Full Review: Dispite a few flaws, Fable 2 shines as a fantastic action RPG that you won't soon forget.
The Bad: Camera issues in co-op, less types of enemies than the first game, main storyline is fairly short, you can't be your own character when in a friend's game, long load times, no major boss fights, no fishing.
2004 was a year to remember for owners of the Xbox. Two of Microsoft's original system's best games were both released that year less than two months appart from each other. One was Halo 2 in November, the other was Fable, a long delayed role playing game from legendary game designer Peter Moleneux. The game was billed as the first game where a player's actions dramatically effected the gameplay, which is did for the most part. It was a game that garnered a lot of praise and a solid fanbase. Now, 4 years after the original release of Fable for the Xbox, owners of the latest Microsoft system are treated with Fable 2, a sequel which takes place 500 years after the original game.
One thing that fans of the original game will notice as soon as they set foot in the Albion of Fable 2 is how different the world has become. Now, guns are commonly used and familiar areas are either gone or drastically changed. It is also a world cast into the shadow of a man who threatens to destroy it in exchange for creating a new world that he will in turn rule.
You are one of the last remaining people in Albion to have the blood of a hero and you must save the world just as your ansesters did before you.
The world of Fable 2 has changed in many respects, but the core elements that made the original so good have returned and in a much more polished fashion. The control scheme has drastically changed to make things a bit simpler. Now, all of your combat is based on a single button. The X button is used for melee combat, the Y button for guns and skill and the B button is used to quick cast a spell, which is selected from the pause menu. This does make combat a bit simpler and new touches such as brutal finishers make that combat even more satisfying.
There have been several major new additions that help make Fable 2 a much better game than the original. The first is the addition of multiplayer. Fable goes co-op either offline or online. If you are connected to Xbox Live, you will notice little green orbs floating around. These orbs represent a friend of yours who is playing the game. You are able to interact with these orbs and give gifts to your friends as well as check their stats. You also have the option to invite a friend into your world to join you. There are several problems with the co-op mode which should be addressed. The first is that the camera is very unstable during co-op. You must stay in a pretty close proximity to your partner in order to avoid getting stuck. You can also be stuck if the main character who's world you are in is doing anything from pausing to check the map to romancing with his wife or her husband. You also are unable to be your own character when joining someone else's game. All gold, items and experience you gain while in co-op will transfer over, but it still would have been nice to be able to use your own character while in a friend's world.
Speaking of romancing, you are now able to be a female hero at the start of the game in addition to a male. You are also able to have children, who will demand attention from their parent every now and again.
One aspect that is completely new is the ability to start a real estate empire. You are now able to buy any shop and practically any house in Albion and gain money over time. You also get major discounts at shops you own, which will become useful during your travels. Being greedy can also give you corruption points, while not raising your prices or possably lowering them can give you purity points, which is a new dynamic in addition to good and evil.
Every hero needs a companion to aid them in their travels. In Fable 2, yours is a dog. You first meet your dog as a child and as you change in the game, your dog changes with you. If you are evil, your dog will become dark and mean but if you are good, your dog will be light and very gentle. The dog is also your guide to burried treasure and hidden treasure chests.
From a technical aspect, Fable 2 is quite impressive. The visuals are still cartoony like the original, but are also extremely eye pleasing and very next gen. It has a beautiful look and the visuals add a lot to the game's overall charm. Danny Elfman's wonderful soundtrack from the original has been tweaked a bit for the sequel, but it still is wonderful and flowing. The voice acting is as superb as it's always been and there are more celebrity voice actors in the game such as Stephen Fry (V for Vendetta, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) among others. The great sense of humor from the first game returns with a vengence as well.
Sometimes, when trying to make a game feel more next gen, some aspects need to be sacrificed. In Fable 2's case, several elements of the previous game were mission or scaled down. There are now only 9 demon doors total in Albion instead of the many in the original Fable. The amount of different enemy types has been scaled back a lot. Some old classics such as hobbes and bandits return with some new enemies such as Banshees, but some enemies such as wasps and pixies are now gone. The load times are pretty lengthy, especially in co-op play. This is somewhat expected, but still an annoyance. You are also unable to go fishing and have less expressions to use this time around.
Dispite it's flaws, when it's all said and done, Fable 2 is a fantastic game that is worth owning, especially if you enjoyed the original game. If you can, try to track down a copy of the Limited Edition because you are able to bring an other world power into the world of Albion among other goodies.
Overall, if you are a fan of role playing games and want a game that has a great sense of style and tons of things to do, Fable 2 will not disappoint.
Gameplay: New controls and tons of new things to do, but it's still the same old Fable in terms of style.
Graphics: Fantastic visuals.
Sound: Great music, voice acting and sound effects all around.
Value: With promise of downloadable content and so many things to do in Albion, Fable 2 is definately worth the $60 or $70 if you can find the LE.
Final Thoughts: You're health is low...