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Putting Fable II Through Its Paces 65

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the games-die-without-wow-factor dept.
Kotaku recently had a chance to sit down and run Molyneux's new Fable game through its paces. Fable II is set as an action RPG, and while the combat options were somewhat limited, there is an implied depth that is definitely going to be worth a look. "Molyneux showed off some of the game's Expressions, the silly jigs and smooth moves that let you woo ladies and forge new friendships, prior to our hands-on. You'll pick them from a radial menu when you want to take a wife or receive a gift. They were fairly limited in our demo of the game, but look to provide some welcome options for adding variety to the game world. You'll see non-playable characters throughout town that you can interact with using Expressions, each with icons over their heads indicating their disposition. Wow them with your moves and you'll reap the rewards."
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Putting Fable II Through Its Paces

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  • by blahplusplus (757119) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @12:41PM (#24306537)

    ... while I didn't mind playing the first fable, it felt a lot like a platformer like Maximo vs. Army of Zin, with RPG elements. It was basically an action game with some RPG-lite elements, also the character aged way too fast. I remember getting to the end of the game and looking insanely old.

    Though I enjoyed the first one a bit, I hope this one will be better.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Narpak (961733)
      Apparently using magic in Fable 1 aged you faster. I still don't know if this was a bug, or supposed to be a feature.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by BPPG (1181851)
        It's because you were aged based on your upgrades, but to be a decent mage-type character, you'd need a lot more cheap upgrades than otherwise.
    • Agreed, I also felt the world was a little small and tight. I know it was built to the sparse memory requirements of the XBOX but I played it on PC and it still felt very small and tight. The load times were mercifully better but loading every 50 feet or so is terribly jarring especially in an experience that immersive. There didnt seem to be enough items and geegaws in the world for me either. I liked the game too, but I also hope the new one is better.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by elrous0 (869638) *

        They showed a long look at gameplay on G4 during E3. Frankly, I wasn't impressed. The developers playing it kept bragging about the damn dog and all the neat stuff you could do in the game. But the actual gameplay showed the dog to be more of a gimmick than anything, showed a pretty bland world, and was ridiculously heavy on combat (which just looked like a lot of grinding and random encounters). Maybe the gameplay they showed was unrepresentative of the game as a whole, but it was laughably incongruous wit

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by MaXMC (138127)

          Read TFA:
          "The ability to upgrade your career skills via mini-game diversions looks better than grinding and cold, hard stats arrangement."

          It didn't seem like more grind to me than any other RPG released in the last years...

    • by discord5 (798235)

      I remember getting to the end of the game and looking insanely old.

      I remember getting to the end of the game and having insanely big horns...

      Having said that, when I played it the thing that bothered me most was that halfway the game your character becomes uber and the game becomes a laugh while you spend most of your time using two or three abilities over and over and ...

      That, and the fact that it was way too short. I waltzed through it on two or three evenings after work, which I think is way too short.

      • by _xeno_ (155264) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @04:09PM (#24310087) Homepage Journal

        I remember getting to the end of the game and having a halo.

        Which was annoying, because I'd tried to play as "neutral" as possible. But apparently killing thieves was considered "good" so, even though I had gone out of my way to hunt them down and mercilessly kill as many as I could, I was apparently the paragon of goodness. Mindless vigilantism for Fable sainthood!

        Apparently to be evil you had to go on killing sprees amongst villagers. (Or just dump a lot of money at evil temples.)

        I still find it strange that sniping bandits who can't even see you is considered good. Seems to be a bit of a strange moral to Fable.

        • by discord5 (798235) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @04:29PM (#24310381)

          Apparently to be evil you had to go on killing sprees amongst villagers.

          This would explain a lot. For some reason those villagers just kept on running into my sword. I mean, there I was minding my own business just waving around a sharp object in some random direction and suddenly they can't wait to jump into it. Don't these people know how dangerous that is?

          I still find it strange that sniping bandits who can't even see you is considered good.

          You're pro-actively preventing them from doing harm. That's "good", right?

        • by DCheesi (150068)

          It's only vigilantism if there's a real justice system that's being subverted. In Fable the Heroes' Guild, while essentially mercenary, seemed to be the closest thing they had to a real police force out in the countryside. So taking out bandits was part of the job description...

        • by steveo777 (183629)

          Crunchy chicks.. that was the quickest way to becoming evil. The very quickest. That or slaughtering villagers. But then you can't walk through the town without having to wade through the blood of infinite guards and that is a hassle. I thought, "Hey, infinite EXP!!!" But they keep sending tougher guards and you get crap for EXP.. LAME!

    • by crossmr (957846)

      Swords and levels are not "RPG elements"
      No more than doors and a steering wheel can give an RV "Ferrari elements"

      Roleplaying games comes from the players ability to make choices which have lasting and meaningful effects on the game world in which he plays. "Should I use a sword or a mace?" is not one of those choices. "Should I save the child or slaughter this village?" are those kind of choices. The underlying game mechanics are meaningless. While many "RPGs" employ a level system, have some sorts, etc. Th

      • Your definition appears to alienate a lot of the genre's classics. I don't recall any choices like that in many Japanese RPGs. Most of the revered SNES RPGs are incredibly linear 16-bit novels.

        • by crossmr (957846)

          Bingo.
          They were essentially called RPGs because they started off as swords and sorcery and had a stat system. When RPGs were first made, D&D was a popular game among the people who were the target audience. Making it resemble it as best they could, with the limited ability they had at the time, ensured an audience. They became more refined with fancier graphics and more fine tuned systems, but in reality they never actually became "Role playing games" because the role you played had no meaning. The stor

  • Fable 2 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Narpak (961733) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @12:42PM (#24306555)
    With Molyneux's track record for exaggerating his own games; I do not trust any product he develops until I have seen it for myself. Or usually, read a lot of reviews and tried a demo. Even then, I am sceptical.
    • by BPPG (1181851)

      From the article, they just seem to be talking about improved features from the first game that everyone* didn't really care about. I'm with you on this.

      *Or at least, everyone I know that played fable.

    • Re:Fable 2 (Score:4, Interesting)

      by zehaeva (1136559) <.zehaeva+slashdot. .at. .gmail.com.> on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @01:06PM (#24306971)

      yeah his games have been over hyped a lot, B&W was supposed to be this amazingly long and awesome with this real life ai monkey hanging out with you, which was kinda true, it wasn't long at all but you got a monkey that learned and did most of what you asked it.

      then B&W2 which was supposed to be everything that B&W1 was supposed to be and more, but i think they forgot about the more part and just did what B&W1 was supposed to be

      and fable was supposed to be this hugely open world where you could do anything and everything with a huge open story line and we got a game where you have to run along in small paths.

      sure peter did a lot he said he would but he left out just as much stuff as he put in.

      he's got great vision but can't seem to stuff it all into one package.

      the movies did everything i thought it should, that didn't disappoint.

      err i'm rambling on here.

      • by Narpak (961733)
        I agree with what is being said here. Personally I awaited the launch of B&W one, even preordered it, and got burned by it. After that I was a bit more sceptical, but seems everything he wants to make he gets overambitious. It sounds great, but is actually fairly uninspiring in practice.

        That being said, if technology and software keep evolving; maybe one day he will be able to make the game he imagined in his head.
      • by discord5 (798235)

        but you got a monkey that learned and did most of what you asked it.

        My monkey wouldn't stop pooping in the villagers food supply, it ate half a village before it learned that villagers != food (they're for sacrificing you foolish monkey).

        The only real redeemable quality of that game was that I got to hurl rocks at houses, throw villagers into mountains or other hard objects, and generally be a really really nasty god.

        the movies did everything i thought it should, that didn't disappoint.

        Like many people who

        • Re:Fable 2 (Score:5, Funny)

          by morari (1080535) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @04:23PM (#24310285) Journal

          My monkey wouldn't stop pooping in the villagers food supply, it ate half a village before it learned that villagers != food (they're for sacrificing you foolish monkey).

          The first time my creature pooped, I picked the feces up and handed it to him. While examining his droppings, I began to rub his stomach, enticing him into eating it. He did. Immediately afterward, he vomited. He never pooped again.

    • I think Peter has a knack for actually including what he promised (as much as any developer), its just that things are never quite what they sounded like. Hes like the used car salesman that promises you unbelievable reliability and gas milage, then sells you a car with no motor.
  • by Senjutsu (614542) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @01:05PM (#24306955)
    If the combat seemed kind of shallow in the preview but Peter Molyneux implied that there's a great deal of depth to it, gamers everywhere can rest assured on the strength of Peter Molyneux's track-record that the combat is indeed very shallow.

    In the future, mothers will tell children the cautionary tale of The Molyneux Who Cried 'Features'.
  • Is it just me... (Score:4, Informative)

    by PieSquared (867490) <.isosceles2006. .at. .gmail.com.> on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @01:06PM (#24306999)

    Or did the first Fable have "Expressions... that let you woo ladies and forge new friendships" that "[You picked] from a radial menu when you want to take a wife or receive a gift" and "non-playable characters throughout town that you can interact with using Expressions, each with icons over their heads indicating their disposition"?

    I mean, I'm all for news about a game to let people know it's still out there... but this could be fable one with a "II" painted on the box for all this blurb tells me. The actual article reveals that there is additionally a dog now.

    • by Carnildo (712617)

      Or did the first Fable have "Expressions... that let you woo ladies and forge new friendships" that "[You picked] from a radial menu when you want to take a wife or receive a gift" and "non-playable characters throughout town that you can interact with using Expressions, each with icons over their heads indicating their disposition"?

      The radial menu is new.

  • The Witcher (Score:5, Interesting)

    by lymond01 (314120) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @01:07PM (#24307007)

    The Witcher is along the same lines as Fable, albeit a little more MMORPG and less Arcade in terms of combat. But the decisions you make during the game -- which are based on what you've gone through in the game -- come back to bite you later on. For example, in the first chapter, I'm trying to either protect or give up a witch to an unruly mob of townspeople. She has her story, while I go through about 5 of the townspeople's stories. Depending on what clues you've uncovered in the town, you might have discovered who's lying and who's not -- or worse, like me, you're pretty sure at least ONE of the townspeople is lying, but not necessarily the others...

    So how do you decide the fate of the witch?

    The physical gameplay wasn't as fluid as Fable, and you can't go wooing every woman you meet (most conversations are through multiple choice), but it was a very deep, dark game, both with the decision-making and the character development. It did have some fairly "mature" content.

    Fable was fun though. :-)

    • Was the witcher that game built on Biowares KOTR engine? I remember that had a very similar dialogue mechanic (if im thinking of the right one).
    • by Moraelin (679338) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @01:58PM (#24308011) Journal

      Well, you illustrate another point, namely: games who try too hard to judge my actions into good or evil, and guilt trip me about them.

      Almost any choice you get in The Witcher will sooner or later come back to "haunt" you. Or rather, it will be twisted into pretending to reveal something about you (or your character, same deal) that you didn't actually mean. The witch situation does have at least a right(er) choice, but a lot of other choices just have two "wrong" options.

      Warning: minor spoiler alert. It's from the tutorial, though, so nothing major.

      You remember how you had to choose whether you want to go inside and prevent the theft, or stay outside and help fight that beast? It doesn't actually matter which you chose. In both cases your character will have an "OMG, it's all my fault. If I had gone the other way, this wouldn't have happened!" moment. Essentially, it'll try to blame you either way.

      At other points I even got blamed for deaths that weren't my fault in any form or shape, and couldn't have possibly prevented, no matter what. And stuff like that.

      I realize they were trying to make a game where there is no good-vs-evil in the D&D way, but at times methinks they tried _too_ hard. They don't need to twist everything I say or do into sounding like a wrong, immoral, selfish or heartless choice.

      Just so it's not completely OT: B&W at times suffered from the same problem. There was more than one situation where being merely being incompetent (e.g., failing to save your villagers from an attack) got judged as being more evil than Satan.

      • by eison (56778)

        I don't see the problem. It's for character development. It's an essential part of telling a story. They can either force the omg it's my fault moment on your character regardless of your choice, take away your choice and have you watch a movie where it just happens to your character, or give up on telling a story and just make digital ping pong because they can't force the character into any interesting situations.

        • Well, I still have a problem with that. In fact, a bigger one if it's that. If it's _my_ character, then let _me_ play it. Don't role-play my part. I'm not an NPC.

          I think I even have a better example of the situation you describe: Grandia 2. There my character all the time just suddenly goes into "I'm an insensitive jerk" mode at times, and does stuff like being an unfunny jerk to of the girl who... well, is possessed by something which will kill her. Sorta like a demonic sort of cancer, if you will. She's

          • by Endo13 (1000782) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @04:14PM (#24310169)

            Clearly these types of games just aren't for you. That's fine. Your personal taste is for sandbox RPGs. But that doesn't make these games bad. These games are more or less like a choose-your-own-adventure book. You're not really changing the story significantly, but you do make some choices along the way that will change the ending somewhat. These types of games are for people (like myself) who like reading fiction to see what happens to the character. In these games, it's not your character. The character is not a representation of you in the game. Rather, you have limited control over the character and have the ability to make some choices for him. The fun part in that is seeing how you can change the character by the choices you make. If you're really feeling devious, it can be fun to see if you can force the character to act out-of-character by making certain choices. Some such games will allow that; others won't.

      • by lymond01 (314120) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @02:22PM (#24308443)

        That's a good point. Because they don't tell you what went right with your choices, only what went wrong (and nothing about the results of the other choice you might've made). While the pessimistic tone of the game isn't a pick-me-up, life can be like that sometimes too. Mugger pulls a woman into the alley in front of you. Do you keep walking and hope he just takes her money? Or do you try to help and possibly get her or both of you killed? Or the mugger killed?

        Life: there are no right answers, only different outcomes.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by huckamania (533052)

          Here's a hint: have some empathy and put yourself in the place of the woman. What would you want the other person to do?

          I'm sure you would want the other person to do something. Maybe call 911 or try to attract other peoples attention to your plight. I'm pretty sure you wouldn't be thinking about the well being of the mugger.

          "Life: there are no right answers, only different outcomes."

          Moral relativism is pathetic, hyper-materialism even worse...

      • by sw155kn1f3 (600118) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @02:39PM (#24308739)

        Did you ever read the book? It's exactly what the book is about! Gerald is between 2 fires: people don't accept him as human, fear him, treat more like witch, blame witchers for completely stupid things. So Gerald is always on his own side: not monster, not human, still has attachments and obligations to protect humans.
        The game caught this atmosphere perfectly. This is very good game based on the book indeed. Very talented. Questionable game controls, but gameplay is almost perfect.

      • I realize they were trying to make a game where there is no good-vs-evil in the D&D way, but at times methinks they tried _too_ hard. They don't need to twist everything I say or do into sounding like a wrong, immoral, selfish or heartless choice.

        I guess you never played with my DM. Everything every player did was turned into a wrong, immoral, selfish or heartless choice.

        • by Peeteriz (821290)

          Well, but you can choose between the selfish, cynical, stupid and purely wrong options.

          For example, classical story of a dragon assaulting a village and demanding the lord's daughter as lunch - which the hero has an emotional involvement with.

          If the story is set not in a fairy-tale atmosphere, but in a grim 'realistic' world as I and my tabletop roleplaying group tend to prefer - and where the players tend to be not superheroes, but of average abilities (i.e., a warrior PC is slightly more powerful than the

      • by Targon (17348)

        The key to The Witcher is that almost every decision you make isn't a question of right or wrong, good or evil, but more about how your decision affects the world. There may be no "correct" option to a situation, or every choice is the wrong one, and you have to deal with it.

        A big thing that makes The Witcher different is that many player decisions end up with major or minor side effects later in the game. Even the example you gave above(in the tutorial/intro chapter) has a very minor side effect that s

    • by steveo777 (183629)

      Well, first of all does she look like one?
      Turn people into newts (for short periods of time)?
      Weigh the same as a duck?
      Flammable?
      If you answered yes to the either of the second two, then it's safe to burn her. Good day.

  • So... TFA says Fable 2 will be like Fable 1? Exactly the same? Not unlikely.
  • We better hope there's no option to woo and marry men. It might destroy some conservatives, considering the last game to allow the option of homosexuality nearly caused them to riot

    http://kevinmccullough.townhall.com/blog/g/ad4fece3-3a1e-42bd-8546-295599024191 [townhall.com]

    • Why would you hope for such a thing? Apparently, only heterosexual men can play? What about women and gay/bi men? I really do hope you were being sarcastic.
      • He was. You see, a whole bunch of uptight Christians got butthurt when Kevin McCullough railed against the (incredibly tame) sex scenes in Mass Effect.
      • Well, first off I reject the premise that in order to play a game where you're a straight man, you have to be a straight man. As evidence I point to the fact that most people who have played "mario bros" are in fact not Italian plumbers, and most of the people who have played "Katamari Damancy" are not princes of the cosmos, nor have they ever rolled a katamari up to make a star.

        So... women and gay/bi men could play of course.

        Second, if you're deciding whether something you're reading online is sarcastic o

  • Fable 2 is Fable 1 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by BoberFett (127537) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @01:52PM (#24307869)

    From what I read of the first game, and now the second one, Fable 2 will be what Fable 1 was supposed to be. It wouldn't surprise me at all if they two games were extremely similar, with added depth in Fable 2.

    I enjoyed Fable 1 so I'm really looking forward to number 2 to see how much deeper the world is.

    • I wasn't impressed by the first Fable, so I'll be renting Fable 2 before I consider buying it. I suspect that Persona 4 will be a more rewarding experience than The Next Peter Molyneaux Game.
  • Let me know... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lordfly (590616) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @01:52PM (#24307873) Homepage Journal

    ...when it actually gets released. Anything Molyneaux says about his games, even showing pre-release demos or whatnot, is complete and utter bullshit. Remember the original Fable, which promised such a dynamic world that you could cut down forests and have them stay cut? Or planting a tree and watching it grow? Or how your actions changed the world forever? Yeah, not so much. You could get a haircut, though.

    • by Targon (17348)

      There is a difference between promises made several years before release and demonstrations about the current state of the game. Every game developer out there has made insane claims about what they were going to put in their titles, and most of them have fallen far short of the initial goal.

      Any game that is targeted at the console market will be limited by the power of that console. If the developers find that a console can't handle the demands of the game, features will need to be cut to make it work

  • PC (Score:2, Funny)

    by legoman666 (1098377)
    Better be available for the PC within a reasonable amount of time.... Otherwise I might have to.... *shudder* ...buy a console...
  • Fable 1 sucked (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anarke_Incarnate (733529) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @03:11PM (#24309281)
    The voice acting could hardly be worse if they tried (OOOH here's something fresh, a repetitive cockney accent...) The quests were contrived and did not really lend themselves to allowing you to be the type of character you wanted to be (The stealthy requirement for entering twin blade's encampment was a pain in the ass for a kickass warrior/mage).

    The story was "OK" but was missing huge parts. It felt dumbed down to the point I gave up on it.

    It had a lot going for it, but missed the mark in too many places to be an epic game. For one, and I realize it is a nitpick, the scars were a stupid addition, especially with how easily they were earned.
    The guild you joined was the "Hero Guild?" Seriously? THAT is the best you can do?.......and it allows "evil" heroes too....O...k. That wasn't just dumped in after a whole 8 seconds of thought.

    I liked the demon doors, I liked the combat system, to a degree, but the stupid orbs for experience were a waste of time. Why not just give me more experience based on combo kills?

    • by steveo777 (183629)

      I have pretty much the same gripes. The graphics, too, were overrated. For being an 'free to play any way' style game there were too many situations where being one class was a clear disadvantage. Mages aged faar too quickly (beyond reason). And yes. The story was about as lame as it gets. They seemed to have built the plot around a working game.

      Oh, and the interface which is apparently now fixed was a huge pain in the ass. You had to go through far too many menus to, say, eat an apple, or show an ex

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