Initial Impressions of Fable 2
I feel like far too often, I find myself compelled to come up with something new and genuine for this blog (though, I’m sure any reader would assure me that I have done nothing of the sort…though thankfully I have so few readers (whether or not this is a problem, I haven’t decided) that nobody has called me out on such) that I probably need to be allowing myself to have some impersonal entries, you know, just on what I’ve been playing, my impressions of such, etc…
I know what you’re thinking. “Nick, first, this is supposed to be about the second entry in the Fable series. True, but as with any film series or book series, past entries always have to be taken into consideration. Quite simply, I found the first entry to have an entirely superficial good/evil dichotomy as well as the character creation mode. You couldn’t be some fisticuffs brawling/sniper hybrid or an axe-toting archmage. If you didn’t follow one of the “strength, skill, or will” paths to its uttermost end, selecting all of its respective skills and upgrades, (SPOILERS) the endgame fight with Jack of Blades was a miserable hair-pulling extravaganza. On top of this, everyone’s character tended to look the same by the end of the game: sporting the same set of class-relevant high-level armor. Everyone looked the same, acted either like Gabriel or Satan’s right-hand imp, and had the same skill-set abilities.
The only thing that convinced me to take a look at the title was it’s “50% off” tag at Circuit City. Thirty dollars tends to be my “I can afford to be wrong” limit. And, well, I was wrong about the Fable franchise. For those who were afraid that Fable 2 is “more of the same” and certainly didn’t enjoy what was handed out the first time, I have good news. The newest installment features much more intuitive controls, a larger world, and, above all, I’d argue that the “good/evil” mechanic has been improved.
For those that aren’t aware, probably one of the most intuitive mechanics that Fable 2 implements is the addition of man’s best friend. Adding a dog instead of, say, a “partner” or ally character might seem out of place with the advancements that have been made in “ally a.i.” but it works. It’s easy to become fed up with the ally that keeps getting in the way of your shots, or continues to repeat the same five phrases about just how awesome/awful a hero you are, or decides that his contribution in combat will be to binge drink your health potions. I’ve frequently been tempted to commit a little “friendly fire” of my own from time to time, though apparently Sega never thought to make it possible to drown Big the Cat in Sonic Adventure as I have attempted such so very, very many times.
Killing your own dog though? NOT okay, even the thought of such makes one a stage 5 deviant. It’s hard to get mad at a dog, too. Combat with a dog generally means that he won’t be getting in the way of your “headshots,” and all he demands for his services are a game of catch and a treat, instead of say, half the loot. Dogs don’t require that you buy them expensive equipment, and then decide to leave your party. Your canine companion also can assist in the unearthing of money and other items buried in the ground. He also has developed the ability to sniff out treasure chests. I won’t get into how improbable such a concept is, but let it be known that I don’t mind.
Fable 2 has also introduced a control configuration that is similar to that of Assassin’s Creed. Specifically, each button correlates to a certain sort of action, which can consequently be modified to control that sort of attack. For example, pressing “Y” will shoot whatever your selected ranged weapon is. Holding down “Y” will (with the technique purchased) zoom in for an over the shoulder targeting view. In the same vein, “X” handles all of your close combat issues. It’s intuitive, and will result in less rummaging around to locate the game manual.
The visuals are, love them or hate them, remarkably similar to the last entry: cartoony with bobblehead-esque proportioned bodies. Yes, your sneaker is still roughly twice the size of your torso in this title, but much of this is excused by the change in time periods. Taking place in the Enlightenment era, Albion is now focused on corsets and tri-corner hats. You can dress like a Zorro-esque highwayman, or “suit-up” in some traditional “noble” fare, if you find the situation demands such. I’ve never felt more girly, and yet proud of myself, than when I spent a half hour buying and dyeing my clothing in downtown Bowerstone. But hey, it does matter, in Fable 2 the clothes do make the man…err…or lass. Indeed, most articles of clothing can boost such factors as “attractiveness” or “posh” or “aggressive” which in turn alter how everyone else views you. Gone are the days of simply purchasing the strongest armor. In Fable 2 nobody has any!
I’ve enjoyed what I’ve played so far, I’ve gotten married, avoided having any children, have made quite a name for myself as a blacksmith in Bowerstone, go by the nickname “Gunslinger,” and recently defeated a bunch of reanimated corpses in the capitol city’s cemetary. You can, quite literally do anything in this game. I’ll add more later once I’ve gotten further.