reviews\ Oct 22, 2008 at 8:00 pm

Fable 2 Limited Edition - 360 - Review

The world Albion awaits the next great hero or dastardly villain. Whether you choose to be the hero or the villain, Fable 2 offers up an enthralling experience that is one-of-a-kind on the Xbox 360. Forget what you remember about Fable 1 because Fable 2 is the game that western role-playing fans have been begging for. Let’s cut to the chase and discuss why Fable 2 is the game you need to be playing at this very moment.

For starters, Fable 2 allows players to make their own choices within the game and either reap the benefits or suffer the consequences behind them. Players have the ability to align themselves with the good or evil path by every decision they make in the game. If you decide to eat a live baby chick whole, then be prepared to receive evil points. Not only will the villagers of every town look at you different, but you soon will be seeing physical changes to your character. So if you give into those evil impulses, expect to see your character to look a little more corrupt throughout the game. Your choices will also influence: what villagers say about you and how they barter, the appearance of your dog, and what missions become available to you.

Speaking about the dog, – which, of course, you are able to name – it’s a lot more useful than when it was first talked about. It’ll search out hidden chests, buried treasure, attack knocked down enemies, and alert you when enemies are near. Players can also train their dog through books to learn tricks, find more valuable treasure and cause more damage in combat. Only a few hours into the game, it’s guaranteed that you’ll become attached to your furry pal and realize that without him, you might still be out in the wilderness looking for those hard to find items.

One aspect that Fable 2 trumps its predecessor is in its narration and storyline. While it isn’t the most in-depth plot in video games, it at least gets the job done and is told well enough to understand what is going on. There’ll be times when you are scratching your head, but through dialogue, you’ll soon figure out what needs to be done and how to accomplish it. The premise is based around revenge and I’ll leave it at that to avoid spoilers – just expect a lot of quests where you embark on finding other heroes to aid you in taking down the central villain.

The quests provided by Lionhead Studios (the developers) are diversified and well thought out. Even though the start of the game is a bit of a downer when it comes to pace, once players reach their adulthood, they’ll be on their way to taking down trolls, accepting quests to give rejection notes to women from men, hunting hobbes, joining the Temple of Shadows, and much more. If the quests don’t satisfy you, then Fable 2 has odd-jobs to take place in such as being a bounty hunter, cutting wood, making steel blades, becoming a bartender, and a lot of unique tasks that are entertaining. There are also the pub games that released before Fable 2 on the Xbox Live Arcade that players can participate within Albion to earn money.

Declaring that Albion in Fable 2 is ten times bigger than it was in Fable 1 doesn’t do the game justice since the game world is flat out huge in size. What’s even better is that Fable 2 permits players to purchase almost every house, castle, merchant, vendor, pub, and whatever else you can name. Players can rent out these houses and stores to earn a profit to continue to move up in the world of real-estate. Before you know it, you’ll own half the town and will be racking in the money to move on to the next city.

 Another interesting aspect that will lure many gamers into Fable 2 is the possibility of getting married and having sex in the game. Players have the option to perform protected or unprotected sex with villagers, whether they are their spouse or not. Getting married is a little more simple than expected as all you have to do is give a villager enough gifts and compliments, but sustaining that marriage is a slightly more complicated. Your spouse will rely on you to stop in from time to time and provide the family with income. It is also possible to have multiple spouses and families within the game, but be warned about the grave results when the families become aware of each other’s identity.

Fable 2 takes steps towards making the combat simple to pick up and play. Melee combat is initiated through the X button, ranged combat through Y button and magic through the B button. When players level up, they’ll earn advanced moves to perform, but for the most part, these three buttons will be what players will be cycling through when in a fight. It may sound tedious to switch between the three different styles, but it’s not that problematical. Players can be mixing it up with their katanas and then quickly press the B button to send a fireball in another direction of an oncoming enemy. Of the three, the magic (Skill) has provided the most electrifying experience with the eight spells granted to the players.

Another huge attribute that Fable 2 has that the original didn’t is offline and online cooperative play. The player joining into their friend’s game will become a henchman and assign the gender, clothing, and weapon for their character. A henchman won’t be able to interact with merchants (to buy equipment) or buy real-estate. The only thing they receive from their session is a set amount of the gold and experience. There have been a few issues that have occurred with online co-op such as no music being played, enemies becoming frozen in place after a spell, and a few other technical issues. But, even with the small issues, the added co-op is overall entertaining and a great diversion when you are bored performing your own quests

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.

The Fable II Limited Collector’s Edition offers a few special items, a bonus DVD, and a dungeon to journey through for ambitious fans. Of the items, two weapons are included – the Wreckager Legendary Cutless Weapon and Elite Sword (from Halo) – along with the armor of the Master Chief (yes, the lead character from Halo). The dungeon that players are able to download is the Hall of the Dead, which should take around 20 minutes to complete. As for the bonus DVD, it’s nothing unusual with a couple videos that were already released on the Web, an art gallery and a video about a traveling hobbe figure that was originally set to be included in the collector’s edition before eventually being scrapped by Microsoft. If you absolutely must have the Halo-themed items (along with having the title of "Master Chief" within Albion), then the collector's edition may be worth the extra $10.

Aside of those small technical issues, Fable 2 has delivered a resounding experience. It’s a charming and stunning game that should occupy about 20 hours of a gamer’s time with up to 50 hours of side-quests, odd jobs, and real-estate purchasing available.

Review Scoring Details for Fable 2 Limited Edition

Gameplay: 9.7
There’s so much to do in Fable 2 that players will get sidetracked from their main quest and waste an hour getting five stars at a job serving beer or chopping wood.

Graphics: 9.5
Fable 2 sticks out among the Xbox 360 catalog of games due to its lush and beautiful environments represented all throughout the world of Albion.

Sound: 9.7
This may be a love it or hate it category since the voice-acting could get irritating to some people, but the score of Fable 2 is whimsical enough to ignore any annoyances.

Difficulty: Easy
In all honesty, players shouldn’t have too much difficulty completing many of the missions. If they do, they can always invite a friend to play co-op through it.

Concept: 9.4
The addition of a dog as a pet is brilliant along with the expression wheel to communicate with the villagers.

Multiplayer: 9.1
The online co-op has a few issues, but just having the ability to journey through Albion with a friend is enough to satisfy the foaming mouths of co-op fanatics.

Overall: 9.5
Fable 2 is among the elite titles to release in 2008. If players skip out on their opportunity to play this ambitious and heartwarming title, then they are missing out on one of the best games of the year.


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