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Fable 2 initially caused a few rifts in our household as me and my other half bargained over time on our one big screen. But after watching him play the game I was hooked as well, and found myself strangely happy to forgo The Apprentice or Scrubs in favour of watching this fascinating story unfold.
Fable 2 is an adventure game that provides a world in which your decisions can change both events and your character. The standard sort of decisions, fetch quests, fights and deaths all take on added weight as the consequences of your actions visibly impact the game. Not only do your choices affect other characters in the world and the environment itself, but they also make their mark on your character.
Doing good and honourable things takes you in a comely direction, whilst killing and scaring makes you look evil - complete with glowing red eyes. As soon as you step into the game you start an interesting and unique journey. Rather than being what you eat (although that does impact your waist-line), in Fable 2 you are what you do.
Before long I was hooked into observing the story and chipping in with advice and questions.
Much of this I learnt second hand at first. Unable to watch TV while my other half played, I settled down with a cup of tea and a flapjack paying mild attention to the on screen saga. But before long I was hooked into observing the story and chipping in with advice and questions. Soon after that I had created my own character and starting contributing to the scourging of Albion and the rise of what soon became our family adventure.
While the kids were up we got into the habit of playing some of the more mundane jobs. Ranging from wood cutting to serving beer, these provide an honest source of income. They are mostly just timed button press affairs and as such the kids can play them pretty easily - at the same time earning us money. It felt a little like we were beating the game here as this potentially immoral use of our offspring's time was outside the ethical game world and obviously couldn't affect our character.
. The simple statue gave me such a feeling of satisfaction to see - quite literally - how I had progressed.
Another family pursuit was posing for and finding statues in the game. As a hero in Albion you can get stone masons to make statues to tell of your renown. The clever thing here is that they are a snapshot of your physique and clothing at a point in time. Four or five hours later I stumbled across one of me and was surprised how much I'd changed. Not only had my waist-line and muscles expanded, but my attire and weapons were also entirely different. The simple statue gave me such a feeling of satisfaction to see - quite literally - how I had progressed. Much like looking back at family photo's does in real life.
As time has gone by our play of Fable 2 has ebbed and flowed - as it does with any game. But whenever we return to it I am always struck by what a satisfying place it is to spend time in. In fact the prospect of more levels and areas to download is most exciting to me as it offers another excuse to spend time there. Albion and its inhabitants genuinely feel like old friends.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: