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Fable 2
Company:
Microsoft/Lionhead
Website: Official Site
Estimated Street Price: $49.99/£39.99
Review By:
Byron Hinson

Fable was one of the big hits on the original Xbox 3 or 4 years ago – it had excellent graphics, superb gameplay and a real great British feel to it.  There were problems though, features were talked up and then dropped and there was a lot of loading in the game, which took you out of the atmosphere at times. Well now Lionhead has returned with Fable 2, a lot more features, far far better graphics and and a lot of online features.

Fable™ II is the true sequel to the wildly successful original that sold more than 3 million copies, offering even more choices and building on the core gameplay theme of “Fable,” where a player’s every decision continually defines whom they become. “Fable II” is an action role-playing game (RPG) that truly allows players to live the life they choose in an unimaginably open world environment. Set 500 years after the original, “Fable II” will provide gamers with an epic story and innovative real-time gameplay, including a massive amount of freedom and choice to explore a vast collection of dungeons, catacombs and caves in the world of Albion.

  • Choices, consequences. The innovative gameplay pioneered in the original Fable provided gamers with a never-before-seen level of immersion in a truly interactive world. Fable II expands upon the scope and depth of the Xbox classic by adding incredible new features and creating a wider, more complex kingdom of limitless choices and consequences. Players will have the option to play as a man or woman, get married, have children, and live a life of their own design.

  • A land far, far away. Revisit the sprawling world of Albion more than 500 years after the events of the original Fable, where you are free to explore the landscape and openly roam the countryside. For the right price every house, hut, dungeon and castle is for sale. Players can witness how the world grows and changes in response to their decisions in incredible and unique ways as they rediscover Albion as if for the first time.

  • Fight with ease. Fable II pioneers a new combat system designed to allow players to truly master hand weapons such as swords and maces, ranged combat weapons such as cross-bows and guns, and an entirely new magic system. These three disciplines, while very accessible, are also amazingly deep, and allow players to mix combat styles and become everything from master swordsman to skilled ranger to evil magic weilder, utilizing a single button on the Xbox 360 controller.

  • A hero’s best friend. This groundbreaking addition to the game is integral to the theme of unconditional love in Fable II. The canine companion will act as friend, compass and protector. Players must merely feed their pooch and he will love unconditionally, creating a bond that sets up emotion-filled journeys all throughout this magical world.

  • Experience the world together. For the first time in the Fable” series, gamers can experience the expansive and immersive world of Fable II with friends, utilizing the new and exciting Dynamic Co-op Mode, bringing the long-awaited multiplayer function to the world of Fable II.

  •  Xbox LIVE Arcade mini-games earn major cash. Carbonated Games has partnered with Lionhead Studios Ltd. to bring an unparalleled experience to gamers through Xbox LIVE Arcade. Gamers can start earning in-game currency for the Fable II world later this year, before the game’s release to retail, by downloading and playing exclusive mini-games, which will be available for download on Xbox LIVE Arcade and allow gamers to purchase weapons, armor and more for their hero.

How Does It play

So how much of an improvement is Fable 2 over the original – well lets just say right away that the game is superb, without a doubt one of the best of the year and with the likes of Gears of War 2, LittleBigPlanet and many others around it is saying something.

Let us get the worst part out of the way first, the tutorial – and to say the worst, it isn’t actually that bad. I started the game as a male child following his sister around and completing a few of the basic quests that are around as well as speaking to people and learning the controls – the problem is that it is very claustrophobic which is nothing like the rest of the game is.

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Once past the tutorial, everything opens up to you, yes you will still be learning things like how to level up, the advanced combat and magic system and more that are available to you now. The games main part is the quest system which tends to be completing certain tasks like releasing people, finding objects, killing bandits and the such like – I’m not going to go into too much detail simply because I don’t want to spoil the story for anyone as it is very good indeed.

Once again there are many parts in the game where you make your good or evil decisions where you will become either a hero or more of a villain. There are lots of customisable options here such as changing your clothing, tattoos like there were in the first game as well as facial hair, hairstyles and more, you can even dye your clothes.

This time in Albion, you get your very own pet in the form of the great addition of a dog by your side throughout the game. He helps you with finding your objectives, he will help you in combat too, if you knock down an enemy then he will fight them, you can also interact with the dog as well in the form of petting him, throwing balls and teaching him tricks through the many books available in the game. The main benefit though is that he can sniff out buried treasures and chests around the areas you are in so you don’t have to keep hunting them out.

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You can play as a male or female character in the game from the start, you can date people, marry, have children, even have affairs – everything you seem to do in the game can affect your good or bad attributes. If you are a good character, your child acts good, bad, and then well you can guess.

The one hard to judge part of the game is “The Glowing Trail” this always leads you right to your next objective, while this may be good for those who are not used to mapping, but the good thing is that not only can you go off the trail and just look around if you like – you can turn it off completely if you like.

There are a few niggles though – the game suffers from having the same enemies appear at the same points in the map each time you go to it, a bit of variety would have made this a lot better. Also the enemies level up as you do in the same way they did in Oblivion – something I’m not a massive fan of, in other words no matter how great you become at fighting, the enemies you come up against will always improve as well.

One part we can’t really comment on right now but we will in the very near future is the co-op feature – despite talk that it will be ready for day one on Live! The details we have been sent are that it won’t be. I’m sure there will be loads of people making use of this feature so we will review this bit in the next few days once the game makes it into the shops. Finally here I am pleased to say that he amount of areas you have to load in the game is far lower than in the first title.

Graphics and Sound

Graphically the game is generally superb – it has loads of character and some excellent design, no slow down and some really picturesque settings, not everything is perfect though as there are some slow loading textures early on– and I’ve noticed some popup problems which seem to be a plague in recent 360 releases.

Voice work is universally superb though right from the very beginning, again the game has an all-British cast, which works very well in the setting of the game.  There is a problem with repeated voices though and I don’t mean just when you walk around, I mean if an objective comes up and you are told to do something, you may be told this up to 5 times or more over and over for no apparent reason. Music and sound effects are just as good as well – first class.

Final Comments


Byron's Gamertag

So overall it is an excellent title and certainly one of the best games of the year on the Xbox 360. Whether it will turn out as the overall title of the year on that console is a short way off with Gears of War 2 coming round the corner in a few weeks time, but for any fan of excellent story, great voice work, excellent graphics and far more to do than just shoot things over and over – get Fable 2 – you won’t regret it – it is without doubt the 2nd best game I’ve played all year (LittleBigPlanet) and well worth buying.

Specs & Package
Overall Score 94%
Version Reviewed Fable 2 (PAL)
Release Date Out Now
In The Box? 1 Fable 2 (PAL) DVD-ROM
1 Set Of Instructions
The Good Points Great Story
Excellent Graphics
Loads of things to do
Rights the wrongs of the last game
Has a dog in it
The Bad Points Repeated sound bug?
Not the best tutorial
Leveling up also levels up enemies ala Oblivion
HD Resolutions 480p
720p
1080i
1080p


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