A reader goes into detail on his pick for this week’s Hot Topic, and explains why he thinks Fable II is the best game Microsoft’s ever published.
Halo will hog all the limelight here, seeing as the Xbox became the ‘shooter box’. But first person shooters have always left me somewhat cold. And Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath was always better with the creative ways of capturing bounties alive (not the chocolate bar) and the best ammunition in a game ever.
But my favourite has, and always will be, Fable II. It’s Fableous! Still one of my favourite role-players of all time, I won’t deny it was rough around the edges, even at the time, but is still a joy to play over 10 years later.
The main story is seriously flawed, Lucien should not have found the Shattered Spire before the hero is even introduced! The hero and Lucien’s forces should have found it together. The way it goes down as we see it, Lionhead Studios wrote themselves into a corner where Lucien turned into a bland, irredeemable monster who was neither as complex as promised or as entertaining as a flamboyantly pure evil villain could be.
But in the smaller moments, in the side quests there is real verve and wit. There’s a beer called Hoptimus Prime in it! It’s the best quality of beer in the game, naturally and the description of it reads thus: ‘This is as good as beer gets. Transform yourself into a drunken pillar of health and strength with this superhuman brew.’
The humour is worthy of the dearly departed Sir Terry Pratchett himself and is as close to a Discworld role-player as we may ever get. Another great line comes in the loading screen that references the first hero of the first game. It tells us that he attacked the Guild of Heroes, killed the Guildmaster and carved the words ‘Your health is low’ onto his forehead. Even if you’ve never experienced the first game, that’s still really funny.
For 2008, the combat was actually good. Not going to give Dark Souls or Devil May Cry any sleepless nights, but good; which was quite a feat was for a role-player with real time combat. And I don’t mean good for a role-playing game, I mean actually good. The melee, when you chose a fast weapon, had a nice weight and rhythm – stacking the spells was clever and you could target different sections of an enemy with your firearm. Which meant that you could shoot… skeletons… in the crotch! In the crotch! And watch gleefully as they get blasted apart in a cloud of dust and bone shrapnel.
What also helped to set it apart in the Microsoft line-up was its unique quirkiness. Which has been so desperately absent from the Xbone’s library. And Microsoft don’t seem aware how bland and unimaginative their software portfolio is. Yes, third party releases help mitigate this somewhat, but that’s the problem with third party stuff, the competition has it too.
I tell you, if Fable IV were to come out next Christmas or the one after and reviews as well as it should after such a long time away, I would get Microsoft’s next console in a heartbeat. It would be that significant to me. I can never resist a game that has ‘Jes the right amount of foooooamm…’
By reader DMR
The reader’s feature does not necessarily represent the views of GameCentral or Metro.
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