Reviews// Fable II

Posted 6 Nov 2008 19:33 by
Want a new life? One free from modern troubles and temperamental consoles? Look no further. People worry. They get concerned over the stock markets, presidential and regular elections (or lack of them); pain and war, the unruliness of children and the falling standards in every area of life. Now we are summoned to dress as sheep in wolves? clothing and bring monsters to life. The computer games industry is encouraging us to put our inner selves - or one aspect of a freer self - back into a fictional form. In short: welcome to the rebirth of RPGs.

Peter Molyneux's Microsoft-owned Lionhead Studios' Fable II is something fans have been desperate for since, well, the launch of Fable back in 2004. That was generally agreed to be good, but slightly undercooked.

(As a note of context for the Fable 2 related hubbub ? three contenders for Game of the Year (GOTY to you) were released within two recent weeks, they all happen to all be sequels starting with the letter F. Co-incidence? The other Fs? The FPS Far Cry 2 went undeservedly unheralded in the furore surrounding Molyneux?s latest release, then came Fallout 3 the week after.)

Back on topic: I have had the sickening sensation of pleasure spiralling into misfortune all too often with Fable, specifically the Lost Chapters. I watched it completed not once, not twice, not thrice but a full four times and have always promised myself that one day I would be able to play Fable all by myself. I would make all the decisions, decide my destiny, roam Albion with a worldly eye and steely gaze. I never bothered. On the 21st I stuck it in the 360 to whet my appetite, but lasted a mere two hours. I had seen too much too recently.

I don't sound to positive so far... but stick with it, that was then, this is now.

Veteran Lionhead staffer, Jonathan Shaw has (in the first trailer) already pointed out that the studio was under more than a little bit of pressure to deliver. Not just under pressure to create a role-playing game true to the first, and retaining the same feeling cherished by fans, but also to right the wrongs of its precursor by delivering what Molyneux had promised originally.

Then it became clear that there was no way all that could be achieved. Even as it is now, Fable makes my 360 sound like a washing machine. If the sins-of-the-father-style reparations to failed promises were not enough, Fable II had to have something new, something not even hinted at in the early years of the twenty-first century. It does: a dog. And STDs. What joy.

In all fairness, it is a great improvement on Fable. The world is a lot larger (though it was Super Mario Bros-tiny before). This is particularly true of Bowerstone where a whole host of shops and market stalls are peddling wares for purchase: jewellery, furniture and haircuts, bottomless dyes for colouring clothes and hair and fruit, vegetables, fish and pies, all of which contribute to your character?s growth in some way.
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ajmetz 9 Nov 2008 22:25
1/1's a f**ked up dating game, that's nice enough, pleasing to fans, but beaten by the market competition?
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