This review has been a long time coming; mostly due to the fact that my overall opinion of the game shifted so much during my time with it. I can now safely say that Fable 2 has thoroughly surprised me, but not all of the surprises were steps toward the positive.
Fable 2 is the latest game from Lionhead Studios, creators of the Original Fable and both of the Black & White games. If you recognize the name of Lionhead from E3, it's because they were the team that did the Milo demonstration for Microsoft's Project Natal. While playing Fable 2, you can't help but ask yourself; if they are capable of that sort of complex AI technology, why the hell is Fable so basic? Off-topic, I know, but it was definitely something I was thinking.
The game takes place five hundred years after the original Fable and heroes have all disappeared due to the destruction of The Heroes' Guild. However, it seems that over five hundred years not much else has changed. The only noticeable difference is the inclusion of guns. Still though, the story in Fable 2 is the usual hero fare. You start out as a young street urchin, barely surviving a harsh winter out on the streets with your older sister. On top of that, you are shot out of a window and fall four hundred stories to your.... well, not death, but discomfort. You survive and grow up to be a very attractive young hero who is tasked with gathering three other heroes in order to save the world from being ruled by the very same man that shot you out of a window. My main criticism of Fable 2 is that the story is simply terrible. Bland, monotonous, and all the characters are completely unlikeable to the point of you simply wishing it were an option to kill them all, which it isn't. So much for freedom of choice.
That is you. Apparently, very far falls and near death experiences are good for one's complexion.
The combat is incredibly simple. Say there is a man you intend to hurt standing in front of you, there are three ways you can go about this: X button to carve his ass up with whatever melee weapon you have equipped, B button to cast your currently selected spell, and Y button to shoot him in the face. It's that simple. Holding down the buttons can add a little variation to whatever attack you favor for manslaughter, but that's all there is to it. However, the previous scenario isn't an accurate representation of a fight in Fable 2. There will very rarely ever be just one man for you to fight, instead the game prefers a good old fashioned twenty on one, and that is what makes the combat fun. Due to the large groups of enemies, you will constantly be changing targets to accommodate whichever enemy seems like the biggest threat at the time, making each fight feel very exciting. The things you'll fight are varied nicely, with bandits and beetles in some areas, while you have skeletons and werewolves in another. The main issue with the combat is that every fight, no matter what you're fighting, will almost always boil down to pushing the X button until your thumb falls off. Spells are near useless at low levels, and guns will rarely do more damage than your melee attacks. Complaints aside, the combat is definitely the strongest feature of the game.
This is what a fight looks like in Fable 2.
Based on that image and my description of the combat, you would think that Fable 2 is a hard game. Well, you shouldn't be thinking that because it definitely isn't. I died one time while playing the game, and that was only because I left the game unpaused while I took a bathroom break and was swarmed to death by a pack of evil beetles. Making money in the game is as easy as taking one of the game's three day jobs and pressing the A button repeatedly. I would recommend having someone to talk to entertain yourself while doing this. If not, talk to yourself or listen to some music. If you can stand to spend an hour cutting wood or bartending, you can make a fortune. Then just invest in expensive shops and purchase houses to put up for rent. At this point, you can just turn the game off because your properties continue to make income while you aren't playing. Fable 2 is a prime example of a game that doesn't want to be played.
The graphics technology in the game are amazing. Everything looks very nice and has this sort of shine to it. Simply put, Fable 2 is a beautiful game. The animations are also very smooth when doing anything. And... I honestly can't think of anything else to say about the graphics and whatnot. So, moving on...
"Those are some nice shoes you have there." "Why thank you. Yours are.....pointy."
If you've ever seen an interview with creator Peter Molyneux, you would know how much he rambles on about Fable having infinite amounts of choices, however, in reality those choices are so small and meaningless, they make no difference. Marrying one whiny ditz is no different from marrying another, she'll just take all your money and force you to pop out some child that you'll abandon to go slaughter traveling merchants. I found the toughest choice was deciding which pair of trousers to wear while exploring the incredibly small and linear countryside.
So, will you choose to purchase Fable 2? Hopefully not, this game is pretty much an outdated look on RPGs. Linear and basic as hell. That's not to say you won't have a little bit of fun instituting capitol punishment. Rent it if you're bored.
If you thought this review was complete shit, then feel free to travel back in time and comment in myHAWX review. Maybe then I'll decide to abandon writing altogether and this review would have never existed.
Basically, criticisms are always welcome.
EDIT: Also, could someone please explain to me how to get that bloody link working? Thanks.
Nevermind, figured it out.