Fable II Reviews

The torrent has slowed down a bit but there’s still plenty of reviews for Fable II on offer if you’re looking to make up your mind. First and foremost, Edge Online is full of praise, giving the game a 9/10.

Choice has rarely had such a guilty laugh at the end of it. And with good reason, as Fable II needs the levity to offset some real bleakness. Quests that end unhappily or don’t go to plan. People whose fate is left in your hands or, occasionally, who have you at their whim. Most of all, it manages, somehow and almost bloody-mindedly, to make your decisions matter. Not in the sense that the gameworld will change (though it often does), or in a ‘be-good-for-this-prize’ way (though that, too, happens). You can tell they matter because you’ll be looking at the screen for more than 30 seconds, actually contemplating the possibilities and probabilities of selecting different options. One decision had us pondering for a good five minutes. It goes beyond what is usual, or even unusual, and while it won’t make you blub or reconsider your very being, it’ll make you think about your actions in a stark light.

360 Monster loves the game but is disappointed with the co-op mode, giving the game a 96%.

Unfortunately, it is when you actually attempt to play together that the functionality falters. Another player can join your world, or you to theirs, but by doing so the joining player will leave behind their world and hero, substituted themselves for a one of six premade characters with predefined weapons and very limited interaction in the world. This basically means that you are a pet for the main player, unable to customize your character or even interact with most features of the game. Considering that typically a game of this nature and style would limit itself exclusively to being single-player, I can’t help but be thankful for what is on offer; but on the other hand knowing the endless possibilities the game could offer if full co-op was included. It is such a large shame that the developer (and gamers!) missed out on the opportunity.

ZTGameDomain equally complains about the co-op but also rates it high, at 9.8/10.

At this point I should warn you about your condition: you are a mime. Yes, it’s true, you never speak a word and may only interact with others by using “expressions”. Giving gifts and acting a fool will win you all sorts of affection, no matter your deeds, which keeps what could be an overly grave sort of game lighthearted. Interactions are controlled by the D pad, with the available options adjusting to the situation at hand. It is a bit pared down for RPG fare, but it largely works smoothly with only the occasional blip such as patting your dog instead of farting for lookers on.

Should an NPC fall victim to your silent wiles, there is nothing left to do but buy them a ring, a home and get together to play house. You can consummate to your heart’s content (even choose protection or not) and have children, all without a bawdy mini game. Playing as a female hero I was a bit concerned about procreating in game, as pursuing bandits seemed a bit unethical with a bun in the oven. Fortunately, baby makes an appearance immediately after conception. While your child grows to love you, your spouse is more than a little high maintenance and divorce is an easy feat and not an unlikable option. Really, what hero needs more than a good dog?

Deeko loves the freedom, accessibility, art direction and wacky British humour, giving it a 9.0/10.

Molyneux for months has been touting the casual nature of Fable II and Lionheads goal of allowing anyone to quickly and easily feel at home in the world and not feel threatened by a complicated control scheme. Mission accomplished Pete! Fable II is incredibly simple for anyone to pick up and play. The combat system is easy enough that my 50 year old mother was able to just pick up a controller and have a blast. Now just because it’s accessible, don’t for a minute believe that Fable II’s combat lacks depth; far from it. Combat is handled with three buttons, one for melee, ranged weapons and magic and all are context sensitive. While simple in execution, all three styles are upgradable and really open up later on in the game.

Gametrailers.com deems the game a rare “game with a heart”, giving it an 8.6/10 (video review here).

Far too many games these days provide you with a confrontation, and when you overcome it, a door opens to yet another. Fable II is truly freeform in comparison. If you plow through the main quest, you can finish it in around 10 hours, give or take. But if you take the time to make the rounds and truly explore, you can glean countless hours of entertainment from it.

Quests pop up constantly. Whether it’s clearing a road of bandits or rescuing slaves, it’s your choice in what order you tackle them. The more time you spend on side missions, the easier the main quest becomes as you build your skills in melee combat, magic, and ranged weapons with each victory or discovered treasure chest. There’s a simple warp system in place that will get you close to each destination, yet you’ll still tire of running down the same pathways en route to the next objective. Very little grinding is involved. There are a couple points where a certain level of renown is required, but otherwise, you’re free to develop your character however you choose. Getting lost is practically impossible since a magical trail always guides the way.

Game Boyz doesn’t love everything about it but still recommends the game.

Your interactions with others in the game can be pivotal. A good reputation or a bad reputation can have its share of pros and cons. Do you want a family? Do you want more than one? How will you treat your dog? There are lots of decisions to be made. Often in RPGs stealing is defacto it is hard to finish a Zelda game, for instance, without ransacking someone’s home, smashing up all their clay pots and stealing all their rupees. In Fable II you can get through without being such a jerk. Sure being a jerk can be easier and more fun but since being totally pure and virtuous is harder, it too has its own rewards. The social aspects of Fable 2 are a huge selling point and the game even goes so far as to track how many STDs you have contracted through your travels. The social system is even deep enough to allow for homosexuality, sexual deviance, and even masochism. Now that’s what I call a game. Thankfully despite the morality factor playing such a large role in Fable II, the game is careful not to judge you too often and considers that everyone’s views on morality are different. For instance while some non-player characters (NPCs) are terribly conservative, you will find some with more liberal politics proving that this game does in fact seek to accommodate a spectrum of tastes and ambitions for role play.

1UP goes with an “A”, but not without a few quibbles.

Lionhead needs to stop overpromising and underdelivering with this series. If it were simply a single-player RPG, Fable 2 would be an almost peerless entry in the genre. While the disastrous multiplayer doesn’t detract from the overall awesomeness, it dilutes the impact somewhat. The time Lionhead spent forcing this mode into the game could’ve been better used to speed up the load times or add more varied loot. As it is, it’s still the best RPG on the 360. It’s a series worth evolving and expanding (can you imagine a Fable set in London around the time of Jack the Ripper — boss material! — where you play Jekyll or Hyde — morality! — cuz I can!). Fable 2 is filled with more great ideas than the last 10 years of Final Fantasy combined.

And then there’s GameZone, who give the game a 9.5/10 despite some technical flaws.

For the most part, Fable 2 is an absolute beautiful game. It has colorful environments to explore, a lot of unique NPCs to interact with, high production values with its art and design, and brilliant animations for the characters. The same can be said about the audio as the voice-overs are excellent and the score of Fable 2 is pleasant on the ears. Though, once again, there are a few technical problems with the framerate dropping, music cutting in and out, and long load times.

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