Studies in Pop Culture

Pop culture, from my point of view.

Fable 2 (Xbox 360)

with 2 comments

So I, like many other people, I’m sure, got an Xbox 360 for Christmas this year. I’ve been a PlayStation man for years now, since the original came out what seems like eons ago. So this was a bit of new experience for me. The PS and PS2 served me well, but when it was time to upgrade, I decided I wanted to try the Xbox. It seemed to just have better versions of the cross-platform games (like Fallout 3) and exclusive titles that suited my tastes a lot better. Like Fable 2.

Fable II

Fable II

Now, I did play the original Fable first, but I’ll save most of my thoughts on that game for a retro review sometime down the road. I downloaded it off Xbox Live Originals, and, suffice it to say, I loved it enough to buy the sequel. I know a lot of people were turned off to these games because they didn’t live up to the hype of their developer, Peter Molyneux. But I guess since I was a little late coming to the party, I never boarded the hype wagon to begin with, so I had no illusions going into the game.

Story

In fantasy role-playing games (or RPGs), there aren’t too many original stories. There seems to always be the unlikely hereo (you, player 1) who has to overcome some seemingly insurmountable odds. Usually, it’s either that you are recruited to save the land of the (insert picked-on race here, usually elves) because some big bad is threatening to steal some magic item that will give him super powers so he can take over the world, or someone kills your family (or family member) so that he can steal some magic item that will give him super powers so he can take over the world. Fable 2 falls into this second category, though I won’t spoil it much more than that. So it’s up to you to stop the big bad, and you can do it walking the path of goodness, evil, or something in between.

Gameplay

The gameplay in Fable 2 is pretty tight. The controls are responsive and pretty intuitive, though a bit different than the first game. So if you’re like me and jumping from one to the next, it’ll take some getting used to the new control scheme. But pulling off counters and flourishes in melee is pretty easy and very rewarding to see. Nothing beats decapitating a bandit or ducking behind him to run him through with your sword. Ranged attacks are also awesome, due mainly in part to a strong auto-targeting system. The ability to eventually zoom in and target specific body parts is also great fun. I loved shooting weapons out of the hands of my enemies. A nice crotch shot is always good for a laugh too. Magic attacks suffer though. I liked the magic attacks in the first game much better than this “charged” version here. So I pretty much played the whole game without using much magic at all.

Leveling up is pretty straight-forward as well, and you can always sell back abilities that you don’t want or use anymore. By the end of the game, you can become pretty strong and with the right weapons and augments to those weapons, become damn near invincible.

Travel is a bit convoluted, as the in-game maps are hard to read, and you basically have to fast-travel between towns and locations. I would have preferred if you could just roam the open countryside.

This time around, you have a dog to accompany you. This is a great addition to the game. And while it may sound annoying, it’s extremely helpful and you become quite attached to the dog. The dog can find treasure for you, warn of enemies hiding nearby, and even help you in fighting them.

Graphics & Sound

Fable 2 is an amazing looking game. Not as good as something like Oblivion, but pretty close. Seeing the sunsets, or the light reflected in the water, the trees, the plants, the buildings and architecture, it’s all beautifully done. Again, unfortunately the gameworld isn’t as big as Oblivion or Fallout 3, but you’ll never get tired of looking at the scenery. The sound is also good, with a nicely fitting musical score, the chatter of townspeople, and the growling of enemies and monsters. A lot of the townspeople sound alike, but the game acknowledges this in its own tongue -in-cheek way.

Balance

Honestly, the game is far too easy. It’s too easy to make tons of money, which in turn makes it too easy for you to buy amazing weapons very early in the game. The sword I bought maybe 30 minutes into playing is the same one I finished the game with, with one augment (augments are jewels that can be attached to weapons to give an extra bonus or ability). That being said, it doesn’t take away from the game all that much. Some of the fights are still a bit challenging, and everyone always imagines being strong enough to take on 8 bad guys at once and kick all their asses. So what’s wrong with being able to do that here? Nothing.

Replayability

The big selling point of the Fable games is that you can play them in any way you see fit. Want to be the good guy who saves the town and is celebrated as a hero? Go for it. Want to be the bad guy, raising everyone’s rent, sleeping with prostitutes and killing anyone who looks at you funny? You can do that too (almost). There are a few instances where you must complete the objectives in order to move the story ahead, which takes away a bit from the claim that you can do whatever you want in the game world. Again, it’s not Oblivion or Fallout. But it comes close.

Overall

Fable 2 is a great game, and I recommend it to anyone who likes video games. It has enough roleplaying elements to please RPG fans, and enough action to please action/adventure fans. Without giving too much away, the ending is quite anti-climactic, but it doesn’t take anthing away from the game experience itself, and in a way, is quite fitting from a storyline perspective. Plus, there’s always the Knothole Island dowloadable content to play as well. And you can keep playing the game once it’s over, especially since there are some quests that can only be played once the game is over.

Final Score: 9/10

Fable II

Advertisements

Written by Jason Stroming

March 28, 2009 at 1:50 pm

2 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. This blog’s great!! Thanks :).

    matt

    March 28, 2009 at 10:43 am

  2. […] with the original Fable and Marvel: Ultimate Alliance. Once I beat those two games, I moved on to Fable 2, and I’m now playing Fallout 3, quite possibly one of the greatest video games I’ve […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: