I was going through my games, looking for something to kill sometime with when I came across Fable 2. I have beaten both Fable and Fable 3 but never got through Fable 2. So I decided to fire up the 360 and give Fable 2 the honest try that it really doesn’t deserve. Now I remember why I never beat it.
The game is dull. Fable 3 may have been short and small but at least the game kept you chugging along to the finish. Fable 2 doesn’t really do that. On the whole I tend to like the Fable games. There are a lot of good ideas in the Fable series. But there is a problem. Lionhead, the developer of Fable, aren’t interested in those good ideas. They put all their time and effort into some of the most baffling things.
In Fable 2 it’s the dog. The game often feels like they put so much time and attention to your canine companion that they just sort of put everything else on the back burner. Everything else being the entire game. It’s hard to tell if the short comings of the Fable series are due to misused resources or flat out laziness.
The gameplay works fine, the controls are responsive and the combat system is fluid. Using melee, ranged and magic attacks on the fly are simple to pull off making the combat fun but also painfully easy. Think of it as the anti-Demon Souls. So the game doesn’t really have the challenge hook to pull you in.
Another problem is the glowing trail. The trail leads you to your next quest point. You can turn it off but there is no mini map and the maps in the game menu are atrocious. They basically substituted the glowing trail for the need to make a decent map system. It makes the buying and renting of property(one of their best ideas) through out the game difficult to manage. You can’t just check a map of the town and see what houses and shops you already own and what you don’t. Now if the game was trying to go old school with its lack of maps, I could at least see that as a potential point in its favor by not automating everything and holding the player’s hand throughout the game. Of course that is completely negated by the glowing trail and the dog.
The dog is the worst idea implemented in the game. It basically finds all the treasure and secrets in the game for you. So the whole exploration hook is thrown out the window. The glowing trail guides you to the most optimum route to your goal. There really is no incentive in the game to spur exploration. Because that would be interesting. Sure, you can have your character fart until they shit their pants but is that why we want to play a game like Fable?
What sounds more interesting? Farting in front a crowd of people or fighting dragons? Lionhead seems to think the former is what gamers want. Gameplay, story and exploration are just background noise to their particular brand of juvenile humor. The world of Albion is an interesting one. I would like to see more of it but I would also like something to do there other than following a dog around and shitting my pants.