Read a Game?: Fable 2

January 14, 2009


Gamerscore at end of first playthrough: 605/1000

 

Following up on PETA insulting Fable 2 with stupid praise is a good enough reason to launch my occasional game review ramblings. And, man, that electronic representation of chicken-fried mutton was good.

 

Fable 2 is the sequel to the X-Box game, Fable (no duh moment over). Like any sequel, this game is built upon work of the previous game. So, let us start with good and bad changes to the original formula:

 

Good:

No more stupid hairstyle and tattoo cards to carry around and not be able to apply!

More detailed information on foodstuffs (for example, eating meat in both games can make you fat; Fable 2’s meat at least tell you by how much…)

Added layers to combat: counterattacks, Will abilities can be charged, Will abilities can be focused or made into an area effect

Easier aiming and sub-targeting for ranged weapons!

Now easier to buy property (do not have to kill the owner to buy the house) and rent is automatically deposited into your coffer.

Stereotypical arena segment can be done more than once!

 

Bad:

The buttons for physical attack and Will powers were switched. The change is not that hard to adjust to, but the red=strength dynamic makes more sense than blue=strength.

No real armor for clothing.

Able to collect rent even when you are not playing.

Outside of real estate, gold relatively hard to come by, forcing you to play the real estate market if you want a full coffer.

Weapon variety lacking (1 less level of weapons)

Augments harder to handle (max augments 2, master level weapons not necessarily available with augments)

Merchant wheeling and dealing less involved, and you no longer get skill experience bartering

 

Meh:

Combat bonus experience based on fuzzier concepts than the combat multiplier

Scars instead of game over screen when you die without a resurrection phial

 

All that being said, the experience of Fable 2 is just as enjoyable (and a bit more engaging) as the original. It is 500 years from the ending of the previous game and you are an orphan. You buy a music box, blah blah blah, up to you to save the world. This time you have a doggie companion to tell you where to dig, find hidden treasure chests, point out silver keys, attack enemies (provided they are on the ground), and generally give you someone to hang around with. The combat is a little more involved, with flourishes easier to pull off and new abilities like countering and head shots. The plot has similar set pieces (arena scene, prison scene, haunted swamp scene, balverine scene featuring infected tag-along, et cetera), but they are done just as well as in the original. It is not the most fun I have had this game cycle (that goes to Mass Effect), but it is a good game.

 

A similar, though more muted, game bloom infects the new graphics. Pop-up is a noticeable issue (though you have one larger area instead of 5 or 6 subareas, each with a separate loading, so it is a tradeoff). The same general barely noticeable background music permeates the air. Voice acting is of the same general quality (though Stephen Fry of Black Adder fame does a more memorable job than some of the major characters in the previous game like, say, Whisper.), which is to say, slightly annoying and very
British.

 

Interface-wise, the menu system is more-or-less functional (my copy of the game had a glitch where it never got rid of the “hey, you got new stuff!” icon on the clothing menu.). There is some non-responsiveness with the A button; it is essentially impossible to buy a couple of Westcliff caravans and vaulting (jumping off/over things) can be problematic.

 

This game has a lot of replay value. For one, after the credits roll, the game moves into a sandbox mode with some side quests and jobs pop-up. One can play with a character almost indefinitely. The game world changes so radically based on whether you play good or evil that it is worth at least one more complete playthrough.

 

As far as morality goes, the game is all about choice. One can be on the side of the “angels” or one can live a life of sin while saving the world. The only thing that cannot be avoided is violence; you have to kill bandits and soldiers not matter what you do. Headshots result in decapitation, but it takes a long time before you can do them and you do not have to aim for the whites of their eyes. You can run around in your skivvies, making vulgar gestures (worth 5 gamerpoints!). You can fornicate or get married or get married a lot; the game does not particularly care. You can sacrifice people as part of a shadow-worshipping cult (or sacrifice money as part of a light-worshipping cult). You do not have to do any of those things, but you can. At least in the expanded version of the original, if you made the ultimate evil choice, there was a punishment for it; having not played through as an evil character, I cannot say for sure whether that is in there this time. If I find out one way or another, I’ll update this review.

 

Overall:

Gameplay: 4/5

Presentation 3/5

Interface: 3/5

Replay: 5/5

Morality 3.25/5

 

Average: 3.65/5

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2 Responses to “Read a Game?: Fable 2”

  1. DeeMer Says:

    I like this place. Followed the link through a comment at BigHollywood.

    I thought the game was decent enough, though a save-corrupting bug right before the very last part of the game had really soured my opinion on it for a while.

    Personally, I’d dock a point off of the interface. The collapsing linear lists of the menu work well enough for small quantities, but when you have nearly 40 documents or 25 different dyes, it makes selecting individual items a chore. They had a well-functioning radial menu for expressions, why not have something similar for at least wearing and dying your clothing? Instead its: Item > Dye > Clothing.

    I’d also lower morality a bit, as there isn’t a really good enough reward for completely good behavior (at least that I can recall). But you do have a very exacting system behind that score.

    That’s my few cents. I figured you could use a few comments in this place!

  2. liberexmachina Says:

    Thank you for the comment.

    I figured the 3/5 on the interface was appropriate. To each his own, I guess.

    I guess I need to show my math for the morality section.
    Violence -.5
    Optional Gore -.25
    Optional Nakedness -.25
    Optional Sex -.25
    Optional Evil -.5
    No Bonus for pursuit of good. I might add some if the punishment for evil is sufficient. I did not add points for any encouragement for goodness; if anything, sandbox games reward evil (not exactly a lot of replayability when you play the good guy).


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