I finished Fable 2 – some final thoughts

I finished Fable 2 today. I didn’t play the “Happily Ever After” phase, which commences after you complete the main storyline and save the world. I did begin to do one of the quests that become available after the credits roll, but, as part of it involves shooting moving objects within a small time window, I let it go, since I am horrible at aiming with a thumbstick.

Overall impressions?

I liked it. I spent several hours more in the game than was actually necessary to beat it, and had fun for the most part. It’s a beautiful game graphically, with great music that expands upon themes from the original game, and it’s fun to get caught up in the cute British-based fantasy world.

It’s generally an easy game to play. That has its positive points; the main one being that the gameplay doesn’t get in the way of the story. However, for those looking for a challenge, this is probably not the game for you.

As I’ve mentioned in a few previous posts, I’m pretty clumsy when it comes to playing certain types of games on a console controller. For a game like this, I found myself limited by the controller. Players have the opportunity to learn several different Will (magic) spells, and can map them to their B button. Using the right trigger (or the menu), players can choose different spells for different occasions during combat. Honestly, I found this to be a clumsy interface, and, with the game being fairly easy, I stuck to using only Time Control and Blades, depending on my needs. I found myself missing the click/key-mapping options that many PC games offer, but, as the game is playable without using cool spells like Force Push, Chaos, Inferno and Shock, I ignored them almost entirely in favor of a less cumbersome playing experience. For what is very much an action game, I wish that there were a variety of spells at my disposal that could have been accessed via the D-pad and/or buttons by using a function button, like RT, to activate “Will mode” for more intuitive real-time spell casting and variety.

The other two disciplines, Skill (ranged weapons) and Strength (power, toughness and melee flourishes), are fairly intuitive and work well enough.

I didn’t get very involved in the social scene, and I didn’t try to get any of the more off-beat achievements. I got married, and then I went off and spent ten years of non-negotiable time in a quest chain. When I finally escaped, I cleared up a few things and then went back home to find that my wife had divorced me. So I married again, etc. To me, that social aspect is interesting, but it wasn’t fleshed out very well. Once I had gotten a modicum of renown, almost everyone wanted to marry me, and I was badgered with requests for autographs and wedding rings for the remainder of my time spent in towns throughout the game.

In spite of all of that, I didn’t commit my first murders until I was about 90% of the way through the game. Someone caught me stealing, and I decided to kill the five guards that attacked me rather than pay the fine. I hadn’t given much thought to being totally good or evil, and ended up being very loved, moderately feared, and fairly pure. There are choices that you can make in-game that will change the way that people feel about you, but ultimately I didn’t feel that I had to pay too much for my actions, one way or another.

I had heard that this game would be more difficult to exploit financially than its predecessor, and for a while I found that to be correct. However, this week I discovered that there is an exploit, and a cursory internet search shows that it became known fairly quickly by people who played the game when it came out. It works like this, in a nutshell:

When you own property, and that property is a business, you get a Shop Owner’s Discount. I figured that this would also mean that you could sell goods to that vendor with a nicer markup, but that’s not the case – you actually get a better price when selling if you don’t own the business. Since businesses can generally be bought and sold whenever, with a few exceptions, I was able to go to the Blacksmith and the Stonecutter in Bowerstone, buy up all of their wares (once I had the capital), sell the businesses, and then sell all of their wares back to them at higher prices. Buy the business, buy all of their goods. Rinse, repeat. It made money a non-issue, as I eventually bought most of the properties in the game. I wasn’t happy that the money challenge was completely decimated, but on the other hand it meant that I didn’t have to waste time doing jobs as the game wore on and I concentrated on questing.

Overall, Fable 2 was a fun game for me. Once I got accustomed to using a controller again, I found it to be an enjoyable experience. I left the game unfinished, as far as non-essential quests go, and I would probably continue to play it if I didn’t have Fable 3 sitting on top of my pile of un-played games. Now that I’ve finished with the main story, I’m interested in seeing where it goes in the third installment, so I will likely be tackling that one soon.

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