For my next review, I shall be doing another game that has had mixed response fans. Like the 2008 reboot game of Prince of Persia, this game also released to generally favorable reviews but got mixed reactions from fans. It's time for a Fable II review.
The game takes place five hundred years after the first Fable and the events in it have become subject to legend and interpretation. After the death of Jack of Blades the Heroes became obsolete, tyrannical, and were finally wiped out by the people of Albion after the invention of gunpowder. In this game you once again play as a silent, unnamed Hero who is revealed to a descendent of the Hero of the first game. In this game you seek to avenge the death of your sister and to prevent a man named Lord Lucian from rebuilding an ancient device, called the Spire, that will grant him the power to shape the world as he wishes. In order to do this, you must find the Hero's of Strength, Will and Skill who, along with you, hold the key to defeating Lord Lucian.
The Game Play
The fighting system of this game was very much like the original Fable with a few things added. Like the previous game, you had the choice of using your usual hack and slash weapons like swords and axes and a number of spells to choose from. Unlike the previous Fable, however, bows and crossbows have been replaced by muskets and pistols. The game also offers a variety of clothing, ranging from the cloths of a commoner to the clothes of a noble. The tradeoff for this, (and an unfair one) is that in this Fable there is no armor.
Perhaps the best part of the game is your dog. Found by you and your sister at the beginning of the game, this dog is your constant companion throughout it. He finds you objects, opens doors, fight along side you, and is fun as hell just to play fetch with.
Another great part of this game is the ability to buy property. The first one was limited to buying houses, whereas in this game you can buy huge amounts of real-estate, town stores and stalls, and can own almost everything in Albion. Like the previous game, there is a karma system that determines your appearance, in this game the appearance of your dog and the way people react to you. While in the first one, the karma system was more or less based on decisions you made in the storyline, this one had a karma system that was more based on the choices you made in the jobs you took. That's not to say their aren’t karma decisions to make in the storyline but they don't hold as much weight in this one as they did in the first. For example, choosing to be a bounty hunter results in good karma while choosing to be an assassin results in bad.
There is also a corruption/purity meter and also affects the appearance of you and your dog. This meter is generally determined by the way you handle the property you own. Charging high rent for living on your property, for example, results in corruption while having low rent results in purity.
The way you earned money has also changed. In the previous game, you earned money by completing missions. In this game, you take up various jobs to earn money, such as blacksmithing, wood chopping, or bounty hunting. This makes earning money considerably easier. That, in turn, made the entire game easier. Another factor of the game play worth noting, is the ability to buy experience potions. This made leveling up extreamly easy and made the entire game considerably easier as well.
Despite the relatively easy game play and a silent, nameless, protagonist, this game had a number of noteworthy characters. The first of which, is you dog who never stops being a delight. There is also the enigmatic mentor of the hero, Theresa, (who appears to be the sister of the hero from the first game). Then there is Hammer, the Hero of Strength, Garth, the Hero of Well, and Reaver, the Hero of Skill. Hammer is a former monk who joins you to avenge the death of her father. Her personality often reflects her upbringing with the monks and develops a fast friendship with both you and your dog. Garth is a mage who once unwittingly helped Lucian in his attempts to restore the Spire and joins you after being trapped for years as a prisoner in the Spire. Calm and patient, Garth seems to be a loner and is a man of few words. Reaver is a pirate leader who is extremely skilled with a gun but has a cocky and abrasive manner that make him unlikeable but believable and joins you after Lucian attacks his mansion. Lucian himself is, in his own right, a great villain. While nowhere near as good as Jack of Blades, the character is believable as a man who has lost everything he cares about and is willing to do anything and kill anyone in order to get what he wants. All around, the character of this game were great.
All around, this game was OK. While, for the most part, it had great game play and great characters, the game suffered from being to easy. The storyline was short and seemed like it was just put in as an afterthought. The final boss fight at the end of the game was just stupid and wasn’t even in the same league as the first one, (anyone who as played the game will know exactly what I mean). The various jobs and buildings you can buy take away much of the difficulty in earning money and the ability to buy experience potions made the game far to easy. All around, it's a decent game in its own right, but as a sequel to Fable, it falls short and was a disappointment. Fable III is due for release on the 26th of October and I can only hope it proves to be a better sequel then this game was.