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Fable 2

November 2nd, 2010 No comments

Fable 2 has a HUGE amount of content in it, but a lacking for how much of that is required for the storyline. When I say “lacking,” I mean you could commit hours and hours and hours to this game, but never get more than half-way through the storyline because you simply don’t feel like triggering the next instance. What happens when you don’t continue the story? NOTHING! There is zero encouragement to continue the story at the half-way point in the game.

But what about the game itself? It is pretty close to the first in the series, with the exception of changing both the spell engine and the introduction of firearms. That’s right, they added firearms and modified the ranged targeting system so that you aren’t just standing back and trying to snipe off the enemies’ heads with a bow and arrow. I think that the bow and arrow removal did nothing for the gameplay itself though. It does allow you to build your ranged attacks the way you want to (more DPS with a pistol, big damage with rifles, or somewhere in between with crossbows), but to me that didn’t really change the feel of things, especially with the ability to get a level in one of the skill abilities that allows you to tap “Y” at the right time after firing to immediately fire again. Suddenly the rifle turned into a DPS’ing cannon!

What about the spell changes? They honestly didn’t do a whole lot. Yes, you can now charge-up to the higher levels of a skill, but there is no reason to charge up the majority of the skills in the game because there is no mana bar. Yup, they removed the mana bar and in return made it so you would likely have to sacrifice HP to charge up to a higher level of a skill. Since I like to spam the “time control” skill so that I can fly past enemies and then strike them from behind, there was no reason to ever charge up a skill other than to either slow down time with the “time control”s AOE version or to farm gold in one of the later quests with the “raise dead” spell level 5.

So then what did you actually like about the game? The volume of content outside of the storyline itself. There really aren’t that many quests outside of the main storyline, but it is essentially a free-world. You can buy ANY property in the game essentially and either move-in or rent it out. You can marry (though I didn’t try to find out if polygamy was possible in the game) and eventually have kids in the game (grow a family, nurture them, etc.). I spent most of my game time (about a month and a half ago now) becoming a real estate mogul in the game (owned a blacksmith, couple bars, a bunch of houses, and I don’t even remember what else now).

There was a large change that made a big difference in gameplay from the first one, and that was the introduction of a companion. Think Navi from Zelda, but your dog can actually fight if trained enough, and helps you find those hidden dig spots and treasures in the game. It went from a game of guessing where to dig or find treasure to running around and waiting for your dog to let you know where to get the next bit of treasure or quest item.

But what of the storyline itself? Was it at least intriguing? Not really. They seemed to take the story from the first one and recast it for a different time in the same world. I did like how they continually tried to connect the first game and the second, but found the story incredibly short (as stated before). If I had actively tried, I likely could have beaten the main story in about 3 hours of playing. That’s right, a single sitting if I had followed all the in game cues to go through the story. The final boss fight was even disappointing. The hardest fights in the game are against the “trolls,” and they just require standing back and dodging their attacks while you shoot the targets on it as they appear and then take your final shot when the health bar of the troll is low enough. Pretty disappointing from a challenge perspective, of course, that’s not why I played the game through in the first place.

Then why did I play it through? Because of the side-story content. Buying up all the property in the game was a fun goal for a while, but I eventually did get bored. The dog was a fun addition, and its existence greatly affected my end-game “big decision.” But it simply bugged me to no end that the majority of the unique weapons in the game were all in the downloadable content. I’m sorry Microsoft, I’m not going to pay for Xbox Live just so that I can download an extra island of content in the game. Overall, the game was pretty disappointing, but entertained me for a brief period of time.

Fable: The Lost Chapters

January 18th, 2010 No comments

So I want to preface with: I really enjoyed playing this game! It was a lot of fun and consumed about 20 hours of playing time though I am sure that I could have finished it in half that time now that I know what the story line and main quests are.

If I were to use a star based rating system, probably give it a 4/5 overall.

Once you get past the outer impressions of the game and enjoyment of the gameplay, which I will discuss further later in this post because it was very good and worth noting, you come to the story line and how dismally short it is!!! Yes, the story line is too short! You rarely ever hear that about a game, especially an adventure game that doesn’t have a whole lot outside of the story line. I was expecting this long elaborate story line to ensue once I got past the training stage of the game only to encounter a handful of required quests. Maybe “a handful” is being harsh, it probably came out to a total of a dozen required quests to beat the game as it came out originally, and another half dozen required quests for the expansion of The Lost Chapters. I’m sure that with a game guide/quest guide, this game can be completed in 10 hours flat if so desired. Also, the ease of beating these quests with certain “power-ups” like multi-arrow makes the end game VERY easy to beat.

Now, with that being said, the rest of the game is awesome (too bad the story line is the majority of this game). The choice/decision system that is built into it is stellar, even if it feels dated compared to recent releases like Dragon Age. There are the decisions that change the way you look, like my decision to focus on my melee attack and deciding to focus on dodging instead of blocking (using the middle mouse button can be so NOT easy!) resulting in my character’s body being extremely scarred by end game. Also, I was able to own a brothel! That was totally unexpected for me and probably seemed random for all those (few?) readers out there.

The game also managed to implement and augment gameplay with a VERY customizable look to the character (barber shops, armor, tattoos, and what you look like as your character ages). There are also houses that can be rented, marriages that can be made, and side quests to do (there are probably as many if not more side quests that can be done). I didn’t do more than a few of the side quests, along with pursuing a bunch of the silver keys and demon doors to get access to some stronger gear in the game, and I still managed to upgrade ALL of my main abilities, add and max out an additional one, and max out all the agility and physique levels. Overall, the experience gain seemed to be exponential towards end game for those players who skipped earlier experience but now desperately needed the upgrades to defeat any of the monsters.

Overall, it was a VERY fun game! Story length was lacking, but I am most definitely going to be looking into, if not outright purchasing the second Fable game for my PC (so that I don’t have the temptation to take the game with me to class).

Categories: Inspired, Review Tags: ,

This Semester’s Classes

January 15th, 2010 No comments

So, I said in a previous post that I was going to be reviewing Evernote as a note taking a productivity tool this semester. Unfortunately that is much harder now that I have attended my first few classes. 2 of my classes discourage or just flat out forbid the use of laptops during class (the one that doesn’t forbid it only allows them on certain days that we are doing in class activities). For the third class, I’m not going to use a laptop anyways because that is algorithms and you just can’t easily type out those symbols most of the time required by the random proofs and equations that we will be using in that class. The remaining course is Ethics, so I will be using my laptop in that class, and hence will still be able to review the program, just not on the same scale as I would have liked.

The two classes that I cannot use my laptop in is Accounting 1 and Marketing. Overall, the classes seem like they will go well this semester, with the very structured accounting course making it much easier to deal with how much I don’t like the teaching antics of the professor, and marketing seems like it will be nice since the teacher does it very much on a discussion basis (I like). Similarly, Ethics will also be nice because it will focus on us working in small groups in class and then discussing our findings afterward. Algorithms is going to be tough, but as long as I keep up with the assignments and the reading of the textbook before class, I’ll be good.

This weekend is going to be a long weekend, which should be very nice and mean I’ll actually be productive (maybe). I have a new book that I want to read, so it may not be AS productive as I would like. Also, my friend is working on putting together a new project to be discussed further once we have the ball rolling with it. First steps first, we have to really hammer out the goals of the new site and such. Look for further posts about that in the future.