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Fable 2

Posted 11-03-2008 at 03:50 AM by Kael

So, my friend let me borrow this for a few days. I gotta say, I like it. They improved a lot of things about 1 that bugged me. Since I liked Fable, and this is most definitely an improvement (something which cannot be taken for granted in a sequel, sadly), Fable 2 has earned a place on my short list of games that I can afford before the year is out.

Good things:

Guns. I was skeptical at first, generally preferring my fantasy to be set in the classic range of Dark Ages to High Medieval, not the Rennesiance. It grew on me, though, and I find that a fantasy game in such a setting is actually very refreshing. I have been somewhat disappointed by their damage. The only ranged weapon that comes close to holding ground pure damage against a good melee weapon is the blunderbuss, and when they're close enough for that to work, a sword is faster anyway. Still, a fun addition. There are 'turret' rifles, and clockwork rifles, that can fire more than once without reloading. Turret rifles have multiple barrels that each have to be reloaded individually (so basically you're running around with four or five rifles strapped together), while the clockwork rifles just need a magazine. Of course, he reloads all weapons as quickly as one would reload a modern pump-action shotgun, rather than the realistic time that would be required for a muzzle-loaded blackpowder weapon. While the simulationist in me laments this, the gamist recognizes that it would be really annoying, and reduce firearms even further into the background.

Moar Emotes. Some great stuff, also with a much easier-to-use access interface for them. NPCs also have three seperate meters guaging their attitude toward you. Love-Hate, Fear-Laughter (or silliness), and Attractive-Unattractive (that's how they see you, not what you might think of them).

A much better property interface. You don't have to kill the poor inkeep to buy his place anymore, which is a very good thing for us Noble real-estate moguls. You can also mark the prices of any shop you own up or down.

Another alignment meter. Now you don't just have to worry about whether you're good or evil, but also whether you're Pure or Corrupt. From what I've heard (haven't started my badguy hero yet) the horns are actually given by being very Corrupt, instead of Evil. Implementation of this Pure-Corrupt axis isn't perfect, but it's decent. I'll discuss the problems in The Bad section.

More Love. You can still marry, both gay and straight, but now you can have pre-marital relations, contract STDs, have kids (or even get pregnant if you're a female), and so on. If you have multiple families, they can find out about each other and get unhappy. One step closer to the Holodeck (and the completely unrelated collapse of human civilization)! Yay!

You can be a girl. Pretty self-explanatory, but worth mentioning.

Bad Things:

Food. A lot of food makes you fat, now, much more so than in Fable 1, and for some reason they decided the only way to lose fat is to eat celery, and only by eating celery can you lose fat. (WTF?!) Also, celery is aparently as rare as fist-sized diamonds. Basically, you cannot rely on food as healing unless you want your hero to be a fat slob all the time. Coupled with the fact that the easiest way to gain corruption points is to eat and drink all the time (alcholol makes you fat too, btw), this means that a corrupt hero is almost always also a fat one.

Magic. This is a big one. The spells are great, no complaints there, but the 'castbar' implementation is horrible. First, every rank above first, for every spell, must be charged up. Like the fireball worked in Fable 1, but now it's everything. So, when you hold down B, a bar comes up on the right showing what level your charged up to (1-5). At every point along this you must place a spell. If you know only one spell up to that rank, then it goes there automatically. This has to be changed if you want to cast a different spell, and it has to be changed manually. No quicksets or anything. So, if you have it all set to ranks 1-5 of Force Push, and you want to cast a rank 3 Lighting, you have to open that up (which you can do through the pause menu or in real time), select rank three, and cycle through all the spells you know at that rank untill you get to Lightning. Then you have to hold down B untill it highlights the right rank, and release it before it charges to the next one. Then, if you want Force Push again, you must repeat the process. Now, there are only a handful of spells now, six or seven, so it's not as bad as it might sound, but it is still extremely annoying, and has caused me to focus much less on spells than I would like, and makes me dread running a casting-focused character.

Overall, few problems, though some, like the above, are rather glaring, a robust and interesting setting, much more dynamic than the first game. Very well done. More comments pending further play.
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