Fable 2 is not wat you would call a typical RPG, or even a typical game. Surprisingly grown up, full of wonderful British humour and equipped with gameplay that does not immediately remind of other existing games or experiences.
My adventure in Albion might not have lasted that long, but it did make an impression and the hours that I spent in it with my hero were more than pleasant and will, in contrast to so many other games being released now, not quickly be forgotten. Maybe you noticed that I was talking about ‘my hero’? These are no empty words this time. Your character can be configured exactly so that he or she becomes how you want to behave in a game. The great secret is that this is not done with dry stats or sliders that determine the size of your nose, but with your behaviour in Fable 2.
If you want to be a cruel bastard, that’s perfectly possible! Throwing people out of their houses to make them pay exorbitant rent, entertaining several whores at the same time and cheating on your wife with them, eat until you become fat or kill rabbits for fun and a bit later disturb a lovely scene with farts to kill someone in cold blood after that? Be my guest! Everything is possible and you will not be punished for it. You will only have to live with the consequences. Your appearance changes and people run away from you, and of course there’s the influence of your decisions on the world. People who prefer being the good guy are rewarded in another way, but whatever way you choose, you will never have the impression that you are sent in a certain direction by the makers of the game.
The world is ready for your rule, and it is a beautiful, interesting world. The setting looks fantastic, both on technical and artistic level, and you really feel like being in a fairy tale in which your play the main part. This feeling is among other things reinforced by the original and enchanting (or when needed frightening soundtrack and the excellent voice acting that finally is not limited to some grumbling Americans or Japanese teenage girls reaching puberty. The many quests also help to bring the world to life and are one by one original, partly original, or at least provided with funny, surprising characters with their own background or story. No simple back and forth quests here, because in return for less quantity, quality is given. The only negative point that we could think of, is that the main story perhaps could have been somewhat more epic, but in the end that is hair splitting.
Unfortunately all these pretty things are a bit disturbed by the completely useless map and the many loading times between areas. The fact that you can immediately revisit areas where you have been before can come in handy, but we would have preferred a seamless environment in which the travelling was slightly more pleasant. It all looks wonderful, and the glowing breadcrumb trail that leads to the next location in the active quest is a good find, but you never get the feeling that the many interesting areas form one big whole. What a pity! Having a dog is by the way the perfect counterpart to the breadcrumb trail: now and then he lures you away from known paths to discover unknown territory. Also, he will bark to point you to hidden treasures or enemies.
Those enemies should by the way have been provided with more variation. Bosses are rare and they all have to be dealt with the same way and also the more occurring opponents are based on only ten or so models. Admitted, they are designed and brought to life in an inspired way. Fighting is done in three ways: shooting, melee or using magic. Simple in the beginning (one button, for instance the A-button for melee, is everything you need), but you can later, by gaining experience, unlock more possibilities. Let me tell you that it became only just not too boring by the end of the game and that the more advanced possibilities, especially concerning melee, always remained a bit vague and thus did not give the amount of satisfaction they could have given.
Fable 2 has become a wonderful, exciting fairy tale, one in which the promises of freedom of choice, real role-playing and an exciting world have finally been fulfilled. Regrettably, some technical shortcomings like the many loading times, the sometimes inadequate interface and the not always well devised fighting system make the whole a bit less pleasant. However, at no time those negative points will be able to stop you from fully enjoying this warm, pleasant game in which you can let yourself go and in which you can enjoy the humour, the fantasy, the surprising end and the many unforgettable moments.