It's been said that Peter Molyneux can sell just about anything, and boy is that true. This is a guy that who can tell me, to my face, that he hates chickens because he grew up clucking before speaking. This is a guy that can convince you that his upcoming game is going to be the greatest thing ever, even if you know damn well that it won't. This is a guy who doesn't bat an eye when talking about how amazing Black & White and Fable are, despite the fact that he knows that he under delivered on both. This guy is good.
So it probably won't surprise you that Peter's upcoming game, Fable II, is being touted as the greatest role-playing game of the year … if not the entire century. Sure it's a tall order, but I'm sure Mr. Molyneux is up to the task. Okay, so it won't be the best RPG ever, but it is shaping up to be one heck of a great adventure game.
First and foremost, if you're expecting Fable 2 to be an epic role-playing game along the lines of Final Fantasy XII then you might as well stop reading right now. This is going to be a 12 - 15 hour game, 30 hours if you want to do and see everything. This isn't going to take you weeks to complete, but rather just a couple of days. But that's exactly what he wants, a short and sweet adventure game that you'll want to go back and play over and over again.
The game is set up much like the first game, you play a character (either male or female) who is tasked with … actually, I don't have a clue what the story is all about. All I know is that you will eventually do a lot of questing, work at a nine-to-five job, marry, have kids and die. Oh, and you have a dog that is able to seek out treasure and attack enemies, too.
The combat is surprisingly simple; you have one button for melee attacks, one for your gun and one for your magic. But it's more complicated than that, it's all about timing, combining the different attacks and knowing when (and where) to use the right kinds of magic. Master all this and you'll reap the benefit of earning experience and leveling up. But don't expect to earn money while questing; you're going to have to work at your job in order to do that.
In my short time with the game I was able to see my character go from a precocious little boy to a full grown man with a wife and kids. I was also able to try out the game with a friend (in this case my Defunct Games colleague, Patrick O'Connor). No matter if you're playing it one or two players, the game changes based on what you do in the world. And better yet, the world actually changes you. You'll want to go back through the game over and over and over again just to see how it will change.
The good news is the controls are solid, the game looks fantastic and I can see how this is going to be a lot of fun with friends. The even better (or at least more interesting) news is that you will be able to see all of your friends online, even if you aren't actually playing with them. You can literally walk up to any one of your online friends (represented by a glowing orb) and join their game at any time. What's more, you will be able to actually affect their world, sometimes for the worse. Imagine jumping into your buddy's world and killing his wife. One can only imagine what that is going to do to your friendship. Fable II - ruining friendships this fall on the Xbox 360!
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