So if you have ever read ANY of my previous impressions threads, you know that I like to describe game's in Tokein-esque detail. So just try and imagine me tackling two games at once. So I am going to break down the blog into two halves, and you can either read both or just the one you want, either way, I am blown away by both of these great titles!
Let's start out with the story. The story in Fable follows a young orphan boy from a city in the world of Albion. I won't spoil the opening situation for you, as it made me gasp, but honestly it's a great setup, and it follows through...somewhat. Characters really just aren't DEEP enough for me to care about. While the world and all of the stories are so incredibly in depth and immersive, the characters just seem very two dimentional. However, you will probably be able to get over it, since you will be jumping from story to story pretty frequently. The voice acting is good, which is nice because I can't stand bad voice acting in a game I am going to spend this much time playing.
Speaking of time, be prepared to waste a LOT of it. I mean, this game rivals Oblivion is sheer size and scope, which is just truly amazing. You will spend a ton of time moving around the world, exploring, doing jobs, getting married, raising kids, doing the main quest, doing side quests, improving your character, and the list goes on. I can spend hours just screwing around in this game, and there are a ton of side-quests to occupy yourself with. It really has the same ADD factor as games like Oblivion, because half-way through one quest, you will get derailed by the start of another one, and then come back to the original three hours later and say "Oh yeah, that's what I was doing." The main quest moves the story along, and keeps you going in terms of world-progression, but as the main quest opens up new towns and such in the world, you will be stopping to do side-quests as well as a great deal of other things.
Now let's talk about the general gameplay. I can honeslty say that Fable 2 has some of the best action-RPG gameplay you can find this gen...with a few notable suggestions. The overall gameplay is great, and the world really comes alive, as people move around realistically, follow daily routines, have impressions of you that can change based on your actions, and will offer you all sorts of interesting options for character interaction, but still, some of the major characters in the game don't give you a reason to care about them, and that hurts the immersion. Maybe I am just an unsympathetic bastard, but honestly, I didn't care about most of the characters in the game for the first few hours...
Combat is where things get a bit hazy. Now, the hacking, slashing, casting and shooting is all good, and is pretty rewarding, but it can get annoying when it comes to nit-picking on the combat. There is no combat wheel like there was in the first game, where you held down the right trigger, and then a wheel came up with 4 equipped hot keys. Now, you have one spell equipped to your B button and X is attack/block. A controls the roll function, which you will really need as you progress more. The major problem I have with the combat is changing spells. You have to scroll through this mini-menu in order to change spells, and doing so in the midst of combat means you are pretty much guarenteeing a cheap-shot. On the other hand, you can pause the game, go through a few menus, and choose a new spell, but that just breaks up the action and makes it feel less action-packed. It just leaves you wishing there was a better way to switch spells. There are one or two other small problems I have, but I will not even bother mentioning them.
Graphically this game is stunning if you can cope with the art style. It's true, the game doesnt look like MGS4, but it doesn't try. It WANTS to look the way it does, which is a little cartoony, with great coloring, shading, and visual style. Anyone who says the game looks exactly like the original fable is just plain stupid, as the game has been improved 100 fold, but the art style will still take some adjustment if you like realistic graphics. A little side note, I seriously had a problem with how the characters ran in the original Fable, but character movement seems far more fluid now, except that as a young boy, it seems as though your character can't figure out what the hell he wants to look at during conversations. His head twitches all over the place, but this disappears once you get older. Overall, this game is great, and if you like open world RPG's, action RPG's...or hell really ANY RPG's, then you owe it to yourself to try out Fable 2.
FAR CRY 2
It's probably good that I haven't played nearly as much of this game as I have of Fable, because I wont have as much to write. I will start off by saying that labeling this game as a sequel to Far Cry was basically a ploy to get sales. This game is NOTHING like the original Far Cry game, and that is mostly for the best, as this game is an improvement in many ways on the original game. However, there are still points where it falters, and I enjoy pointing them out.
Let's once again begin with story. Basically there is some jerk who is supplying two sides of a territorial conflict in Africa (I think it's Africa..) and you have to take him down...but you fail, and then you spend the rest of the game trying to make up for that complete failure. When it comes to voice acting, the main villain is HORRID. I HATED his voice in every way. Honestly, it couldn't have been much worse in my opinion, but I lived with it, since I didn't have to listen to him for long. Anyway, the story isnt the main reason to play the game anyway, so let's move on to WHY you should play this game...
The gameplay in Far Cry 2 is fun, challenging, heart-pounding and incredibly immersive. Now, I just came from playing a bunch of Mercenaries 2, so I have to say that being able to SNEAK UP on enemies was nice. Enemies don't have the incredible lazer vision they do in the original, and it takes them a minute to figure out where you are, which is nice. Also, if you choose to do a mission at night, it helps you ambush your opponent, which makes for some strategic thinking. A day and night cycle, as well as the inclusion of fire as such a powerful tool was a great way to get gamers more involved in how they played.
The game also limits you to how many weapons you can carry (not many) how much ammo you can have (not much if you aren't good at aiming) and how much medicine you can have (not much if you aren't smart about how you use it). Overall, this game is going to challenge you, which is nice. However, since I am playing it on the PS3, I don't get the mystical quick-save key that PC gamers get, which means I only get to save at designated save points. Why did they not give console gamers the ability to free save...I don't know, but it annoys the living hell out of me. However, I was able to get over it and just enjoy the gameplay enough to partially forget about the save ponts...but there will be a time when I get stuck on a part that it will haunt me, I guarentee that much.
Graphically this game is stunning. The animations your character preforms are great, the guns are fantastic looking, as are the visual effects (the fire looks a bit cheesy on the PS3 version though...dont know about the other two), and then time cycle works like a charm. The fact that you NEVER leave the first person view except when sleeping makes for an incredible immersion factor in this game, that is really just unparalled this gen. Overall, if you like shooters, and the idea of an open-world shooter with some great realism sounds good to you, go get Far Cry 2, because so far it's great.