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Fable 2 Review
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Old 27 Oct 2008, 01:39   #1 (permalink)
Ethereal
 
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Default Fable 2 Review

If you've only an Xbox and are a fan of RPG's, then your bound to have heard of Fable on the original Xbox. I myself was hooked on that little gem of a classic and so when I heard Fable 2 was coming out on the 360 several months to a year ago (can't remember the exact date :P), I was undoubtedly excite.

So when I got my hands on the game yesterday (the day it came here in the UK) at 4pm, I was pleased with my purchase. Further more, I had bought the limited edition version (because it was only slightly more expensive then the normal one), more on that later.

I was mildly pee'd off when I had to wait a full hour to get home (public transport being what it is, and having a half hourly service and missing the first one available bus by around 5 seconds). But when I got the game in the drive drawer, I was overjoyed at being able to embark on my career as an evil overlord (evil is always more fun and easier to play IMHO ;D, saving the "harder" good career for a later play though).

The first nice surprise was the fact you could choose a gender, of which I decided to be female for a laugh and a change from glaring at a male hero all the time from Fable 1. When it came to playing it, I was expecting far more combat at the start, and I was glad to see you started your game fairly early on with your furry friend (which was the first quest to involve the new 1-button combat system).

The Dog
The dog was a particular welcome feature to start off with, but quickly became gimicky and I found he was of little use in combat (I wasn't expecting much from a dog to start off with, but would of expected him to "level up" with you).

As I became progressively more evil, I also failed to notice any real changes to the dog in terms of appearance, but as of yet, I don't see any horns, any nasty spikes or ridges, or anything approaching the "devilness" that my character is displaying clearly.

Another facet of the dog's existence is that is lacking is it's behaviourial AI as far as learning goes. Now I know this is a RPG game, but I would of liked some ability to "teach" the dog tricks, maybe praising him when he does something I like, and punishing him when he does something bad. Instead, all the dogs tricks (like standing on two legs like a human) are learned from books and then triggered by doing certainly expressions. I would of liked some more variety in the dog's tricks book so that he doesn't always the same trick when I point and laugh at a vilager I've just hit with my toy sword (yes, I have two weapons, my main weapon for killing baddies and a toy one so I don't instantly kill vilagers with a single blow).

Supposedly, in game, dog replaces the mini map, although what mini map highlights every piece of treasure, buried or otherwise? What I do like is that dog does tell you where to dig for buried treasure on the odd chance it turns out to be valuable, but sometimes it can be jarring to the experience.

For example, in one particular instance, the dog homed in on a piece of buried treasured at the other side of the area! I mean it's one thing to find an interesting scent nearby, but down the road, up the next street and down the next two streets is a bit much (especially when the dog keeps barking at you to follow and then rushing off, off screen leaving you to follow in the direction you last saw him go).

Menu System/Soft Crashes
The biggest fault of the game in my opinion is the menu system is extremely slow and you can experience jarring lag times, especially when your system has retrieve data from the DVD.

The menu system is particularly annoying, especially when buying large amounts of items from shops. That confirmation dialog saying you've bought an apple can be especially annoying when you've yet to buy another 50 other items.

I feel that part of the fault for the high lag is the overly compressed nature of the content on the disc. I saw (or heard rather) in an interview that they had developed technology to compress the game data and could achieve up to 99% compression rates. This is a their biggest downfall in my opinion and leads to many of the hang ups and soft-crashes* I've and my brother have experienced. Not only is the time it takes to decompress the data an added expense on the part of the player, but also any flaws on the medium being read from can cause headaches later (softcrashes, extended lag times etc). Now I'm not saying that I don't take care of my discs, but scratches do happen even to the best of us, especially on an Xbox with around three players who all favour our own games.

Content/Game Length
I haven't completed the story yet, but from the research I've done, most people have been able to complete the story in around 9-10 hours, although like most games to unlock every last achievement takes much longer. In the way of additional side tasks, there are gargoyles you've got a destroy, plenty of jobs you can do to earn money to buy weapons etc. In way of these jobs, you can forge weapons (for someone else to sell ), tend to a bar, chop wood (that is last one particularly thrilling :shifty. That is until you start to buy houses and shops and start getting regular cash coming in from rents. In fact once you've got a steady stream of rent paying into your pocket, you can usually ignore the jobs unless you've got a particularly high value purchase in mind (which I'm told, but not found the purchase sign yet, you can own a castle worth 2.5 million in gold). And that you don't have to kill previous occupant of the house your going to buy either (unlike in Fable 1)!

I also like the fact that you play an active part in the economy in game. If you always trade in Browerstone, then all the houses in Bowerstone will be more expensive to buy as they have a thriving house market, likewise that shanty town you never visit will be cheap as chips to buy up after a while!

A welcome change was the ability to dye your clothing rather then being stuck with provided colour schemes. However, I feel the clothing system isn't as robust and far more restrictive then that in Fable 1. For example, in Fable 1, you could mix a villagers shirt with the pants from a bandit and wear a full face helmet. In Fable 2, you are seem to be tied to using stuff from the same outfit if you want to wander around full clothed.

There doesn't seem to be any armour (that I've found that is), and I like the fact that you can make your character look the way you want to look without leaving you open to being killed by enemies because you've got no armour one. In Fable 1, this was a particular problem, since combaty types generally had to wear as much armour as they could to survive.

On the note of the additional content I got by buying the limited edition version, I feel that it wasn't worth the money I paid for yet, at least not yet. My research leads me to believe there is an extra dungeon and an outfit based around Halo (which I've taken a rather ill view of recently) as well as the ability to purchase the "Master Chief" title which the villagers will use to refer to you. Now I haven't found the extra dungeon yet, but my verdict is that it wasn't worth the extra cash, at least not yet.

Morality
Like Fable 1, morality plays an important part in your appearance and NPC reactions to you. If your evil, then you'll grow horns, get a bad case of dry skin and be booed and shunned by the public. Be a goodie-too-shoes and you'll get a perfect complexion, a halo and villagers wanting your attention like your their intimate lover.

I've yet to have enough experience of the game to really make a call on the effects of morality during the game barring the obvious that common villagers generally either hate me (the good villagers), or hate me (the bad ones).

Magic
Character development in general has come a fair way since Fable 1. No longer are you tied to returning to the Guild of Heroes to spend those hard earned experience points and you can merely pop up the menu and select a few options and your done. Many of the old options are still there, although a few of the spells aren't there (none that you'll miss though).

Overall, I love the new magic system and compliments the combat system. It's one button and is context sensitive depending what your doing with the left stick at the time. Hit the magic button when your standing still and your magic affects the immediate area. Hit it again when pointing the left stick at an enemy and you throw your magic at that enemy. You can also utilise the higher level magic spells by holding the Y (leaving you open to attacks of course) but when you can clear an area full of baddies with just one high power, high level fire spell, it's worth the little damage you take from enemies.

Story
The story behind it is enjoyable, but there are certain points that are a little confusing. Particularly when you have to leave on a beat to the spire. I was a little concerned at the time as it looked to be the end of the game (or approaching it) as the dialog with Theresa basically said get all the other quests finished before attempting the Spire quest and particularly because it was glossed over why you were really going to the spire.

Since I haven't completed the story yet, I won't be able to comment much more on the story (as I don't want to read ahead through walkthroughs etc or else it spoil it for me).

My Recommendation
If your a die hard Fable 1 fan, then you'll love Fable 2 as it keeps all the charm of the first and keeps the same formula whilst making improvements where it counts. If you were going for an action RPG with an emphasis on action, then this is certainly more enjoyable and has more depth to the combat then the other great 360 RPG, Oblivion.

So my overall rating wound have to be an 7.5-8 out of 10, with the biggest points deducted because of softcrashes and laggyness of dialogs.

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed it!

[size=7px]Oh and before anyone asks, a soft-crash, as opposed to a hard-crash, is where your console/computer still allows you to do other stuff, like close the crashed program etc, whereas a hard crash basically stops you doing anything barring hitting the power button![/size]
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Old 27 Oct 2008, 10:06   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fable 2 Review

Thanks for that FT, have you played the co-op yet? I will definitely be getting this game
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Old 27 Oct 2008, 11:59   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fable 2 Review

Damn it FT - you beat me to writing my own :'(
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Old 27 Oct 2008, 12:27   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fable 2 Review

I want a new rule that states no one can talk about xbox games until I get mine back.

Yes, its petulant, yes its pouty, but goddam it you are making me so jealous! :'(

Nice review though, I am tempted to give this a go once I:
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Old 27 Oct 2008, 19:19   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fable 2 Review

I haven't played Fable II yet and am almost fanboyish about Fable I.

I was always keen on the right trigger opening the whole magic menu and having to hold right trigger + whatever button to do X magic. From what I'm hearing, I'm not keen on it (so far.)

Does the gender mean anything in Fable II or is it just "Ha, now you're Hero with boobs!" ?

Can you kill the dog?
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Old 28 Oct 2008, 00:27   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fable 2 Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vendak
Thanks for that FT, have you played the co-op yet? I will definitely be getting this game
First four hours of it was co-op with my bro (he said he didn't want to be bored watching TV downstairs). Overall, the co-op I like, although I would of liked to be able to play as your own hero (or use your own in somebody else's world).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Suicidal Mordechai Tak Ferret Ukos
I was always keen on the right trigger opening the whole magic menu and having to hold right trigger + whatever button to do X magic. From what I'm hearing, I'm not keen on it (so far.)
Magic is handled pretty differently in Fable 2. Magic is all done on one button, and depending upon what you do with that button in relation to how you control the left stick is all important. For example, you can just hit B whilst pointing your stick at an enemy to throw a fireball, shoot lightning etc. Or you can hit B on it's own without moving the stick and you'll do an area attack around yourself.

Alternatively, you can hold B and a gauge will fill up on the side of the screen and this will increase the potency of the spell the longer you hold it. You can even configure it to change spells automatically as you hold B. For example, you can set it to use the fire spell with just a tap. Hold it down for a second, and your character can use another spell, a two second hold may do a third type of spell etc.

It is also possible to change spells on the fly, but requires the use of the right trigger, the D-Pad and then hitting B when you find the right spell (but that leaves you open to attack).

Actually, there is one particular tactic I like using is to get a co-op player in to act as a distraction for the enemies, whilst I charge up my level 5 fire spell (which practically obliterates anything in a very wide radius).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Suicidal Mordechai Tak Ferret Ukos
Does the gender mean anything in Fable II or is it just "Ha, now you're Hero with boobs!" ?
It changes the dialog obviously, but there isn't much change, you can still have sex with female NPC's. Even having a baby isn't really a burden since when you have unprotected sex with your husband/wife (yes, you can find/buy condoms to use in game!), there is a cut scene of you/wife having a baby and from that point on you have a kid to look after.

Interestingly enough, having a baby seems to be the best way to keep a wife/husband lol.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Suicidal Mordechai Tak Ferret Ukos
Can you kill the dog?
As far as I'm aware, you can't. The next best thing is that you can get into a fight and have bandits etc seriously hurt your dog, and he'll still follow you around with a serious limp and very slowly. He'll also stop looking for treasure, effectively taking him out of the game.
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Old 28 Oct 2008, 08:42   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fable 2 Review

Quote:
Interestingly enough, having a baby seems to be the best way to keep a wife/husband lol.
Realistic, then :P

Odd, if you can have girl on girl sex, why hasn't someone in America bitched and tried to ban it yet?

I might have to pick this up now - the reviews from you guys have made it sound fun

Just realised how weird saying I might have to get this after commenting on lesbanism is :
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[quote]Thou shalt not crave thy neighbour

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim.
Rafe is damn sexy once he gets into his night attire.
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Old 28 Oct 2008, 09:25   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fable 2 Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by Saffron
Quote:
Interestingly enough, having a baby seems to be the best way to keep a wife/husband lol.
Realistic, then :P

Odd, if you can have girl on girl sex, why hasn't someone in America bitched and tried to ban it yet?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aA1BForlCnQ

It's only a matter of time :P
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Old 28 Oct 2008, 09:32   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fable 2 Review




I should stop being amazed at what people can do :

Although, for a youtub, the graphics were quite good - I though it looked a lot worse than that when I watched a trailer, but that looked a lot better than I had been led to believe.

Damn, I need my box back
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[quote]Thou shalt not crave thy neighbour

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim.
Rafe is damn sexy once he gets into his night attire.
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Old 28 Oct 2008, 10:58   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fable 2 Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vendak
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aA1BForlCnQ

It's only a matter of time :P
Actually my first foray into getting laid on Fable 2 was an eight person orgy that happened by accident... I was trying to get this guy to sleep with my girl character and after a while I had quite a gathering. So I invited the original person back for a bit of hankipanky and seven of the town villagers followed me back...
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