Sober Second Look: Fable 2

Like Fable, Fable 2 is something of a mixed bag. In most ways, it’s an improvement on the first game, particularly in regard to combat. Though that said, it still has it’s share of flaws. We also need to take into consideration that we’ve moved from xbox to xbox 360, therefore the standards are a bit higher. Overall, does that make this better or worse than fable? Let’s take a look.

The story takes place roughly 500 years after the events of the first game and Albion is going through something of a renaissance period. The Hero’s guild is long gone because within this time, the guild had become home to useless, selfish heroes who only bullied/coerced citizens since there was no real danger for them to fight. So the people turned on the heroes and destroyed the guild. (I have to admit, this would have made a way better story for a fable game then Fable 2. You could play as a hero who joins the rebellion perhaps?) By the events of this game, Heroes are only fairy tales to the people of Albion.

You start off as an orphan and street urchin (male or female) living with your younger sister on the streets of Bowerstone. A shady trader rolls into town, claiming his items are magic, one of which (a music box) can grant wishes You and your sister are convinced by Theresa (The Seeress/your sister in fable 1) that the box may in fact be magic (despite the seller believing it to be junk) After scrounging up gold, making a fuzzy faced friend (your dog) buying the box and making a wish, the box vanishes. Later that night, guards from the castle in Bowerstone show up to bring you to the lord of Bowerstone, Lucien. He knows about the music box and suspects that being able to use it proves that they’re heroes. Unfortunately, you and your sister aren’t the heroes Lucien needs, so he shoots and kills your sister, then shoots you so hard it knocks you out a window...but doesn’t kill you for some reason. Theresa and your dog find you, take to a Gypsy camp and after you grow up through a cut-scene, your quest to get revenge and learn the old hero ways begins.

f2 begining - sober second look: fable 2

Overall, I feel like the story is a little less enjoyable than Fable. It feels like it’s just starting to pick up when the game is about to end and I feel like the build-up is weak. I don’t want to give much more away, but I think my biggest issue was that Lucien wasn’t as good a villain as Jack of Blades. Jack was always threatening, even though he had forces to command, he himself was a badass. Lucien isn’t as creepy or threatening, granted this is the difference between fighting a rich noble and a brutally strong Hero.

fable lucian

To it’s credit though, this game seems to take itself less seriously than the first Fable, so it still has some enjoyableness to it. Luckily, there are a decent amount of side quests that are more than worth your while (gold, renown, etc.) and certain quests and jobs like Bounty Hunting and Slave Rescue crop up all the time in different places.

The character morphing was the most memorable thing about Fable and it has been vastly improved in the sequel. You still have your good and evil scale and it balances more or less the same way as in the first fable. You also have a purity/corruption scale that’s separate from morality but still impacts your looks. This is affected more by habits than moral/immoral acts. For example, eating healthy, setting prices/rent low (we’ll get into this more later) will keep a hero pure and boozing it up, unprotected sex with hookers, and laziness makes a hero corrupt. Your attractiveness can also be effected by what you eat, some foods make you thinner, others fatter. Your character can look radically different depending on how you mix/match these scales. You can be evil, but still attractive/charming to villagers or you can be good but hated or mocked. To further add to customization, clothes no longer have any impact on damage resistance, this is all part of your toughness skill. So you can wear whatever and dye it whatever colour you want!

f2 goodcorrupt - sober second look: fable 2

F2 hero redneck

This can also be affected by the expressions you use on villagers. There are more of them in this game than the first, and it’s easier to select different ones instead of being forced to use whatever the D-pad gives you at the time. Some expressions will make villagers love you, laugh at you (maybe both) or scare and anger them. Some villagers will give you gifts if they like you or are scared of you. For example, fear and love/hate determine your prices at shops. If you want to pay less, be scary and likable!

f2 expression - sober second look: fable 2

f2 surrounded - sober second look: fable 2

You can marry villagers and even have children. But it’s in your interest to visit them, pay upkeep to keep your spouse happy, keep them in a decent house and throw your spouse a bone from time to time (Yes, they can get pissy if you don’t sex them enough. Though you can use condoms to prevent pregnancies and STDs) If you don’t, you may end up getting divorced. Though you could save the money and simply murder your spouse. You’re allowed to have mulitple spouses like in Fable 1, but this unlocks a blackmail sidequest where you have to pay a guy off to keep your spouses from finding out about each other.

Gold is much easier to make. You can get jobs bartending, blacksmithing or chopping wood. Or you can gamble. But once you have enough, you should invest in property. This gives you constant cash flow from the rent, even when you’re not playing Fable 2. Pro tip: Buy lots of property, take your xbox offline, set the clock to 2099 then put Fable 2 back in. Enjoy millions of gold. Keeping the rent low is considered a pure action, increasing it is corrupt. If you want, you can increase the value of the property by changing the furniture. This can also effect a town’s economy. If the economy is doing well, there’s lots of variety and prices are higher. If it’s doing terrible, it’s the opposite. Murdering sprees are another fun way to screw with the economy and the worse things get, more shady quests will show up. (Assassination and the like)

fable2 minigame

On to the combat. The melee and ranged combat has been vastly improved. Like in fable, there are different classifications of weapons with different attack speeds and damage levels. For melee you have your hammers and maces (high damaging but slow) as well as swords, cutless, katanas and cleavers. For ranged you have rifles (long range, high damage, slow reload) pistols (low damage, fast reload, short range) and crossbows are somewhere in the middle. Melee is mapped to the x button, ranged to y. You would think having an entire combat style on one button only would make things frustrating, but it practice it works well. You can do a variety of slashes using the control stick with x and holding x will block. You can roll with a.

fable2expcombat - sober second look: fable 2

Fable 2 combat 2

The targeting is less clumsy as well, switching targets is easier and by extension, so is competently fighting mobs without relying on repetitive spells (though you do still have spells.) Shooting works well. Holding y focusses your shot, improving damage. Spells unfortunately are disapointing. The variety in Fable 1 isn’t there, most of the spells feel exactly the same, only different elements (with some exceptions. ) Rather than being able to use a fully charged spell with one button tap, you have to hold b and let the spell charge. This leaves you standing around like an idiot and open to attacks.

f2 will - sober second look: fable 2

You gain EXP pretty much the same way as in Fable, and like in Fable, you’re going to be more effective if you play a hybrid class. More specifically, using all 3. The variety has to come in the weapon types. However, dying is impossible. Assuming you actually run out of potions or resurrection phails, you’ll just get a scar on your face and lose exp if you “die”. Then you get right back up with full health and keep fighting...I don’t get it. It’s okay to die in video games. Most of them have check-points, it’s not unreasonable for the player to have to replay a segment because they fucked up. Right? Can you imagine if in Call of Duty you couldn’t die? I mean, aside from modding.

I don’t know how I went this long without bringing him up. The dog. He pretty much steals the game and he should. Not only does he help you fight but he can locate silver keys, treasure chests and buried items. If you’re willing to buy/find books you can make him better and fighting and treasure hunting as well as teach him tricks that join your expressions. He even changes fur colour based on morality. I also get the feeling that the programmers had a lot of fun with him, judging by how he runs around, rolls around and just looks like he’s always having fun. Sometimes he gets a little scared in caves, but you can always give him a treat to calm him down.

f2 doggywog - sober second look: fable 2

It’s hard to say a lot about the graphics. They’re not bad, but they’re nothing special. Some of the cuts scenes look Amazing, but the in-game graphics are passable at best. Even though the first fable didn’t look great that can at least be excused since it was the first game in a franchise. Fable 2 on the other hand, came out the same year as GTA4, Fallout 3 and Far Cry 2. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to set the bar a little higher.

That aside, Fable 2 is still worthwhile experience. It’s a bit too easy, but it has a lot of replay value and enough customization that anyone who likes a decent adventure game can find a reason to pick it up.


f2 end - sober second look: fable 2

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  • 2

    Nice review. I enjoyed Fable II, but I agree that the spell system is flawed, and I rarely used them. I also found the lack of penalty for death frustrating. The EXP you lose can be made up by shooting/hitting/burning the next enemy that comes near you. But I liked the customization options, and your dog is the best companion ever.

  • 2

    Nice review.
    One thing you left out would be sound/music what have you.
    Could use some grammar checking, but otherwise a worthwhile read.

    xD Loved the review ^ was a joke (A review reviewing the review). I would definetly love to see some more reviews. Maybe newer games that just came out? (If you have them/played them of course)

    You dawg, I heard you like reviews. So I reviewed you review you can review while being reviewed.

    Yeah, I'll admit I don't proof read this as much as I should. I tend to write the whole thing in one shot. Can't fault you for calling me out. :P I can't really afford to buy new games regularly though so you'll mostly be seeing games no less than a couple years old in the mean time.
    - CrazyJay May 3, 2013, 11:17 am
  • 1

    Good post. I honestly liked this game even with it's flaws, but I do have to agree that the story line wasn't that great. It always frustrated me so much that after all the time playing and finally getting to the really interesting characters like Reaver. You only get a couple quest and then the game abruptly ends. It was kinda annoying and felt like after all that work you just got this really rushed ending. And also favorite thing about had to be the dog even if it got in my way constantly when I walked through doorways or small paths.

  • 1

    I liked this game. It was really easy once you learned how the guns worked though, mine killed anything in 1 hit if I remember correctly (headshots?). It's been a while since I played. No mention of the nice warm house in the forest through that 1 door that totally wasn't a complete trap? ;P

    You mean that snowy lodge with the Master longsword in the chest that turns into a ruin as soon as you enter? Since there's no real danger I don't think it constitutes a trap so much as a creepy detour.
    - CrazyJay May 4, 2013, 10:28 am
  • 1

    I'm surprised no one got me for failing to bring up the multiplayer.

    It sucks. You can't import your Hero and you're stuck playing as your friend's lackey. Sure you can join in on expresssion but there's little to no freedom since you're basically tethered to your friend. The combat and killing is so easy that you'll just frustrate each other for kill stealing.

    Want to hear the best part? Fable 3 figured out how to make it even worse.

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