Saturday, November 29, 2008

Fable II review

So, after all the ultra negativity of the past couple posts, let's move onto an actually good experience! Fable II!

Well, I have to admit Fable II is awesome, it's far from perfect. I know, I dare blaspheme that the game is less than a perfect 10 score some places have given it. I at least have reasons why it's only an 8 or a 9 in my book.

First, the combat is largely unchanged. You can still mash the attack button and forget blocking or counter. There's no point, since I rarely, if ever, was hurt by melee strikes. The addition of guns was pretty damn sweet, and once you lay hands on one of the legendary blunderbuss (this game's shotgun), you can just mow enemies down with little effort. I will touch on the Will (magic) "improvements" in a bit.

Secondly, the game is riddle with bugs. Horrible, unforgivable bugs. Some are kind of funny, but most are horribly annoying. My least favorite is the "wife leaves you" bug. Randomly, even if you maintain good relations with your in-game spouse, they can just up and take off. Or your child in game can go all autistic and stop talking, which also prevented me from getting one quest for the longest damn time. Beating the game got rid of the bug, but still, not cool.

I've also had these weird loading errors with two copies of the game now. When opening the start-initiated menu, the game spins down and stops working altogether. Again, unforgivable bugs.

Thirdly, The Will system is horrible! Magic was marginally useful at best in Fable. Again, the combat system thrived on mindless sword striking. The only uses for Will in that game were Will-based puzzles, healing, and the occasional useful spell in a boss fight. Well now you can't heal yourself, there's no Will meter, and to cast higher level spells you need to charge them by holding the will button down.

Gone is the ability to equip sets of spells, you now have to choose which Will power goes in what level. Also annoying is that you can select AoE or single target, but only by using the controller stick. Point at a mob, single target. Leave it alone, AoE. Often I found myself teleporting instead of freezing time because I would tap the stick after releasing the button only to find out it counted the stick movement as targetting.

It's annoying, and really the only powers you will use ever are Raise Dead for evening odds, Time Control for slowing time and teleporting, and the fire-based one which works well in one fight.

Point number 4: Controls are sloppy! The game introduces this arc meter that you need to use on occasion to hold emotes or to do certain mini-games. However, the trick is that the game fails to keep pace with the controller's every command. There were times I know I hit the button in time, the meter would reflect that, but the game would say no, that was wrong. Same thing for combat as well.

Last negative: No more real boss fights. The boss fights were all jokes, if they could be called boss fights at all. The only difference between the boss and a regular mob was that the boss had more hit points and occasionally an on-screen life bar.

But now, with all those negatives out there, why did I like it?

For one, the story is awesome and as funny as the original. The world is well-made with NPCs again giving large amounts of entertainment by just being there. The quests are quirky and have original twists to them.

What's also awesome is that now almost every major quest has a good and evil decision. This makes being evil worthwhile and possible. Gone are the days of getting good guy points for destroying monsters in the field (however, killing citizens earns you massive evil points).

And while the ending is sort of lame in my opinion, it leaves the door open for a sequel or added content from Lionhead.

Overall the game was a great, addictive game, it just could have benefited from some more time in testing and perhaps with a better magic system.

No comments: