A very small trickle of information about the latest Fable title has been winding its way through the news sites lately, and it got me thinking about the series overall. As much as I want to say I love the series, I have had a number of ups and downs with it. Fable 3 felt like quite a letdown, with an incredibly short campaign and largely meaningless side-quests. Looking back through some older articles, I came across this piece about Fable 2. Reading it again after all these years I came across one of the things I think was missing from the last game; something I hope can be revitalized in Legends.
Fable 2 had a lot of expectations to live up to for me and I can't say it met them all. Don't get me wrong, it's still a wonderful game but it falls short in a few crucial areas. Namely, when you join another person's game. The camera become locked in this brawler game thing that makes it nigh impossible to navigate some parts of the world. The animation is lacking here and there, and some of the basic play directions are barely there before they disappear for good.
While most of the music is very good, there are a few spots where the music is straight out of the original game, no re-recording, no remixing, just the exact same tune. Any game supposing to take place 500 years after it's predecessor loses a lot of that feel when I can remember buying plate armor to the same score.
What Fable has always had going for it was stunning art design and Fable 2 doesn't disappoint. The towns and countryside are lovingly crafted. The world may not look all that realistic, but Fable has never been about ultra realism. It's about choice and consequences.
Fable has always put a lot of thought into how your actions effect the world, unfortunately it seems being evil is the only way to really see any significant change in the world around you. If you're good, everything just becomes more idyllic than it already is. Be evil however and watch the world crumble and darken.
Fable 2 makes it much harder to be evil than I think it intended. The ever present dog is always faithful, but knowing that someone always sees the terrible things you do makes them much less fun to do. I don't know if I'll even be able to finish a game as an evil character, the guilt is so heavy.
I'm absolutely amazed with how well the game sucks you in, even with as limited a story as it has. Top notch voice acting and the before mentioned art design hold the game together very well. It's rare to see a gaslight era game, and the mix of old world tech and new is refreshing next to the glut of energy weapons and real world guns seen in most games these days.
I'm not here to write a review however, I want to talk briefly about something Fable does better than most games I know. Fable 2 is a game I can watch other people play. Most games don't allow me that kind of leeway. If I'm not playing, I'm keeping myself from telling the poor player what to do or ridiculing the poor design. Fable allows me to simply not care.
What's best for that person's character is up to them and unless my advice is actively sought after, I need not interfere with their story. What's more, watching someone play through Fable 2 can tell you a lot about someone. For instance, I learned that my wife is a far more patient person than I am when she went straight to five stars in blacksmithing before she even completed the first main quest.
If you get a chance to watch your friends, significant others, whatever play Fable 2, take it. Think of it as a social experiment. Hell, take notes and go over them after the game. I plan on quizzing my wife about her decisions when I get the chance.