R&R, and Disappointment.

In life, moods will change, tastes flow from one thing to the next. A fun little game called Fable enchanted me about 3 years back, one of the first games that I'd played in which it felt like my actions had a noticeable difference on the game's world and where the characters in the game were more important than the items and fun things to do; even with the NPCs it felt that way.

A friend and I exchanged games recently to try out, I lent him Devil May Cry 4, a game I thought would be up his alley, while I asked him to lend me Fable 2. I was hoping from the description that this game would be a similarly free experience to the first game. I got what I hoped for.

Now, from the title of this post a different response might've been expected, but there is more to it than that. You see, when I played the original Fable, it took me a very long time because although the story moves at a good pace, the optional part of the game really drew me in; things like starting a family, protecting a city, things that made me care about the towns, cities and the people in them. Unfortunately, Fable 2 didn't.

Although it still had the freedom and the options to choose either good or evil, and the same ability to do almost anything in the world, from buying real estate and shops even to theft and murder, unfortunately the game really didn't make me want to choose either. I thought what had attracted me to the original Fable was the option to choose good and evil, but in truth it was more how my choices affected the people in the world that drew me in. Here's an example contrasting the two; in the original Fable, you have to escort a merchant through a werewolf-infested marsh. Each time we were attacked, I fought them off not because I thought "hey monsters, good, I'll get more XP" but because the merchant was a well-done enough character to make me want to protect him. In Fable 2, you have to help a bandit named Reaver escape from an army of fanatic soldiers that he called to town try to collect a reward for your capture. I tried to shoot Reaver, and only killed the soldiers out of a vague desire to get past that part of the story. That, and shooting Reaver didn't actually have any effect at all.

Fable 2 struck me with an apathy so great, that once I'd finished the main story, the prospect of re-entering the game for more optional quests and further development of my character filled me with nothing but a vague dread. My feelings about Fable 2 can be summed up best in the words of Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw, when he said "but why would you want to?"

1 comment:

MomentEye said...

Fable 2 took 100% of the threat out of the combat. That made the whole thing ridiculously linear.

In Fable I remember having multiple quest chains on the go and not always being sure which was most important.