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Tuesday | October 16, 2018
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Fable 2 (Xbox 360)

Fable 2 (Xbox 360)

Fable was a great game and the sequel has been hyped for quite some time now. You can play the sequel as a man or a woman and you have control over not only your actions but also your sexual preferences … are you a middle aged man who likes to play as a lesbian? then Fable 2 will be right up your alley (no pun intended). The second edition is set to be more accessible to a wider audience but does it hold the charm of the original?

The Age of the Heroes has passed and most of the citizens no longer believe in magic, they are in fact afraid of it. You start the game as a street urchin with your big sister in charge and your destiny is to reunite the four heroes and bring about the demise of the obligatory bad guy Lucien.

This is a rather basic overview of the story, and while it is not going to set any new landmarks for creativity, it is a solid backbone to a very appealing world environment. The game characters are three dimensional in nature and Lionheart handle the flow of the content very well throughout. As the game progresses you are taken through your adolescence in stages until you reach full adulthood  … this is when the game really starts.

Quests are presented to you and you can start interacting properly with fully fledged NPCs earning EXP and getting more powerful as you progress. It is worth mentioning that the world is simply HUGE and the variety in design is absolutely incredible. There are a plethora of towns and encampments to explore as well as stalls, shops, businesses and wandering traders who you can interact with.

This is one of the strongest aspects of the game, the overall environmental diversity. You can literally spend days just travelling and interacting with people, taking jobs, playing with wandering game masters before you even touch the main single player campaign. You can even have unprotected sex with prostitutes if this is all too boring for you. Yes, It is safe to say that Fable 2 is perhaps not entirely suitable for very young kids, parents bewarned.

Just like before, the game is shaped on how you interact with the people you meet and the missions you take. If you act evil and corrupt then your persona changes to reflect this, sometimes these changes can be subtle and others they can be black and white. If you are tyrannical then word of your deeds will be wide spread and people will avoid you in the streets, and if you are kind and helpful to the populace then they will want to meet you (or sleep with you!), ask for your autograph and just some of your time. This also means that in terms of the big picture you can replay the game a few times to take different paths as the story unfolds.

Fable II also has a community which is well developed. For example, you can purchases shops and buildings in different towns, but those towns which are thriving mean you will pay more for similar premises. Additionally if you make friends with shop owners you can often get massive discounts to help you purchase higher quality goods. That said, if you evil they also give you reductions due to fear (if they don’t run first)!

Buying stores or shop fronts means you get steady income each day from their profits so the initial outlay can reap benefits later in the game, I was earning around 2,000 a day from my various properties before I finished. If you buy a house you can either move in with your partner or rent it out.

A great aspect of Fable is the fact that NPC’s react to your presence and have a seemingly endless set of responses … certainly you will hear repeated dialogue as you get further into the game, but I was still hearing new retorts several days into the adventure. It is not very often I will make that point in a review ! It amused me endlessly to return to a village with my wife and child in tow and for a villager to stop me and say "Your child destroyed my garden!". It is this level of interaction and immersion that you don’t often experience in a game. Everything you do has an repercussion and even sneaking into someone else’s house and sleeping in their bed can lead to some hilarious situations.

Your dog plays a large part in the game, he follows you everywhere and alerts you to enemies nearby, as well as treasure chests you may have missed. He even can alert you to buried goodies! The dog is a great piece of AI engineering in its own right and you can enhance and improve it by reading books and teaching it new tricks. It can even fight with you later although it is not a good idea to let it fight on its own or it will quickly end up badly injured.

To further enhance the overall immersion, you can learn new expressions and interactions as well as customising your clothes, hair, and even adding tattoos. This obviously improves the personality side of the game and it would be hard to find two player characters the same by the time you were half way through it.

At the end of the day however, the game is still basically an RPG which doesn’t break new ground in the way it is delivered. You go on missions, resolve quests, answer calls of help, everything most of us have done before in other games. You level up as you progress and get loot, new items, weapons, armour etc. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a hell of a lot of fun, but under the glossy exterior and fantastic implementation it really is just treading proven ground.

The combat system is very simple and while this will appeal to many casual gamers it may well alienate the hardcore, demanding RPG audience contemplating a purchase. That said, it is easy to use and melee attacks are bound to a button, ranged to another and spells to a third. It works very well throughout the game but sometimes I felt the need for slightly more fine control over the character.

The spells are probably the most fun, as you improve as you use them and get more experience. You can throw fireballs, halt time, and even raise the undead to fight for you if you so wish. Initially your options are limited to a fireball or a small bolt, but several hours into the game the options start to unlock and you become accustomed to the wealth of options available.

As you unlock level two and level three spells, these become accessible by holding down the spell cast button until the glowing spheres above light up. This means if you just need a quick fireball, then pressing the button will unleash it, but if you want level 4 raise the undead, then you need to cast for considerably longer. This means while you are casting you are open for attack, so sometimes level 3 or 4 spells are hard to cast in the heat of battle without getting your teeth knocked in!

To somewhat counter the simplistic combat system, the developers have included a flourish system which means you can string together a series of attacks to make the on screen action look more impressive and entertaining.

While the majority of the game is massively impressive, there are a few issues. The first is the fact that the raise the undead spell makes combat considerably easier than perhaps it should be. There are only a few times I ran into problems and when I raised the undead, the enemy forces would tend to focus their attacks on my ghouls, leaving me free to run around picking them off. This might very well be a design decision, but I found myself using the other spells less and less as I progressed into the game.

The HUD is also a little bone of contention for me, it has been simplified considerably from the first Fable, but I don’t think this was necessary as it worked so well in the original. The mini map is gone, and now you simply follow a glowing trail to your next destination. This trail is a little distracting at times, and while you can turn it off, there is no viable alternative as the mapping system is rather weak. If you pause the game you can certainly get a tiny map of the region you are currently in, as well as other regions, but there is no way to tell how the bigger mapping picture falls into place and you end up rather confused (or else I am just stupid).

The D pad is context sensitive, which means when you are near to something important they change on screen to reflect the results if you push in the corresponding direction. For example if you are near your dog, you can push left to shout at him, right to pet him or down to throw him a ball to fetch.

These menus change on the fly, so when you are hungry or injured they show items in the four areas that you can quickly access to fix your health. In theory this sounds wonderful meaning you don’t need to spend ages messing around in inventory menus to eat a piece of meat, but in practice it is frequently annoying. Your dog for instance never stands still, so if he moves out of the context sensitive area, the pet options vanish or get replaced with something else. This means if you are injured but don’t want to waste eating a pie just yet, you can go to pat the dog to cheer him up (he gets scared) and end up eating it anyway when he quickly moves out of the toggle zone. It is not a major issue really, but I can guarantee at least one time in the game, you will do something you didn’t intend to.

Additionally I feel the inventory could have been fine tuned to be more intuitive. For example, the books and documents section can quickly end up a complete mess with well over 50 items by the time you are half way through the missions. There are some minor quirks and issues:  for example buying books … you can still buy books you have already read, so you fork out the money only to have it disappear from your inventory as it was useless in the first place. You can also not compare weapons you are thinking of buying to those already in your possession so you end up wading through several menu systems to find out what is a possible improvement.

To improve the looks of your character you can purchase dyes, which allow you to change the default colours of anything in your possession. There are also weapon augments, which allow you to improve and diversify the damage of your attacks.

The graphics are without a doubt, some of the most beautiful to ever grace the Xbox 360. The art design is wonderful with a lot of impact. The frame rate is steady and only later in some of the more extreme battles is there some noticeable slowdown. The appeal and depth of graphical detail in the world means that you really do want to explore it … it’s not a chore.

Fable 2 is one of the greatest games released this year, the epic landscape is second to none and the characters are really well developed and the storyline is solid and works to create a bond between the player and the personalities. Even when you complete the main missions and dispose of Lucien, there are more missions to bring you back to the world of Albion. There are some annoying aspects which I have discussed in the review, however as a complete package there are few games to match the overall experience gained from playing Fable 2, it will definitely be shortlisted for game of the year.



A lot to do, and many places to revisit. After the game is completed there are more side missions to play.


Wonderful epic landscapes and full of character.


Voiceacting is top class and the characters are full of life.

Replays are very much in order here as the paths are varied with multiple endings.
(not an average)

One of the greatest games released on the Xbox 360.

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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