Fable II Review Pile-up

A landslide of reviews for Lionhead Studios’ Fable II have hit the web, just as the RPG sequel ships to retail stores. IGN gives it an 8.8/10:

I have been waiting a long time for a return to Albion. The past four years were well spent by Lionhead. Fable II has a great combat system, some excellent atmosphere, a smart experience system, and lots to do. It’s only when you start exploring the social aspects that things take a downturn. The expressions system is too goofy for the more serious tone of Fable II and almost every interaction feels artificial. The sandbox elements aren’t nearly as enjoyable as the adventure aspects.

TeamXbox gives it an 8.9/10:

Strangely, I’ve been having more fun with the game since I finished it than I did when I was trying to. Maybe that says something about the game, maybe that says something about life. But now I have all the time in the world to sleep with whores, buy properties, explore lost dungeons and sign autographs for kids. Sure, I have to deal with crowds of adoring fans surrounding me while I chat up a young maiden, but this is the life of a hero. And I like it. I don’t know when I’ve liked a game more after I finished it like I have Fable II. But now I can finally appreciate all these things the obviously talented folks at Lionhead have put into the game.

GameSpy gives it a 4.5/5:

Fable II presents you with difficult, meaningful decisions that shape the development of the world around you. You’ll experience life from a young age and see your character grow up to become a powerful force in Albion. Whether or not you become a force for good or for evil is completely up to you. We thoroughly enjoyed Fable II, and heartily recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good role-playing game.

GameSpot gives it an 8.5/10:

It’s hard not to get sucked into Fable II. The world is so charming and your choices so profound, that it’s easy to look past the game’s shortcomings. The punishment for death is pointless and the story carries little weight, but the experience is still immensely rewarding. It’s easy to lose hours to trivial tasks, and discovering all the secrets tucked away creates a truly memorable adventure. The new ideas presented here may not change the future of gaming, but there are some noteworthy additions that make this feel completely unique. Your emotional attachment to your virtual dog will be real, making you reliant upon his companionship as you trek through these lands. In a game about choices, the wisest one you can make is to play the game. After spending a few hours in Albion, you won’t want to do anything else.

Play.tm gives it an 88%:

The first Fable was a game that occasionally shone between many laborious flaws. Whilst Fable 2 is not exactly flaw-free, the bulk of the game is splendidly entertaining. Lionhead consistently bite off more than they can chew with their games, so the scope and ambition of Fable 2 is both unmatched by other development studios and occasionally unrealisable in a current-gen video game. As far as the game stands, by polishing up the presentation and giving the game some real character they’ve managed to create a genuinely endearing, although sometimes confused, action RPG.

CVG gives it a 9.2/10:

After a sluggish opening the game grows into an incredibly fleshed out, absorbing adventure world where wasting your time blowing kisses at bar maids, teaching your dog to play dead and building your career as a woodcutter doesn’t feel like wasted time at all.

It’s still not the revolutionary piece of software Mr. M lauded it to be, but Fable II finally sees Lionhead’s original concept realised, and all round it’s clearly the developer’s best game to date. Well done Peter, you finally did it.

Game Revolution gives it a “B+”:

Fable II might be a shallow RPG that’s a bit too easy (I have never died), and if you’re looking for a challenge, it’s not here. But that’s because it’s not really an RPG. Difficulty, stat-obsession, and death is as pointless in Fable II as it is in The Sims. It’s not about getting to level 50 or defeating the evil overlord; it’s about simply mucking about in a WTFOMH full of adventure, bright colors, sex, and wry humor.

Planet Xbox 360 gives it a 9.5/10:

Players should expect a very rousing time through their questing in Fable 2. It’s a much more satisfying experience than Fable 1 and has a little of everything for all types of gamers. If you’re into mini-games and buying every item in the game, Fable 2 has that for you through jobs, pub games and the ability to buy almost every house and store in the game. If you’re into quests and combat, Fable 2 employs some of the finest and freshest missions (main and side stories) I’ve played through in a long time. Fable 2 also introduces unique, original cooperative play, which will hold your attention until at least the end of the year. Regarding games released up until this point in 2008, it’s easy to label Fable 2 as the best title of the year for the Xbox 360 no ifs, ands, or buts about it.

Kikizo gives it a 9/10:

Fable II cleaves its own path through the action adventure jungle, picking up rules it likes and inventing new ones where standards have grown clich�d. It is deceptively simple but is bursting with life and will have you addicted for weeks.

DailyGame gives it a 7.8/10:

Fable 2 is literally a huge improvement over Fable 1, with a comparatively massive game world, and it has a dizzying number of non-essential activities and customization options to help immerse gamers in the world of Albion. It also includes online co-op via Xbox Live — an option that has the potential to boost the fun factor — but as of this writing, that option is not available. But even as Molyneux said he’s not going after core gamers, his team’s game-design decisions seem to imply otherwise, thus opening them up to new criticism. Linearity and navigation issues are fine in a small game world, but Fable 2 got big. Having a simple ability-upgrade system makes it easier to refine, but Fable 2 “went deep” with its magic upgrades and nerfed them in the process. As a sequel, Fable 2 does things very well, and we’re impressed at how much Lionhead has built off of the original’s modest foundation. But while Fable 2 may not consider itself competition for other high-profile hardcore RPGs, its content additions justify the comparison, and those comparisons definitely show growing pains.

Cheat Code Central gives it a 4.5/5:

Fable II is a worthy successor to the noble effort released on the Xbox. I could go on and on about the many varied bits there are to see and do. The role-playing possibilities are endless, and the world is amazingly well fleshed out. Unfortunately, technical issues with the visuals and the fact that non-role-playing gamers will likely be bored by the sheer size and scope of play limit the title’s appeal. As such, know that this game is not for everyone, but rather for those looking for a living world within which to explore, live, and act.

And Gameplayer gives it a 9.5/10:

Fable II is an amazing game that is worthy of a giddy school girl shout of (Excellent! Outstanding!). It isn’t a perfect experience, by any means though, and we did get a bit annoyed with the constant load times between areas which, you could argue, is present in most console RPGs of this size and scope. Also, the bread crumb trail is a mixed bag, it has the potential to suck out some of the challenge of questing for the hardcore RPGers out there (mind you, you can turn it off).

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