The following anecdote, I believe should clearly demonstrate how the success of this is arguable. Attend.
I was a rather pleasant character. Female, bit chunky, fan of the sword and of shock will. I dressed a bit whorishly but I had a heart of gold. I converted a small area of a town from slums to up-and-coming single-handedly in my youth. I grew up in a gypsy encampment and, from an early age, grew fond of the tattooist a few caravans up. I flirted off and on with him and he gave me a 25% discount on my full body tattoo ? a memory of him I would carry always as I quested to right wrongs and protect the weak.
In one of these quests I was forced to make a tough decision: to maintain my pristine purity and goodness I would have to marry a man I did not love. I did it, knowing I could marry again, but feeling guilt for my sort-of philandering. I set the new husband up in my caravan, then went to look for forgiveness from my true love. He didn?t even mention it. It was no problem.
I went out and bought him the most expensive ring I could find and a selection of his favourite items. I asked him to follow me to his favourite place, proposed and gave him a stick of celery and an amethyst (a rock traditionally associated with spiritualism as he was a spiritual man). He said he had never been happier. We set off to buy a house together and seal the deal when, as the sun was setting, we were attacked by bandits. I fought bravely with the help of my dog but was overrun. He was killed.
I gave up my purity, viciously angry at the world that had caused such senseless pain to be given to someone like I ? who had tried hard and, yes, made mistakes but felt guilt and repented, been forgiven and so strove to make a better world.
Yes, I then slaughtered, pillaged and ran enraged through towns and countryside, murdering remorselessly. My body turned blue, my eyes turned to deep red and glowed maliciously when others weren?t looking, I wore my scars with pride and collected new and more threatening names and expressions.
Then, weirdly, my tattoo artist was alive again. Perhaps, in my shock, I had forgotten to save my game. Despite his kind and caring, spiritual, good humoured nature contrasting sharply with the rather butch demon towering over him, he fell in love with me utterly after just a couple of dances. These also convinced the gypsy camp that despite the fact that I had murdered 25 watchmen in cold blood (and several passers-by) I was probably all right to hang about with.
After a night I?d been forgiven in a town where the watchmen, like Bond-villain henchmen, obviously left wives widowed or children orphaned. How can love be meaningful in any way when actions are not accounted for and people merely walking past will offer gifts or want to get married because they overhear a pick-up line or see a heroic pose? Shallow as it may sound, there are so few character types I probably fell for the tattooist because he had something original going for him - and I?ve heard several people complain that the only hot women are prostitutes.
This review probably sounds harsher than I mean it to. I don?t wish to court controversy by blurting out something silly about Molyneux?s granddaughter in my excitement. I got involved, I spent several hours jogging about, dog in tow. I laughed the first time I saw his tricks, I swam in rivers, I enjoyed killing and the combat system (though I found I had delays when I first started, I quickly got used to them). I didn?t want to go on to the next level of the main quest before I?d spent longer on the main game. All of this must count for a lot.
The game is definitely the choice for younger gamers to play guilt-free - what with those parental controls and all. Seeing online friends around the market square was exciting, as was doing co-op missions with their stand-in characters and receiving gifts from them, though the actual money made me feel a little sleazy.
If you enjoyed the first one, it?s a must. Lionhead has maintained a familiarity and comforting similarity with improved graphics, wider worlds and better combat systems. If you weren?t keen on the first, you?ll probably like this one much more, so still worth a purchase. For me though it lacked the grit and grime, technical brilliance and beauty of its two other F-sequel bedmates, so I know where I?d rather splash my cash ? elsewhere.[/i]
SPOnG Score: 80%[/b]