Saturday, 13 December 2014

Review No. 92 Fable 2 - Xbox 360 (16+)

Strong Points:
Great levelling system
Easy to play - learn controls quickly
OK graphics - especially for an open-world game from 2008
Learn about the world through loading screens - interesting and occasionally funny notes
Different music in different Places - flows well from area to area
Dungeons are different and exciting
Killable quest characters - an element missing from newer games
Abilities are useful - will is fun to mess around with in busy streets
Efficient travel - can fast travel from any location (indoors or out) to any place you have already been

Weak Points:
3rd person view only
Not much replay value - story becomes dull
Little character customization
Terrible multiplayer - shared camera, P2 has no options at all
Invisible walls - can swim 10m into the sea before hitting a wall
Limiting in places - can't swim underwater, can only follow one path, etc.
Loading screens are really long

Rating: 96%

In-depth Review:

Release Dates:
North America: 21 October 2008
Australia: 23 October 2008
Europe: 24 October 2008
Japan: 18 December 2008

Controls: Source:
Neutral D pad: Context-Sensitive shortcuts
Neutral L Stick: Movement
Neutral R Stick: Move camera.
R Button: View Hero
A Button: Interact / Sprint / Sheathe Weapon / Roll
B Button: Magic
X Button: Melee Attack
Y Button: Ranged Attack
LB Button   Hold: to display First Person
RB Button: Expressions Wheel
LT Button: Look-At / Target Lock
RT Button: Absorb Experience Orbs / Spell Selector

Start Button: Pause the game and display the pause menu

Fable II is a great game to pick up and play for an hour or so. Clearing camps is rewarding, and enemies respawn making traversing the environment exciting and dangerous. The enemies are usually human and you cannot loot armor/weapons from their corpses. Instead, you have to search the camp for a chest, which can get tedious. Items in chests will not respawn, so if you sell something you have to buy it back for twice the cash.

The game works with a player-driven style. You have three attacks - strength, skill and will. Strength is melee, skill is ranged weapons and will is magic. All three can be accessed on the controller - X (blue) is strength, Y (yellow/orange) is skill and B (red) is will. This means that combat can change easily and efficiently and your character is always an all-around fighter - but that doesn't mean you lose control. You can favor one category (I use will) but you will need them all to face all available enemies in the most effective way possible. You can be as good or evil, pure or corrupted as you like, but your actions will change your appearance and how people react to you (and your dog, it should be mentioned. My evil hero's dog is practically a zombie dog from all the people smacking him as we walk past).

Weapons are interesting. For long range there are Light and Heavy Crossbows, Rifles and Pistols which deal varying amounts of damage but reload faster or slower (faster with less power, slower with more. Rifles are slow/powerful, pistols are fast/weak, crossbows sit in the middle but light is slightly faster). For melee you have Longswords, Cutlasses, Katanas, Cleavers, Axes and Hammers. Weapons come in four classes: Rusty, Iron, Steel, and Master in growing strength (and value/price). Each weapon is suited to a play-style - I have a master katana for fast, slicing attacks and a light master crossbow to reload relatively fast but deal a decent amount of damage. You can also augment weapons - different augments have different effects. Legendary weapons normally have unique augments attached.


The storyline follows you - Sparrow is your name (but you can change from a range of titles by talking to town criers). You and your older sister begin as homeless urchins on the streets of Bowerstone Old Town. You are told by a mysterious blind stranger (Theresa) to buy a magical music box that will grant one wish. After doing several mini-quests (in which you begin to make your first choices between good and evil, as well as meeting a friendly dog whom you save) you buy it, and enter Lucien's castle (your sister's dream). You find out you are heroes, and Lucien shoots your sister! He aims the flintlock at you, and when I first played I spammed the controller trying to dodge (not knowing it was a cut-scene). Lucien fires, and your limp body smashes the stain glass window and falls to the street. When you land, Theresa approaches with your new dog by her side. "Death is not your destiny today, little sparrow." Your adventure has begun.


As you follow the storyline, despite involving magic and legend (and it being based in Albion - an imaginary province) it is gripping and believable. The decisions you and NPCs can make sense - they will not help you unless you are famous, etc.

The dog you get at the start (this isn't a massive spoiler don't worry - almost all clips you will ever see of Fable II will include it) is really useful for combat and treasure hunting. He can never die, but when his health is low he limps (which looks adorable) and you have unlimited dog elixir so you might as well heal him. When you knock an enemy down with a flourish he will attack them, killing them most of the time. When you are walking around he barks when he's found treasure. Not only that, but he tells you what it is via a glowing symbol above his head, and he will lead you to it. Favourite. NPC. Ever.

Overall, Fable II is a great game, the best in the Fable series, and I recommend it to anyone interested in getting into RPGs or Xbox in general. It's my favorite game of all time. Even if it doesn't age too well, it's a terrific game I keep coming back to time after time. I implore you - if you have an Xbox 360, you must give this game a buy.


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