Friday, October 30, 2015

Fable - The Lost Chapters - 20/20 hours

I think magic might crash the PC version of Fable. It happened about two hours ago, and I was briefly worried that I might have to completely scrap my new character's build. After three reloads, I think I figured out the problem - it doesn't like it when you cast a projectile spell while the animation for a previous casting of the spell is on the screen. So with a little more dodging and a little less fireball spam, I was able to stay primarily a mage.

Not that it was super vital I did. For my second playthrough of Fable I deliberately ignored the main quest and concentrated on exploring - finding fishing spots, opening Demon Doors, and rummaging around in people's houses. Ironically, that last one gave me more evil points than finishing 75% of the main quest as a ruthless murderer.

I have three basic thoughts about Fable.

First, it is really easy. You get an item called a "resurrection vial" that will bring you back to life when you're killed. Even with the less than optimal controls and camera of the PC version, I managed to make it through 20 hours without using a single one. And on my second character, I did some moderate sequence-breaking while eschewing the Physical Shield spell.

Second, it's really fun. The big draw of the game is not really the story or the characters (which could get a bit dour at times), but the world of Albion itself. Everything is so bright and colorful, there are tons of silly little jokes (eating tofu gives you good karma, the book that teaches you how to be sexy is called "The Sock Method"), the people of Albion will cat-call you and make mention of your deeds (although due to a glitch in the game, my second character was credited with vile acts performed by my first character). It's just got this freewheeling, anything-goes cheerfulness that is immensely appealing.

Third, everything Fable does well, the sequels do better (yes, even the much-maligned third installment). There was some controversy in the second game's choice to eliminate the very possibility of dying, and in the abstract that does seem like a mark against the game, but as mentioned before, in the first game, that possibility was merely theoretical. Aside from that debatable decision, everything in Fable II is better - the level and enemy design, your clothing options, the relationship minigame with the townsfolk, and their reactions to seeing you around, the real-estate management (which I never really got into because it requires a huge time and gold investment and also mass-murder) mechanics, the story, and the off-the-wall humor. Fable III made some missteps, and you could argue that certain choices (such as making the available expressions purely context-sensitive) were unforgivable, but even then I think it built on what Fable established.

Playing this game was a real nostalgia trip for me, and while I didn't gain any startling new insights into the nature of evil (killing people is . . . bad?), I did have a fun and breezy time inside an appealing fantasy world. I really don't want to leave . . .

So I won't, at least not right away. I will be taking a couple of days off (a week at most) to replay the Fable sequels on the console. It's been a ridiculously long time since I played any of my console games, and it will be nice to sit back with a couple of easy ones.

No comments:

Post a Comment