Continuing from yesterdays post, today I am going to review the good, the bad, and the not so attractive of Fable II, and my wishlist for Fable III.
Four years after the great success of Fable, Microsoft and Lionhead Studies released Fable II. Fable had a lot of promising moments and plenty to build on. With a new console in the Xbox 360 and an updated graphics engine, this was shaping up to be better than the original. But was it...?
*Warning* If you haven't played the game, this post will contain spoilers.
The story still takes place in the world of Albion, but about 500 years after the original game. The Guild and Heroes are all but gone. You start your story in the run down town of Bowerstone, following your sister around, doing small chores to earn some money. With your money, you wind up buying a magic box from a street vendor -- a box that is told to grant its owner a wish. The siblings wish to live in the main castle of Albion (Castle Fairfax), and the box vanishes.That night you find your self going to Castle Fairfax by order of Lord Lucien (magic box is magic for sure!). You travel to the castle and meet Lord Lucien. Soon you find yourself in a weird experiment by Lucien, where he discovers you are not one of the three, but either you or your sister is the fourth, so Lucien shoots both of you. You wake up much later only to learn your sister was killed.
So the story actually starts out pretty good, but it was only down hill from there for me. I never really felt connected to characters in this game. I really felt more like I was just going through the motions. I even felt like I lost the original drive of the story at times, as if what happened to your sister was simply forgot about. Its really all about you and what you want to do with your life now.
On the flip side to the sub par story, the game play did improve. The controls were again intuitive, and there was a lot more meaning to your actions. They took away stats on your gear, allowing you to mix and match your outfits however you choose. In turn, they gave different stat boosts to other things, like sleeping a night in house you own may increase your speed. You were able to purchase almost every building in the world of Albion, allowing you to cash in quick if you own a lot of land, as well as get deals from certain vendors. The powers system also changed for the better, creating some depth to the how you pick and choose your abilities. This really builds on the last game a ton, and helps give a sense of individuality to your character.
Two of the biggest additions to the game play was your pet dog and the change of your character/world based on your actions and path. Your dog had a fun personality, and made discovering items and beating enemies more fun throughout the world. I actually felt more connected with the dog then I did with anyone else in the entire game (hence why I saved him at the end :P). Also, one of the cooler things in the game was seeing how your character and the world changed based on your actions. If you are an evil Will user, it really shows on every inch of your body. Also, early decisions in the game can determine if a town is completely poor and rundown in the future, or a peaceful, flourishing town who loves having you around.
So what does this leave for Fable III? Both games had great features, but they were really opposites of each other. Fable had an amazing story and connection to the world and its characters. Fable II had the gameplay depth you wanted. Fable III really needs to find a way to merge these two features. The potential is there. I have heard in a few interviews that Lionhead wants to add more elements of action/adventure games into the mix, which I don't think would hurt as long as they keep the original vision in mind. Without a great story and game play, I worry Fable III will fall flat on its face. I am crossing my fingers for another amazing game from Lionhead, but only time will tell as the game is released today. Look for my review in the near future as I try to get through the game at least 2 times.