Throwback Bit Thursday: Fable II

Fable II

It is no secret that I disliked the original Fable. It was much hyped-up Xbox Action- RPG that failed to deliver on many of its creator’s (Peter Molyneaux) promises. Its sequel, however, aptly titled Fable II, would end up delivering one of the most amazing RPG experiences that I have ever played.  

Microsoft’s answer to Nintendo’s Zelda? 

It is clear that Fable, and Fable II took a lot from Minamoto’s time enduring masterpiece, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. That statement is not shocking, as pretty much every 3-D game that came after Ocarina of Time took something from it.  But Fable, being a competitor in the same genre, took more than most.  

Fable II offered a large, beautiful, if magical world that took design cues from Zelda but offered some of the flexibility and freedoms seen in Bioware, and Bethesda RPGs.  

As a fan of both, Zelda and the Elder Scrolls, I felt that Fable II offered a good middle ground experience. With polished fast paced action based combat, and hidden collectibles to find in its world, Fable II does a good Job at implementing some of Zelda’s most important elements. Collecting Silver Keys, and Destroying Gargoyles was just as fun and as addictive as seeking out Heart Pieces, and Golden Skulltulas had been in Ocarina of Time.  

Like the Elder Scrolls, Fable II featured a pedestrian main Storyline that really came to life when you I took time to perform side quests while immersing myself within the game’s many side diversions.

The game’s marriage, and family gameplay mechanic was surprisingly deep (I played this in 2010), unwanted pregnancies could be avoided by using condoms (even though there were no explicit sexual scenes when the act took place), and your children could grow up to become and adventurers in need of saving, thus directly affecting the game’s experience for players who decide to father children. 

In terms of relationships with NPCs, Fable being an enclosed experience (rather than a sprawling one like the Elder Scrolls) offered a deeper take on these relationships than any other game in the genre.  

Fable II had the freedoms that I had been accustomed to having in Western RPGs, and also, Zelda’s more conservative “world design” approach. Did it lack the perfect polished feel of Zelda? Yes, but so has every other Action-RPG (not named Alundra) that I have ever played.  

That said, the game’s combat, and exploration felt much tighter and better designed than Oblivion’s, and even more recent games in the genre like Dragon’s Dogma. 

Fable II Might Have Sinned by Being too Easy 

Fable II Boss
Fable II features some huge, and imposing looking enemies. Too bad, that for the most part, the risk of defeat is non existent.

Being that the game’s world was so beautiful, and it was such a joy to travel through it, I never teleported anywhere. I just walked to locations in the old-fashioned way. This meant that a lot of combat was done in between areas, and consequently, I mastered all of the game’s fighting classes (there are 3) way before I even reached its final sections. 

Fable II was just too generous in its EXP gains, especially when equipping weapons that augmented those gains. I button mashed (pressing X) my way through the boss battles in the game, and I was very successful with the tactic, as my character was terribly overpowered in relation to the game’s enemies.  

Molyneux succeeded in his quest to make Fable II an Action-RPG that was accessible to all types of gamers, but at the same time this “ease of play” happens to be Fable II’s major weakness. For a game that has no puzzle solving elements, and is filled with combat opportunities more challenging bosses would have been welcomed.  

After a few hours, Albion wasn’t a menacing place for my overpowered character. In fact, in the rare case that a boss, or enemy does defeat your avatar, you will never die. The game just revives you, and you keep fighting until said enemy is defeated. For “losing”, your avatar is scarred (affecting the avatar’s ‘attractive’ score), which does not matter in the grand scheme of the game, because if you earn enough renown for your deeds, you will have a mob of people in love with you at all times regardless of how many scars your avatar has “earned”. 

Some of the More Entertaining Hours That I Have Ever Spent on a Game 

Fable II can easily be finished within 12 hours if one were to push through the main story line alone. It took me 55 hours to see the credits because I was just too invested in everything that the game had to offer. Even your relationship with your main dog companion was engrossing.

If you rush through the game’s main story, you are likely to be less than entertained by Fable’s sophomore effort, but leave the main story in the backburner, and just “play” the game and you will find one of the most engrossing Action-RPGs of the last 15 years not named Zelda or Dark Souls.  

Fable’s Future

Fable II Forza photo for article
FH4’s visual excellence can only mean good news for Fable’s Reboot, especially if Playground Games has made improvements to its open world engine for the Xbox Series X.

I don’t think I have to say, that I am very excited about Playground Game’s upcoming Fable Reboot. Anyone that has played Forza Horizon 4 in 4K can attest that aside from Naughty Dog, Microsoft’s first party studio creates some of the most gorgeous games ever made.

Molyneux and Lionhead Studios created a wonderful world and universe in their original Fable trilogy, and I expect Playground Games to deliver a spectacular experience within their version of Albion. If Fable’s reboot ends up being anywhere near as good as Fable II, I will be highly pleased.  

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By Samuel Rivera

An avid video game player and book reader, Samuel has been playing video games for the last 31 years. He has played nearly every PS1 JRPG known to man, and loves Ocarina of Time more than any other game.