October 21, 2008
Moral dilemmas are in no short supply throughout Fable II.
The starting quest, involving bird crap landing on your hero’s head, sets you up for the rest of the game with a series of moral choices and dilemmas. Do you find the five prison warrants, or do you hand them to some criminal to rid of? Do you give the bottle of booze to an alcoholic, or do you hand it to his wife to stop his drinking? As a gamer, you probably don’t care, but what if you were told that, in the future, these choices may come back to haunt you?
Your completely customizable hero can be a guy or a gal, but either way, your sister is going to be with you in the beginning. Eventually, you buy a magic song box which has the power to grant wishes. You and your sister are orphan children that live in complete poverty, so you have quite the long wish list. Your sister wishes that you lived in the castle in Bowerstone, hoping that this will lead to a better life for both of you. But the box disappears and you are left to return, bewildered, to your life of poverty. You are then rudely awakened and informed that Lord Lucian, who is reeling from his family’s recent death, has requested to meet you at the castle.
As you enter his chambers, you see the lord distracted and milling over some paper work. Although he is initially warm and inviting, his manner quickly turns angry and he proceeds to shoot both you and your sister. Your sister dies immediately, but a voice tells you that death is not your destiny, and this sets the tone for the game.
Flash forward 10 years later, and you are stronger and wiser, knowing that you must find Lucian and destroy him. You already know you must save the world, however, the true beauty of Fable II is that it doesn’t hold your hand and instruct you on how to do so. Your choices matter. Are you going to sacrifice your own happiness for everyone else, or will you horde all of the riches for yourself? Every choice you make is going to have a consequence, whether it be for your benefit or for another’s.
Fable II’s combat system is truly one of its strongest points. At first I was skeptical about the idea of one button combat, but I’m now a huge fan of the fact that it allows you more options with regard to aim and technique. Seemingly minuscule decisions that wouldn’t be given a second thought in many other games will affect everything from the game’s story and play, to your character’s skills and demeanor. The system reward syour timing — in fact, you can get to the point where you can hit faster and harder just by stringing your attacks fluently