Review: Fable 2

Fable 3 has just been released on the Xbox 360 yesterday in America and is due out Friday in Europe. But what about its predisessor, Fable 2. It was released back in 2008 and set 500 years after the original hit for the first Xbox. So how did the sequel fair before the third part of the series was released?

Story

Fable 2 is set 500 years after Fable in the fictional land of Albion. You start the game as an orphaned child living on the streets with your sister, Rose. As a child you hear a commotion going on down the street so you go to investigate. Mystical Murgo has rolled into town showing off his “magical” wares. Watching him show off a couple of his items for sale, anyone with a bit of common sense will realise he is just a travelling con-man. But it’s the last item that strikes the attention of you and Rose, a magical music box. Murgo claims that it can grant people their wishes when used. But he will only give it to someone who can give him 5 gold pieces. Not much for an adult, but you and your sister are young and can’t afford to eat. This is when you are introduced to the concept of questing. You go around the local area looking for people to do things for in exchange for money. Amongst these are a “Romeo and Juliet” like couple and a Guard who has lost his warrants for arrest. You are given a couple of good and bad choices in these tasks, and what you do will affect the area when you return later in the game. Meaning unless you do things exactly the same as a previous play through, the world will be different between plays. Having earned the 5 gold necessary, you go back to buy the music box and go to use it. Your sister wishes to live in a Castle like Lord Lucian’s, the owner of Fairfax Castle. The music box disappears so you both go to sleep, your sister in a mood because for the 5 gold the music box cost she could have gotten food for them for the week.

You are woken by the Guards and escorted to Castle Fairfax. Lucian has noticed them and wishes to do an experiment. He knows of the existence of Heroes and believes that one of you, if not both, have Hero blood. His experiment proves that he is indeed correct. Bad luck for you and Rose. This is where you find out about him being bad, and in true villain fashion, brandishes a gun. He shoots Rose, and then turns the gun on you. He can’t be too sure which of you have Hero Blood, just that one of you do, so you are shot out of the window behind you.

Upon hitting the ground you are found by a blind Seeress called Theresa, voice acted by Zoë Wanamaker. She takes you back to the gypsy camp, because she knows you are indeed a Hero, and that you’ve survived the multi-story drop from the window. She takes care of you other the course of the next 10 years. At this point you are fit enough to become the Hero you were born to be, so you go off for your goal of revenge for the loss of Rose. You meet multiple characters on this journey, including a character called Reaver, voiced by Stephen Fry. It is a truly satisfying story Lionhead delivered to gamers in Fable 2. Twists and turns are never far away, meaning you won’t know exactly whats next.

Gameplay

Fable 2 is an RPG game, meaning it focuses on story and the leveling up of your character. Whilst exploring the world of Albion you will have 3 ways to attack your enemies. Melee weapons such as the sword or hammer, ranged weapons such as Guns and Crossbows and magic such as fireballs and lightning. Whilst the melee and ranged weapons you can buy improved versions of and improve with augments, Magic is leveled up a maximum of 5 times using experience.

There are 4 types of experience. General, Strength, Skill and Will. General is an all around type of experience, feeding into anything you want, and is gained anyway you can get experience. Strength is gained via melee attacks and upgrades things like strength and your health bar. Skill is gained via ranged attacks and upgrades accuracy and agility traits. Will is the experience you’ll be using to learn and upgrade the 8 different spells you can learn in Fable 2. Will experience is gained via spells but along with the other experience you can gain experience through potions also.

Whilst there are three types of attack to use there isn’t much variation in the animations. Aswell as this, fighting doesn’t require much more strategy than this creature is weaker to this type of move, and fights tend to become nothing more than button mashing until the enemy is dead. The only fights requiring a decent amount of thought are boss fights.

Quests tend to be simple enough to complete, simple tasks like taking out certain enemies or gaining certain items for people, giving you trophies to show off to the towns folk, aswell as Gold and Renown, something you will need for other quests.

The most annoying a frequently occurring part of the game is the loading screens. They pop up between areas of the large world of Albion, which happens an awful lot because unlike games like Fallout and Oblivion that stream the large world as you venture through it, there are specific areas with a loading screen between them. Particularly annoying when a quest requires to make you run through 3 areas to get to somewhere you haven’t been before. The loading screens take a while to do, unless your going back to the last area you were in, so the only consolation possible is the ability to install the game, making the loading screens that bit shorter.

Graphics and Sound

Albion in Fable 2 is styled to the early modern setting. Weapons look as you’d expect and the art style of the game in general is shown in every part of the game. The menus all have a wood and metal feel to them in terms of appearance and do glitch a bit now and then, but all in all look very nice and are organised cleanly. The soundtrack of the game is a bit repetitive, you can rarely tell when the ambient music changes, as a result you forget it’s there and may aswell be playing the game muted.

Pros:

  • No 2 play throughs are definitely the same
  • Pleasant appearance
  • Plenty of quests to keep you playing after completion of the main story

Cons:

  • Clunky gameplay
  • Boring soundtrack
  • Too many long loading screens

Verdict: Rent!

It is a rather long game, not ideal for some, but there are multiple ways to try Fable 2 before you buy for certain. The beginning of Fable 2 was released in episodic form for free on XBL Marketplace a while back and there is always that trusty rent service that you are bound to know in some form. Give it a try.

Advertisements

About Nick Duggan
I'm 19 an I study Computer Games Design at Staffordshire University. I'm a video gamer and also a Yu-Gi-Oh! collector/player. Twitter: @30DiedOnMars

One Response to Review: Fable 2

  1. Its only about £8 to buy pre-owned. Definately worth it, judging by the review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: