There was no way they were killing my ****ing dog.
Well it’s been over two weeks since my last journal entry, where I hastily claimed that I was in fact about to finish the game by sailing on over to the Spire, as the game had told me to get all my affairs in order.
And judging by the fact that I’m just now finishing up the game, you realize that I was in fact mistaken, the Spire quest was more or less the halfway point in the game. I just assumed it was the end due to how short the first game had been, but it’s clear to me now just how much richer Fable 2 is than its predecessor.
Fable 2 is my game of the year, there is absolutely no question in my mind about it. Since my last entry I’ve beaten every quest in the game, started it over with a female character, re-beaten it making opposite choices, and finally downloaded and promptly finished the Knothole island expansion.
It’s been a long time since I found a game so immersive, probably not since Oblivion. But Fable is much more lighthearted than that game, and has the audacity to not take itself too seriously, something incredibly frowned upon in the RPG genre. The length is seriously impressive, and hopefully even more DLC can make the experience last a little longer.
The thing that I found most compelling about the game however was how much I came to care for my character. I was planning on being evil, killing civilians and guards at every turn and sprouting horns. But as I did so, and the village people began to curse me and run away screaming, I began to feel….bad.
Then something happened. As I went to the Spire and began to be ordered to torture prisoners and submit fully to the dark side, I had a virtual change of heart and said a big “**** you” to my evil overlords. I was tortured for my non-compliance, but gained some angel points and after I escaped to the mainland, I was applauded all over the countryside for my bravery. It felt…good. I began trudging back my way towards redemption, freeing slaves and donating to charity. My skin was restored with color and my black lab was slowly turning into a yellow lab, presumably because of good midichlorians or something.
It’s rare for a game to have this kind of emotional impact on you, for it to bind you to your character in that way. The only thing that comes to mind in comparison would be Mass Effect, which is high praise indeed.
And the award for most annoying pseudo-boss goes to…
Now, Fable 2 is not without its faults. The ending is anti-climactic as everyone says, although I did appreciate the sublime “death level” that everyone is ranting and/or raving about. Also the fact that your character slowly changes into an Arian super soldier if you make good decisions was highly suspicious to my non-white roommates, and they might need to think a little harder on the virtue/reward system there.
Also, the end which offers you three choices is bullshit, because as they (spoilers) kill your dog, if you pick any of the other two options that don’t come with his resurrection, you’re SOL when it comes to finding buried treasure from here on out. And it’s just mean to make you grow to love the virtual pup then snatch him away like that. I guarantee 80% of players choose “Family” whether they wanted to or not.
Lastly, the most glaring flaw with the game is that still, it is far too easy. Now that I’ve max leveled myself up, I can stand there for ten minutes as baddies hack away at me and not so much as get a foot cramp. And if my health does dip below 90% on a rare occasion, I have an augment in my cutlass that lets me suck back a full bar of life within a few flighty sword swings.
Also, the “acquire money while away” feature is cool, because it’s always nice to see a return on investment, but I’m at the point where I’m making $16,000 every time I walk from one town to the next, and if I shut my console off for three days? I come back and I have more money than Bill Gates and God combined. After buying every building in the kingdom, what good is the $5 mil I have sitting in the bank? And assuming players are buying Knothole Island after they’ve beaten the game, the offer of $10K as an “evil choice” by the unscrupulous mayor a the end of the quest line is downright laughable. I’d make more money than that by the time I finished an extended fart expression.
But for all its flaws, Fable 2 is unquestionably the most fun I’ve had with video game all year, or possibly even the last few. It’s sucked 60 hours of my life away in what seems like an instant, but I don’t regret a second of it. Peter Molyneaux may be one crazy bastard, but I’ll be damned if he didn’t crank out one hell of a game.