In May 2020 we already looked in detail at the debut of the fairytale-like Fable series, this time we would like to focus on the fantastic sequel Fable 2. Released in 2008, the action-RPG not only won the BAFTA Games Award for best action-and-adventure of the year, it also garnered dream ratings from the press and is considered one of the best-selling role-playing games on the Xbox 360, but behind the scenes was the production In many ways a ride in hell for the developer Lionhead Games, founded in 1996. The previously independent game manufacturer had two attractive offers on the table after the immense success of Fable. The two giant corporations Microsoft and Ubisoft were very interested in the British studio, but in the end the Redmond-based Xbox group won the upper hand. The main reason Microsoft secured Lionhead Studios as its Xbox studio was to secure the role-playing game series exclusively for the Xbox 360 era. For Microsoft, Fable 2 was a blatantly important title in the planned portfolio of the next generation of consoles. The investment paid off, because Fable 2 surpassed the debut in almost every respect. We clear up what makes Fable 2 the best part of the franchise in this retro flashback.
Half a millennium is moving into the country
With Fable 2, the team around Peter Molyneux turned the hands a full 500 years into the future and gave the fantasy land Albion enough space to recover from the terrible attacks of the devilish knife Jack from the first adventure. The leap in time also gave the creators the opportunity to create an advanced, yet familiar world. The hero of Oakvale, protagonist from Fable and Fable: The Lost Chapter, is long dead in this new present and as the conqueror of Messer-Jack went down as a legend in the history of Albion.
<img src = "https://www.pcgames.de/screenshots/960x/2020/09/Artwork1_Fable2-pc-games.jpg" alt = "You can live here: Even the first concept drawings exude typical fable magic and show a wonderful game world.”/>
Source: Lionhead Studios I Microsoft
During a heyday of peace, the heroes' guild expanded to an impressive size. However, through arrogance, arrogance and the belief that they were above the laws of the land, the union was brought down by the people of Albion with pitchforks and flails. At the beginning of Fable 2, heroes only exist in the form of sagas and stories. The last memory of the time of the heroes, the remnants and ruins of the Heroes' Guild, sank in the depths of the Bower Pool.
Poor and undesirable
The charming story of Fable 2 (buy now ) begins, similar to the predecessor published in 2004, during the childhood days of our character. The either male or female main character does not grow up well-guarded in a rural village with fertile soil, but as a poor orphan in the dirty streets of the capital, Bowerstone. Due to the early loss of her parents, she can only rely on his big sister Rose, who has to struggle tremendously with the huge responsibility and the daily worries about money, warmth and food. The greatest wish of the two siblings is to be able to live in the beautiful Fairfax Castle as luxuriously as the wealthy Fairfax family, which is popular in the city. In the streets of Bowerstone, however, there is a rumor that Lord Lucien had lost his wife Helena and their daughter to an unknown illness, has since suffered severely from depression and is increasingly withdrawing from the population. In addition, Lord Lucien is said to have a great, even fanatical, interest in objects and documents from the old kingdom – an ancient civilization whose true history is known only to the most well-read in Albion.
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Just a wish away
<img src = "https://www.pcgames.de/screenshots/960x/2020/10/vlcsnap-2020-10-19-15h41m57s735-pc-games.png" alt = "Help where you can: Bring back his bottle of wine to an old drunkard? Yes why not?!”/>
Source: PC Games
In all the gloom, of course, there is also hope for the two siblings: A traveling trader causes a stir in the middle of Bowerstone's old town. The stranger is said to be selling all sorts of relics from the old kingdom, including a mysterious music box that can be used to fulfill a wish. Rose quickly dismisses this as humbug, but is convinced of the artifact's usefulness by a mysterious woman named Theresa. As a result, the siblings make it their mission to help the residents of Bowerstone in order to win one or two gold pieces for the purchase of the music box. As is typical for Fable, it is entirely our decision whether we want to do good or bad deeds. For example, we can support the drunkard Pete in the fight against his alcoholism or free the Balthazar warehouse from parasites. Either way, the children manage to get hold of the music box as the intro tutorial continues. But this fizzles out into nothing after expressing the wish.
After the two children have gone to bed sad and dejected, they are surprisingly brought into the imposing halls of Fairfax Castle by Lucien's men that night. He also seems to have a lot of interest in the music box, but even more in the children themselves. As it turns out, the two siblings carry heroic blood, are direct descendants of the hero from the original fable and, according to a prophecy, a big one Threat to Lucien's plans as yet unknown. Now we witness how Lucien murdered Rose and threw us out of the castle window of his study – believing that the fall also eliminated us forever. Badly injured, we are found, raised, trained and prepared by Theresa in order to live up to the purpose mentioned by Lucien, to save Albion and to avenge our beloved sister Rose.
<img src = "https://www.pcgames.de/screenshots/960x/2020/10/vlcsnap-2020-10-19-15h43m09s587-pc-games.png" alt = "Problem solved? Lord Lucien is convinced that he has got rid of us. The bad guy will still experience his blue miracle – we promise!”/>
Source: PC Games
In the approximately 14-hour campaign, it is our task to recruit three more heroes, who were named in the prophecy, to grow into a powerful fighter ourselves and to put Lucien down. Although the story is convincing, as in the predecessor, no masterfully told story should be expected. The Fable series lives a lot more from its rich game world, which is also the biggest plus in Fable 2. The different boroughs of Bowerstone, the newly established counterpart Bloodstone and the beautiful landscapes of the small town of Oakfield are just three of the many great areas to explore. Our actions have a major impact on the game world. For example, if we support the petty criminal Rufus at the beginning, then later in the game the old town of Bowerstone turns into a lawless place where crime and poverty reign.
Source: PC Games
In Albion you can expect countless side missions as well as various activities such as the Fable-typical demon doors and the newly added gargoyles. The nasty stone beasts are scattered all over the game world and complain about our inability – at least until we've filled their big mouths with lead. One of the biggest innovations in Fable 2 is that our everyday adventures are no longer funded by quest givers. Instead, we have to work hard and invest cleverly for the cash injections that we need again and again. Chopping wood, pouring beer, doing blacksmithing – small mini-games give us the feeling of actually leading a life in Albion. Those who prefer to earn their living in a morally questionable way can help out with resettlements or in the assassin guild. The money earned can then either be invested in new equipment, objects or buildings.
<img src = "https://www.pcgames.de/screenshots/960x/2020/10/vlcsnap-2020-10-19-15h45m55s813-pc-games.png" alt = "Dancing, flirting, burping: Interacting with the people of Albion is much easier thanks to clever innovations … and more fun!”/>
Source: PC Games
Furthermore, the interaction system has been properly screwed, which makes it a lot easier to participate in social life. Every person we meet on our travels has their own profile, which tells us which expressions, hairstyles, places or gifts they particularly like. There is also some information about the sexuality and character of the NPC. Of course – as in the 2000s fable – a family can also be started.
Lionhead managed well to continue the threads established in the predecessor and to provide more depth in the right places. Apart from that, probably the biggest innovation was the loyal companion and best friend of our character: a dog! It helps us fight and explore the game world and is significantly influenced by our morals and our actions. In contrast to the debut there are not only "good" and "bad": "spoiled" and "pure" are new possibilities to adapt the attitude of your own character (and that of the dog) even more precisely to your own ideas.
No claim, no problem?
Fable 2 is still a fantastic game, but there are also some aspects that disrupt the flow of the game and get angry. It is particularly noticeable how intensively Lionhead pushed the simplification of the series with the second part. The lovable dog is far too effective in helping us to find treasure chests, which unfortunately harms the urge to explore. In addition, there is a golden line that always leads us to the current goal. The desire for adventure, secrets and surprises is reduced considerably. When it comes to equipment, too, Lionhead went unsatisfactory. Instead of an armor value and a lot of variety of items, there is typical everyday clothing that suits the Fable world, but harms individualization. The only significant influences from clothing are increases in attractiveness, elegance and creepy appearance. In the area of weapons, which now also include firearms due to the leap in time, the implementation was better solved, but here too Fable 2 lost touch with its more complex genre colleagues.
<img src = "https://www.pcgames.de/screenshots/960x/2020/10/vlcsnap-2020-10-19-15h44m04s993-pc-games.png" alt = "There is more: The combat system is clearer, but also a lot simpler than in the original Fable.”/>
Source: PC Games
The skill system and the available skills are strongly reminiscent of the debut, but the demands in this area have also been reduced. The three areas of strength, ability and willpower are available again, but especially with regard to magic, some fan favorites have been deleted from the previous one. From now on there are only eight spells, which can be improved several times, but hardly change in terms of effect even when upgraded.
Source: Lionhead Studios I Microsoft
The mentioned problems are annoying from time to time, but the positive aspects of the second fable far outweigh them. Albion has (so far) never shown itself from a more beautiful side and especially the strong Fable flair and the useful extensions of the lore make Fable 2 the best part of the series. If you walk for the first time through the ghostly ruins of Oakvales, the starting area from Fable and Fable: The Lost Chapters, or if you enjoy the wonderfully beautiful scenery of the Bowertümpel, the game world designed by Lionhead still exudes its unique magic today. The storyline of the adventure is not particularly long, but if you really want to find every gargoyle, open every demon door and discover every secret, you can easily spend 50 hours and more in Albion. And believe us when we tell you: They are really worth it.
What is your opinion on the second part of the charming Fable series? Did you play the action RPG on Xbox 360 back then? And how much are you looking forward to the long overdue comeback of the series, which is currently being developed by Playground Games? Write us your opinion in the comments.
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