|System: X360||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Lionhead Studios||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Microsoft||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Jan.27, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Along those lines, Lionhead also wanted story progression to be quite clear. As such, if players dawdle and dither a bit, a glowing trail will dance on the screen, showing them how to get to the next objective. Although again, the devs don't want to railroad gamers, so the line will disappear for a while if you decide to go off and explore on your own. This little line should make the game more accessible to a very wide array of gamers and their varying levels of patience. In other words, players can quickly advance the main story, making the game feel more like an action/adventure title rather than a more plodding RPG.
Also, I think players really will enjoy the dog in Fable II. He is your companion throughout your adventures. It will serve as another guide post for you; it will root out hidden treasures and artifacts; and it will serve as an early warning system and proven battle companion. Plus, your dog will mirror your character's personality. In the twenty minutes I had with the game, the dog proved to be very useful and never hampered my progression.
The quality of presentation in Fable II is quite remarkable. As previously stated, the game world is huge. The towns, woodland trails, shops, castles, and people all look and seem as if they are part of a living world. The visual style is that of a highly-detailed, cartoon-like world. For example, roofs bow in an exaggerated manner, with a smooth curve that connotes a cozy, magical (yet lived in), fairytale world. Also, camera angles are used in very cinematographic ways. For example, all the cutscenes can be viewed from several different angles and perspectives simply by pressing a button; players will quickly notice that the game is full of these cinematic details. Despite the game's mature rating, there is no blood and gore - again, keeping the style a bit more on the cartoon-side.
Other than the intriguing graphics, the sounds in Fable II are culled straight from our world. Mundane items are brought to life through realistic sounds and add a level of detail not found in most titles. Furthermore, the voice over work in Fable II is excellent. The sheer amount of text and actors used in Fable II ensures that the world sounds like a real, living place.
Finally, this game will employ a stellar online multiplayer component via Xbox LIVE. Rather than having to wait through tedious lobbies and loading screens, players can instantly invite their friends into their game on the fly. When hosting another player, you will be able to set the terms of payment. What are terms of payment? You will actually be able to designate what percentage of gold and experience your buddy will take from the partnership. That means joining up with others will help you more easily advance the plot of Fable II and they will be truly rewarded for their efforts. Additionally, Fable II goes beyond the GamerCard. We know that going berserk and killing your friend's virtual family is not only possible in Fable II; it's permanent. Your actions will leave an indelible mark on their Albion. But be wary, your online reputation and experience level will reflect your actions in the world.
Look for Fable II to be another hit RPG when it releases in October. The deep setting, interesting stories, and engaging online component will almost certainly make this title a must-buy for fans of RPGs and action/adventures. Stay tuned for our full review in the coming months!
CCC Editor / News Director