games

Fable 2 Bits

I was never a huge fan of the original Fable, but I’ve enjoyed its sequel despite some annoying bugs and interface issues.

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The introductory part of Fable 2. The mysterious music box and the great snow effects really help to create a "magical" atmosphere.

What stood out:


  • The exaggerated, Renaissance-age art style that doesn’t use any 90 degree angles.
  • Lack of high-fantasy tropes such as orcs and elves.
  • It’s pretty funny! The whole game has a very British, Monty Python esque sense of humour.

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    One of the game's more impressive enemies.

  • No dialog trees — all conversations are driven by performing expressions.
  • Expressions are varied and learned throughout the game by reading books, gaining renown or reaching other statistical goals.
  • Each NPC has a visible list of likes and dislikes that includes expressions, objects and places. This allows the player to alter their opinion of him based on the expressions he uses, the presents he hands out and the locations to which he leads the NPC.
  • Getting NPCs to follow the player is used for numerous purposes such as going on dates, returning to one’s home to have sex (protected or unprotected, the latter of which can result in having a baby or catching an STD), bringing sacrifices to an evil temple or gathering a crowd for a performance.
  • Magical statues scattered around the world also respond to expressions — mimicking their stance results in the statue deflating and opening up a previously locked door.

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    The Hero in all his glory.

  • Throughout most of the game, the easiest way to gain money is to actually work for it by playing various minigames.
  • Every time the player encounters a new enemy, the camera zooms in on it and an animation plays out with the enemy’s name displayed beneath it.
  • Each enemy has some distinct movement and attack characteristics, and a unique way of entering the playing field, i.e., burrowing up from the ground, dropping down from trees, being summoned by magic, etc.
  • Enemies drop experience orbs as they’re hit, but the biggest payout is only released when they’re finally vanquished. The type and amount of experience left behind depends on how well you do in combat and what tactics you use to vanquish your enemies.
  • Experience points are split into strength, skill and will, with a fourth generic field being able to contribute to either of the three. This ensures that although players can choose a particular playing style, they will always have access to a melee, a ranged and a magical attack. This also has the added benefit of making the player feel like a “badass” without sacrificing any possible advancement types, i.e., just because you like magic doesn’t mean you can’t also be a sharpshooter that wields a giant hammer.
  • Renown is gained by completing quests, but it’s also a prerequisite for embarking on more significant ones. Additional renown can be gained by commissioning statues of the player’s character (which requires posing using one of the extendable expressions) or paying bards to sign tales of the player’s past deeds.

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    The paupers of Fable 2.

  • Towns are generally full of different stores that offer facial hair alterations, tattoos, makeup and haircuts. It’s also possible to play gambling minigames and even request a new nickname from the town crier. Different town criers will offer unique monikers based on their location, and further nickname options present themselves as the player gains renown and commits various deeds.
  • The “breadcrumbs” are an optional feature that guides the player to his goal. Goals are set automatically, but can also be manually changed to point to quest locations/NPCs or stores. A fast travel option is also usually available.
  • The player’s dog reflects the state of the character and can be taught tricks that mimic or respond to the player’s expressions. The dog also fights in combat and sniffs out chests and buried treasure, and his skills can be upgraded by purchasing training manuals.
  • Entering houses with open doors isn’t considered breaking in, but the player often has the option of simply bashing his way through. This is a crime, though, as is plundering the possessions of someone’s home (whether you were invited in or not). Finally, no one likes a guest who stays too long, so your hosts will call the guards on you if you stick around long enough for it to get dark outside.
  • Committing crimes can result in a fine or “community service,” another source of quests.

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    The Knothole Island downloadable expansion.

  • Eating and drinking can not only restore health, but also provide bonus experience and alter the character’s weight and purity statistics.
  • Each area in the game has a wealth/prosperity rating that affects the stores’ prices. Stores also periodically have sales and can even run out of stock, usually prompting a situation where they’ll buy the player’s items at a high markup.
  • The player has the option of purchasing virtually any location in the game. This allows him to redecorate homes, rent them out or move in himself, or adjust selling prices of businesses. Owning property also rewards the player with extra money that gets periodically added to his wealth whether he’s playing the game or not.
  • The game has a heavy emphasis on consequences, giving the player only a single (invisible) save slot and enforcing certain gameplay aspects throughout the whole game, i.e., once you get a scar, you keep it for a long, long time.
  • You can continue to play the game even after you’ve passed the main quest! This is always a nice feature if implemented well, and it works great in Fable 2. There are even unique quests that only become available after Lord Lucien is defeated!
 Fable 2 Bits
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