GOONL!NE Review: Fable II

Developer: Lionhead Studios
Publisher: Microsoft Games Studios
Also on: N/A (Xbox 360 Exclusive)
Console Played on: Xbox 360
Release Date: Friday October 24th
Age Rating: PEGI 16, BBFC 15

Lets make a little list here.

- Yes, there are severe bugs found in the game and they will be addressed.
- Yes, co-op isn’t as free-roaming as you’d think.
- Yes, the dog is awesome.

No, none of the above does not take away what Fable II is and that is a great game.

Peter Molyenux has hyped his games up so much in the past that while they do turn out to be good games, they become disappointing also. Fable II is not one of those games that Molyenux hypes beyond infinity that turns out to be a half and half game.

This time, he’s kept the hype to a minimum but it was still one of the most anticipated titles for the Xbox 360 alongside Halo 3 and Gears of War and it’s sequel since it was unveiled back at E3 2006.

So, this is how it is.

The game takes place in Albion and it’s 500 years after the original Fable on the Xbox, that’s half a millennium for your information so the GameTrailers review which makes it out as half a century is falsely informed. Fable II’s main gameplay element, like the original, is choice. Choose to be male or female, choose how to live your life, choose your approach to bring up your family but most of all, you get to choose the most important aspect.

Become good…or evil, quite simply, while the main outcome of the game doesn’t effect on neither, everything else does. Whatever choices you make may make people like you or hate you, that’s what makes Fable II unique, it’s all about choice. A main example of this is at the start of the game

At the main outset of the game, you and your sister are doing favours for gold in the game to buy a musical magic box and when you get that box, your sister makes a wish for it.

Oh I bet she wishes she never made it now. She wishes to go up to the castle lived in by Lord Lucian who calls you into the castle to help him with some stuff. However, just as that happens, he discovers that his plan could be in danger of failing because you and your sister so he kills your sister and attempts to kill you too.

10 years pass down the line and you are now older, much wiser and combat wise thanks to Theresa, a woman who saw you lying halfway dead in an alley in Bowerstone 10 years earlier along with a dog you and your sister took in just before her death.

It’s that same dog that will guide you along your journey to revenge your sisters death and stop Lucian’s plan of domination of Albion.

But during the start of the game as you run about Bowerstone doing messages, one of them is to collect 5 arrest warrants at the very start of the game. Once you collect them, you have a choice.

Give them to a crook who will pay gold for the warrants and Bowerstone will be a… how do I say this lightly… dump?

But give them to the guard who asks you originally to find the warrant’s and Bowerstone is a town which is economically booming… wish we could say that for the real world.

It’s your choices in a game which effect so much of the game as to if it been be a great Albion or an evil Albion.

The combat in Fable II is fantastic. One button combat depending how you attack. X being your sword attacks, Y being your gun and B being your magic attacks. Something, while they are one button attacks, you’d think they’d clutter up the controls but believe it or not, they don’t. They are used with relative ease, you can even switch weapons so easily and quickly to give a decent attack out of it.

Infact, you can power up your magic attacks and physique styles very easily with the experience points you gain throughout the game.

As for the dog, the very same dog you took in at the start of the game, he comes with you on your journey. You can play with him, praise him, punish him etc etc all the things to do with a dog basically. He can also find you treasure by finding either treasure chests or tells you where to dig a hole in the ground to find a bit of loot.

When Peter Molyenux introduced the dog, we thought “this was it, he’s finally gone off his head”. We thought the dog would never work in the game at all especially when he said that we would come to love the dog.


Not anymore it aint. The dog is probably one of the best things in this game, infact I’ll go as far to say it even is the best thing in this game. At one point, in a battle while on the way to a destination, my dog has gotten seriously injured and I try to see if I have a dog ellxor for it to heal it but I had none and I couldn’t wait for the dog so I had to go on without.

And the moment I left it behind a set of closed doors, I thought my dog was gone forever, I would never ever see it again and from that moment, I felt absolutely lousy.

But happily, in a co-op room (Which we’ll get to in a minute) I was joining, he appears out of nowhere, still hurt but he is back and he is still alive before he gets cured back in Bowerstone.

As for Co-op, it’s probably the biggest disappointment in the game. For what it’s worth, it is a good feature which could have been capitalised on if done well but it has 2 serious flaws.

1 – When in a co-op session with a friend, you are only able to go so far in it before being restricted on Live when it should be free roaming or at least restricted to one region with a friend agreeing move on to the next area.

2 – While you can bring over whatever experience you have gathered from your single player to co-op, you can’t play as the hero that you made him/her to be. Instead you get 3 defaults of Man and Woman each from Easy, Neutral and Evil.

Lionhead need to bring this into the co-op so they can make it entertaining.

Fable II isn’t a game which is a technical achievement which is a shame considering it should be one of them games that should be but it does have it’s moments where it does to be fair to it.

It really looks great and is the best looking Xbox 360 title this year (Well, it is until Gears of War 2 comes out), the scale of things to do to keep you from progressing in the story of the game liking buying a house, getting married, having kids, perform bigamy,get a job, buy stuff so basically put the list goes on and on.

In the game, if you wanna skip all the stuff which makes Fable II great and go through the story it will roughly take around 8 – 10 hours to complete depending on what rate you take to complete the story in the game.

But there are some bad stuff about the game… and they are pretty big and obvious ones. I stated about the co-op earlier but there so much more then that and most of them are bugs.

The camera in co-op is not the best camera in the world and while there has been worse in games, to be honest, they could have done better with the camera although the restrictions in co-op may have something to do with it.

The game is absolutely easy, you’d expect a challenge out of it except it’s absolutely easy to fight through the game. As well as that, when you do die in the game, you easily come back to life losing only EXP and have a scar on your face, infact, I went through about 1/4 of the way through the game before I eventually died for the first time before coming back to life.

As for a couple of achievements you can do in the game through co-op, its best you do some of them on local co-op especially one achievement where you can end a social move together, end it together and you’ll get an achievement.

And yes, the rumors are true, there is a gamebreaking bug in the game BUT we tried that on a different account so we haven’t got it on the account that I properly reviewed the game on but Lionhead have said that fix has been made ready, all they are waiting for now is for the green light to put it up on Xbox Live to make it available as a patch.

And the game does jump a little with the audio in the game so hopefully, that will be in the patch when it eventually is made available soon enough.

Final Thoughts: But when you look past the bugs, when you look past the restrictions in co-op and when you look past the easiness of the game, Fable II is a fantastic game.

Like I said at the top of this review, Molyneux can hype his games beyond inifinty but Fable II, while hyped but not as much, is different.

Where Molyenux’s games can be a good yet also disappointing game somewhat, Fable II delivers in every way.

Story: 9 – A diverse and unique story not seen in any other game in a industry filled of shooters and First Person Shooters.

Gameplay: 9 – Simple one button combat plus the ability to be who you want to be makes it compelling.

Graphics: 9 – It is right now the best looking game on the Xbox 360 this year (or until Gears of War 2 is released anyways)

Lifespan: 8 – If you ignore the elements which makes the game unique and go through the story, it will take you 8 – 10 hours but even then, your missing out on what makes this game fantastic if you do that.

Overall: 9 – Fable II is a fantastic title for the Xbox 360 and is one of the must buy Xbox 360 titles since the console’s launch nearly 3 years ago and is one of the best RPG’s this year with some contention from Fallout 3 and Valkyria Chronicles.

But in the end, Fable II is a must buy for the Xbox 360, it is simply incredible.

3 Responses to “GOONL!NE Review: Fable II”

  1. [...] for now, we can go back to Fable II which is of coruse, absoutely amazing as shown here in our review of it. Infact, it’s so compelling, I did something which I haven’t done in a long time [...]

  2. [...] But if you thought Gears of War 2 was gonna have all of the limelight, you thought wrong. Peter Molyneux’s Fable II was finally released and we absoutely loved it. [...]

  3. Peter Molyneux to Tease 2 New Projects « GOONL!NE Says:

    [...] most likely at GDC 2009 next year according to Molyneux himself. Coming off the back of Fable II, which is absoutely brillant, we cant wait to see these projects in action and when the first info comes out on X-Play tonight, [...]