Fable II – Review

The treacherous 4 year wait is finally over. Fans of Lion Head Studios’ Fable are rejoicing as the release of the much awaited Fable 2 is upon us, and what a long wait it has been. The most important question people are asking now, “Was it worth the wait?”

Frankly, the question has different answers for different gamers. Fable 2 is quite an anomaly in gaming. On the one hand, the game has to be one of the most addictive single player experiences to have blessed next generation consoles. RPG fans will unite to hail it as an achievement in gaming. On the other hand, it is probably the most under-polished AAA title to ever see the light of day. Beneath the hype and praise, many gamers will find a game that belongs in the company of bargain bin titles.

Fable 2 gives gamers a somewhat recycled world from the original game with a completely overhauled in-game engine, where the choices we make ultimately determine our path towards good or evil. Unfortunately, from everything promised by gaming legend Peter Molyneux, the game is somewhat unsatisfying. Consequences remain short term as players can go from good to evil or vice-versa within an hour! Aren’t the consequences meant to affect the world we play in Peter?

Gameplay is another sore spot when playing Fable 2. The controls are unrefined and gamers will face reoccurring moments of frustration just as I did while controlling my “little sparrow”. Furthermore, non-playable characters (NPC) are activated automatically when your character approaches them. However, the amount of time it takes for the NPC to pick up your characters presence can sometimes leave you frustrated as you repeatedly await the character to burst into conversation. On most occasions, while walking away due to frustration of not being able to activate the NPC, is when the conversations would begin. Makes one to wonder how this game was ever approved for retail.

One of the many promises that were made by Lion Head included one of simplest, yet deepest fighting mechanics in an RPG to date. While playing Fable 2, simple was delivered as promised. Deep fighting mechanics, on the hand, were nonexistent. While fighting with my character, I only ever witnessed 3 different combinations of attacks. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to pinpoint how these attacks came to be. From what we were told, timing made a difference as to what type of combo would be seen, yet timing hardly played a factor in linking chains of moves. Apparently, gamers are provided with visual cues to facilitate combo’s yet throughout my 20 hour experience, not once was I able to identify what these cues were. At points I thought the color of my sword mattered when battling, only to watch the same combo attack over and over and over again!

Luckily for us, even with its obvious flaws, Fable 2 comes together as an addictive audio/visual (just barely) masterpiece. The game has a soundtrack that truly brings gamers into the world of Albion. The game worlds are visually stunning, but not something we haven’t already seen done better in past games such as Oblivion.

Even with its faulty gameplay system, Fable 2 ends up being an addictive experience as you always find yourself wanting to do more and more in the world. Quests are enjoyable to do and can also be enjoyed with a friend over Xbox Live which adds to the replay value of the game. With a promise of more quests to come in the form of downloads, Fable 2 looks to hold gamers for many days to come.

All in all, Fable 2 may be heralded for its achievements in keeping gamers occupied for hours on end, but this gamer feels slightly underwhelmed by the whole package. If you’re a diehard fan of the Fable franchise or a casual gamer, pick up Fable 2. If not, save yourself the misery.

For the Casual Gamer,deculture says “PICK IT UP”

For the Hardcore Gamer, deculture says “WE WARNED YOU”

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