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Article for the week of 1/23/09

‘Fable II’ surpasses expectation in some areas, still needs works in others

A Xbox 360 Review
By Ezra Mann

(These articles have also been published at and soon at

At any point since the first geek abandoned his (since the first geek gal was still working for a living) real world, there have been many a role playing scenario to get lost in. He would have a few other stereotypical antisocial partners in crime in ye olden days, but in tough economic times tis much cheaper to pretend than take that trip to the beach, thus making the virtual landscape more crowded.
Thankfully the options continue to grow and after much waiting all can witness a sequel to one of the games that made headlines for the first Xbox incarnation. The number of related titles has grown with the success of the 360, and thankfully though not completely flaw free, this second installment is actually worth at least one prolonged venture. “Fable II” proves that Microsoft at least listened to some of the fans of the first game and made another spiffy way to live in another world without getting off the couch.
This trip into fantasy adventure picks up in the world of Albion 500 years after the first quests with things quite a bit different from the last time. The Heroes Guild that was once so powerful has pretty much fallen out of favor and you play the part of one of the last four in the dwindling bloodline.
Your meager beginnings are as a mere street urchin and you can choose to be a male or female character whose sibling and almost you as well meets an unfortunate end. As in the first Fable you can rise to power along a good or evil path with every action influencing you and the world surrounding (from what you eat to if you murder or spare). All of this is done with stunning graphics, easy controls and an easily navigatable landscape.
Now before you label me a glory hungry fan-boy I will admit that there are some flaws that may turn off some hard core RPG enthusiasts. While breathtaking on many fronts what the developers forgot was one key element that made the first game fall short, making it last longer than the run of the mill competition.
Now there is no shortage of side quests and the addition of menial labor tasks to earn gold is rather neato, but if you stick primarily to the main quest of revenge, you’ll be done in no more than a couple of sleepless days. This aside, there are plenty of things to waste your time doing like picking up the opposite sex, making wee heroes, buying/selling/renting property, teaching your doggie tricks and increasing your abilities in your favored skill areas. The interaction with other characters has changed some, but if you aren’t in a relationship, there’s not a lot to keep a conversation going.
You can play this title by your lonesome, co-op with a friend or co-op online which is a nice addition that will hopefully be expanded upon should a third title be in the works. Yet, don’t fret if you finish all quests, there is at least one add-on mission for the game available on Xbox live to keep you busy for a little while longer and may be a good way to keep some satisfied until the next time.
Since there are some rather adult themes this will not be appropriate for all ages, really none beyond teenage years, even if full on nudity is not available. In the end, I find more things enjoyable than frustrating for a title that is at least worth a weekend rental. For a satisfying ride that will pull you in to your own imagination “Fable II” for the Xbox 360 deserves Five and three fourths out of six toggles.

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