is experience, and each colour corresponds to a certain skill. You use your experience to upgrade spells and skills which your character uses. These make you more powerful, and allow you to do more damage.
Another interesting thing the game brings that wasn’t in the first one, is the inability to die. Instead, when your characters health drops enough, you are knocked unconscious, and come surging back with only a small portion of health left. Each time you are knocked down, you lose some experience. This is a great inclusion to the game, which allows you to keep going, rather than sent back to the beginning of an area. Some may view it as too easy and forgiving, but for me it adds a lot to the game, making it less frustrating.
One thing the game is supposed to focus heavily on, is developing relationships with other characters. You can of course marry anyone in the game, whether they’re a man or woman. However, whilst this was one of the features of the game Molyneux spoke about a lot, it’s probably one of the most disappointing, and most annoying. Making people like you is far too easy. You simply target them and dance in front of them for hours. By which point, the entire town turns out to watch, and when you get bored, they all follow you everywhere because they’re in love with you. And when you finally decide you’ve had enough of being followed, and you massacre them all, everyone hates you. You can’t win! But then you can make them like you again by giving a beggar lots of money. The idea of developing relationships with characters is fantastic, but it simply doesn’t work well enough. Being able to marry and have a child is great, but you spend so much time completing quests, you return to find your partner has left you.
Another gripe would be the number of bugs in the game. I personally didn’t experience many, but a number of people have experienced game breaking bugs, and it’s hard to believe how a game can be released under the knowledge that it is riddled with bugs. A patch has been released (on the day this review was written, no less), which should fix most of the major bugs. The game also appears to enjoy breaking 360’s. Whilst playing, the 360 is incredibly load, far more so than usual. I’ve played the game for a lot of time, and I’m pretty sure it has almost broken my DVD drive on the 360, which quite often disc read errors.
Another gripe of mine has to be the short story. It really doesn’t take long to play through the game. If you decide to do all the side quests on top of the main story, you’ll probably be lucky to find 10 hours in the game. Despite that, the story is rather good, and ends with a number of questions unanswered. And with downloadable content coming next week, this will lengthen the amount of time the game offers and should answer some questions.
Whilst Fable 2 isn’t perfect, it is by quite some way by game of 2008. It’s charming, fun and a fantastic experience. It is one of my favourite RPG’s of all time, only Oblivion tops it. If you haven’t already played it, you really ought to buy it.