We got our hands on the Limited Edition of Fable II just after the stroke of midnight last night. Regulars to this blog know that both of us are big Fable fans and have been looking forward to the release for a year at least. It’s here now, I’ve played a couple of hours, and here are my first impressions of the game (with possible spoilers).
I cannot talk about First Impressions without talking about the packaging. When we pre-ordered the Limited Edition, the advertised picture showed a huge array of goodies in a gorgeous package. What arrived was a simple game case with 2 discs, wrapped with a cardboard sleeve and containing a code to download a couple of extra weapons and treasure chests. I tried hard not to feel disappointed, but I admit it was a little bit of a letdown.
So after a little wait (couldn’t play an M rated game until the kids were down for naps, after all), I put in the disc to play. The gameplay is slow at first, and restricting. As a little scampy street urchin, you have to do a few chores to earn some gold and get yourself to the next level of gameplay. The camera doesn’t work exactly as smoothly as I might like, but once I got used to it I was able to get through the tedium fairly quickly.
After growing up and getting out into the world, things get more fun. The world is open to exploration, but it is still a little small. As much as I hate the comparison, I can’t help but think about Oblivion as I play – how I might be able to harvest flowers, or jump to gain agility, or steal the armor from my dead enemies. Sadly, you can do none of these things in Fable. But you do get to take care of a dog.
However, Fable is all about people and their reactions to the hero, and that part gets fun. Make a funny face, and 3 out of 4 people will think you are funny. The 4th will hate your guts. Flirt with a guy in front of his wife and he may fall in love with you, but the wife will want to have your head as a trophy on the wall. Everyone has a different set of likes and dislikes, and their responses to your actions are often quite hilarious. Some of the actions are downright ridiculous though, and made me think that this game should be rated T for Teen to get the proper audience. Belching and Farting are funny? Not since I was 13. But then again, maybe it’s just me and other people who can buy this game without a fake ID might get a chuckle out of it.
Graphically, I cannot see how any reviewer could give this game a 10. The animations, especially for digging, are downright clunky. The camera is restricting when it shouldn’t be. While the game appears to be wide open for exploring, you are limited to areas which are fairly small. I haven’t had a battle since I opened the gates to Bowerstone, and my sword arm is starting to get itchy. Oh, and the map is nearly impossible to read, so I really have no idea where I am. I keep thinking, “How many roads must a hero walk down… before they call her a hero?” Or something like that.
Despite the downfalls, the game had me laughing out loud several times yesterday. Surprisingly, I like the dog (and I barely tolerate my own dog in real life). The combat is simple, almost too simple, but fun. The interaction with villagers is addictive, and the jobs are surprisingly enjoyable as well. I am playing all good so far, but there are definitely times when I want to take the safety off and go on a spree (currently, my first husband might be meeting an untimely death so I can rent out the house for cash). Maybe today. I’ll let you know what happens.