By Jimbo_N 9 Comments
I´m gonna go completely nuts and just write about random things that pop into my mind right now, there´s no other way to do this. So this is by no means my complete impressions, its just a random braindump of things thats currently on my mind about Fable 2, before I jump into my second playthrough.
The world of Albion is very well crafted. Its not as huge as the biggest "open world" lands like Vvardenfell, nor is it as open as those worlds. But Albion has love put into every little tree and flower like no other RPG in recent memory. I often walk into a place in Albion and I´m just stupified at the amount of detail that has gone into the artdesign. Technically its not the most impressive game ever made but the artdirection makes up for it big time. The look and feel of the game is very consistent and very beautiful. The same thing goes for sidequests. Theres not nearly as many sidequests to undertake as in, for example, Oblivion but those sidequests that do exist is so well crafted that I rather go with the lesser number of them.
The dog works! All the talk about the dog is true. Your dog becomes an emotional link to the world of albion as well as a radar that finds treasures, warns you about enemies and interacts together with you towards the population (or enemies). The dog, together with the "glowing trail" totally replaces the use of a map. You never ever bring up a map to check where you are or where you need to go in this game and its fantastic how an RPG can succeed with this. You dont even have a minimap of the area unless you pause the game and go into a separate menu.
You become very attached to your dog and its kinda cool when you realize that you cant control him in any way, hes just there because he loves you.
Combat in Fable 2 is awesome if you know how to actually make it awesome. It adapts to your playstyle very well. If you´re a casual player and just mash the buttons its not going to be very entertaining but if you play it like that you´re also probably a player that wont notice that its not very deep.
But when you take its to its fullest is _incredible_. When you start to chain together spells by holding the spellbutton down to level 4, then quickly fire off a level 1 spell by tapping the same button, then quickly draw out your gun, hold in the button to zoom in on an enemy, quickly press the LT to target body parts and then blow some hands and heads off. After that you can quickly draw your sword and bust out with these awesome flourishes that requires you holding the melee button down. Depending on where you´re standing and where the enemy is standing these can be pulled off in many, very satisfying ways. Theres also a rythm element put into the melee combat. You can start tapping the X button with a rythm to build up speed. You then tap it faster and faster to build up more speed and you get audio queues from the background music that tells you when to push the X button. All of this combined with the rain of shiny XP bubbles (that becomes more plentiful if you´re pulling off cool moves) that the enemies explode into makes for one of the best combat systems I can think of.
Everything morphs to you, including the world! Its pretty mindblowing how much control you have over the world. Its not only you and your dog that morphs. Its the world aswell. For example. At one point you can either join the Temple of Light or the Order of Shadows. Depending how you advance you are either ordered to completely burn Oakvale to the ground or defend the village and the temple in it. Depending on what you chose, when you return 10 years later, the village will either be a ghost town or the happy farmer village we all know and love.
You will be forced to make many decisions that will have big consequences for the people of Albion and you will also be forced to make REALLY interesting decisions that will test how good you REALLY are. My mind was completely blown at some of these choices. How much are you really willing to sacrifice to be truly good?
Theres also some things in the game that will test just how good or greedy YOU really are, outside of the roleplaying. There are one achievement, for example. that requires you to sacrifice 10 people to the darkness. If you get it, the achievement will ask you if one achievement is really worth the lives of so many.
The morphing of your hero looks stunning and your dog morphs with you. The clothing combinations are many and I doubt two heroes will look alike.
The game also innovates alot when it comes to RPG economy. First of all you dont gain XP for killing stuff. You actually have to WORK. Work and questing are separated. Eventually you have enough money to start investing in houses and shops which will result in constant income from sales and rents. This can be taken to the extreme and I´m currently working on building up a real estate empire worth 2.5 million gold (which is ALOT in Albion).
The game has problems by the way. The Co-op camera can be reaaaaally frustrating at times, especially indoors. The A.I in the game can sometimes be manipulated in abusive ways, the menus are sluggish as hell and loading times are both many and very long. Especially if you travel over several areas in a short amount of time trying to get somewhere. I also felt like the loading times became even longer in online co-op. The story also feels a bit uneven. Its fantastic and very emotional at times but very plain sometimes. Its got its peaks and deep valleys and it feels a bit on the shortside overall for a game of this scope.
The cinematics that are outside of the gamengine looks almost on par with the best Blizzard stuff, its too bad there arent more of them.
As I said I can go on forever about Fable 2, and I probably will, but not in the same post. So im gonna call if quits right here and also warn you about the 10 or so spelling mistakes that are in the text. When I write long blogs I do it faaast.