Product Type: Microsoft Xbox 360 games
Newest Review: ... game takes you down whatever path you prefer. An abundance of side missions slows down game play and gives the plot more meaning. One of m... more
Moon on a Stick
Fable II (Xbox 360)
Member Name: samueltyler
Fable II (Xbox 360)
Advantages: Initial joy, great world, full of ideas
Disadvantages: Too short, actually pretty limited, broken co-op
'Fable 2' is best described as a Western Role Playing Game (RPG). This means that it has traits of RPGs but is real time and allows you to attack an enemy on sight rather than being turn based (like some Japanese RPGs). To begin with you are able to choose a male or female character and you learn in the prologue the basics of movement and firing etc. After this you become an adult and the world opens up before you - and it is amazing to behold. At first.
For the initial 5 - 8 hours the gameplay seems immense. Depending on your actions you gain good points, or bad points. This affects your appearance and how people treat you. Add to this the ability to get fat, wear different outfits, get a tattoo, haircuts etc and no two players will be the same. For instance, I played as a noble good guy who was very handsome; my mate was an evil fatty!
To aid you on your missions is a dog that can find treasure for you and attack the enemy. As the game progresses you become increasingly attached to the critter. There are several towns which contain many side missions and games to play. To begin with it all seems too much and you dabble here and there from gambling to the main story thread. The problem I had with the gameplay was that it peaks instantly. The start of the game is the best bit, all the rest is just more of the same. With some decent controls and a fun fighting dynamic the game is good - just not brilliant. (3 out of 5)
Another area that Molyneux over egged was the story capabilities in 'Fable 2'. However, unlike most areas, he actually got close here! The main thread of the game is the same for everyone with only the ending differing depending on a final choice. However, the non-linear story you create yourself changes from person to person. Are you good or evil? How many wives/husbands will you have? Are you straight, gay or bisexual? The choices are open for you to truly role-play in the world of 'Fable 2'. It is the moments at the start of the game where you mess around making up your own 'story' that are the strongest. Lionhead would have been better off opening up these aspects more, as the central story starts well, but withers on the vine. (4 out of 5)
A traditional RPG can be easily 50 hours long without breaking a sweat. For me this is far too long. And thankfully 'Fable 2' is not this long. In fact, it's too short! The main aspects of the game that take up your time are those that you are doing for fun, free from the story e.g. working in a bar, decorating a house etc. These are fun for a while, but eventually you have had enough and you start out on the main quest - which is ridiculously short. Lionhead are dependent on people making their own fun for the game to last. If you pick this up and concentrate solely on the core game you could be done in 8 hours. This would defeat the purpose of the game, but is still not good enough for a RPG.
For lovers of Achievements 'Fable 2' could hold more value. As a 360 exclusive the Achievements are considered and very funny. They include generic story led goals, but also additional funny ones such as mimicking a Goth, or kicking too many chickens! (3 out of 5)
Perhaps the biggest crime that Molyneux committed when hyping 'Fable 2' is the constant praise of the co-op aspects. He said that the entire game could be played with a pal over LIVE and it could be, if the co-op mode was not rubbish. My friend and I play a lot of co-op, but we could not be bothered here. Firstly, you cannot take your unique character into another person's world. Secondly, you are forced as the second player to be attached to the first by an invisible elastic band and poor camera. It's unplayable in this mode.
The area that did work online was the ability to see other people around the world or from your friends list. They float around in globe form and if you stand next to them you can chat over LIVE or give each other gifts. This could be the future of gaming as it allowed me to chat about how to solve a puzzle with someone. It was a little scary seeing how many people around the world were playing the exact same thing as me at the exact same time. (2 out of 5)
Graphically I found 'Fable 2' a rich and interesting world. It has a very British style and gives of a Monty Python feel. The problems are not with the texture etc, but the glitches and jagged edges. Too many times you get stuck somewhere because of poor programming. I am able to overlook this in such an ambitious title, and recent updates are said to have improved things. There is no denying that 'Fable 2' is one of the better looking games out there at the moment. (4 out of 5)
I have to say that I was disappointed in both the world and level design of 'Fable 2'. Perhaps this is because I was expecting so much, but what I got just felt too limited. The world was not huge and when you go on a mission they all seemed very similar and linear. I felt that after 6 hours I realised that the feeling of freedom was a sham and that the game is actually pretty small. The way the world looks and feels is fantastic, I just wished there was more of it. (3 out of 5)
Zoe Wannamaker, Stephen Fry and countless other British actors are used in this game to great effect. Wannamaker is the narrator and mysterious woman that leads you and she is great. Possibly the best dialogue is saved for the random people in the game who shout praise or abuse at you as you pass. You over hear some great conversations in the game all in comedy English accents. This may grate on some people, but I felt it gave the game a lot of character.
A mention should also go out to the music, which was exceptional. The opening theme and the ambient tunes really give the game a magical feel. (5 out of 5)
Is 'Fable 2' a bad game? By no means. Is it a classic? Unfortunately, that is not the case either. What you are left with is a decent game let down by a couple of problems. Whilst it lasts the game is great, the first 6 hours in particular are magical as you open up a world and play in it as you wish. However, you soon realise that the world is not that big, and the story is too short. You feel cheated as the game does not change at all and that your best time was the initial moments and thing are all downhill. I would still make this game a must buy for all 360 owners just so that they can experience a totally unique world to the system - just don't believe the hype. (3 out of 5)
Maker: Lionhead RRP £50
Amazon uk £24.98
Summary: So near, yet so far.