Final Review of Fable II

Summary: Fable II was designed for gamers like me, who want a game that seems to be hardcore, while on the inside, it’s simply a fun game that you will complete no matter what.

I finished Fable a few nights ago. It took me a little while to gather my thoughts on it, because I was so overwhelmed with how quickly it went by. The ending just hits you like a brick wall. Anyways, I liked Fable a lot. I’m excited to start it over again from scratch soon, in order to pick a different ending. I definitely can see myself trying it over and over again, with different strategies each time (I’m going to be Evil next time). But here are some thoughts on different categories.

STORY: The story is fine. Reviews said it was very lame, but I enjoyed it. The voice acting is fantastic, and that really helps pull you in. It’s interesting to see the connections between this game and the last, like learning that your guide in this game happens to be a blind seer named Theresa. The story’s very straightforward, but there were definitely a few times I found myself a little shocked. There is a continual theme of loss throughout the game, and it all comes together at the end, when you’re forced to make your final decision. Again, like all the reviews said, the ending is terrible. (Minor spoiler: there is no final boss battle) It ends, you make a final decision (each of the choices gives you a different achievement). That’s a shame. Luckily, the story doesn’t completely end after the game does. There’s new quests that open up, and purchasing certain properties unlock new stories to investigate. As does getting married and having children. Just last night, I was earning some money, and my wife told me that my child had run away and gotten lost in a cave. Those bastard Hobbes had locked him in a cage and were planning on eating him. So that was kind of cool.

SOCIALIZING: I’m talking two different aspects of socializing. The first, the NPC, is cute. Very simple, though. Each person has likes/dislikes. You perform the expressions for them that they like, using a little timed button press, and they like you more. Eventually, everyone in town falls in love with you. Just like that. It’s simple, but it’s kinda fun to squawk like a chicken and make hand puppets for them. Gathering a crowd of 20 people and then dancing is actually really fun to watch.

The other part of socializing is the Xbox Live aspect. Throughout the world, other players appear as orbs. When you’re near them, you can hear them talking. On the one hand, there are a lot of people playing, so it gets kinda noisy. In fact, you can’t really hear the important quest-givers in-game unless you plug a headset in just to shut out the extraneous noise. That’s annoying. But on the other hand, it really gives the game an awesome MMO feel to it. I run into people all the time, asking “Hey, where can I find this store?”, and I happily help them out. It’s really nice to feel like there’s a community of players all helping each other out. I must have run into 50 people so far all offering to give away gold to anyone who needs it. That’s just awesome.

COMBAT: People complained that combat was too simple. And, well, it is, but it’s perfect for me. X is melee, Y is ranged, and B is magic. Each button can do different things depending on the skills you’ve learned, and how long you hold it, etc. I really like being able to switch up the weapons whenever I get bored with one. I’ll swing the sword around for a while, then switch it up to my pistol, then jump over to some fireballs. It’s quick and easy.

The change in the magic system from Fable I was an interesting choice. The lack of a mana bar is great, because you never have to worry about it. As you earn higher levels of spells, you can charge up the higher ones simply by holding the B button down for longer. Because spells don’t get interrupted when you get hit, you basically have a tradeoff between charging up a high level spell, and taking a few hits while you do it. It’s kinda cool.

And lastly, there’s no dying. Which is awesome. Some people complain that it makes the game pointless. I disagree. There’s nothing more frustrating than playing a game like Splinter Cell and continually reloading at the same checkpoint over and over again. I mean, sure, some people like that, because you have a huge sense of accomplishment when you finally beat it. But that’s not what Fable is about. Fable isn’t about bragging that you beat it. It’s about pointing out all the cool things you’ve done in it. I’m now a 5-star blacksmith, and I’m working my way to a 5-star bartender. I have a wife and a kid, I own about 8 shops and 3 houses, and I’m saving up to buy the huge castle in the middle of town. THAT’S what’s cool about Fable.

So, to sum it up, I had a lot of fun playing. I’m excited for a friend to get Fable, so I can try out co-op. I’d love some company on a second playthrough.