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November 08, 2004

Finished Fable in Fifteen

Fable is nowhere near as big as Knights of the Old Republic. Its story is not as complex, its scope is smaller. But I'm ready to play it again from start to finish, and that's something I'd never say about an RPG of this sort.

I think that the authors of Fable have come up with a very happy medium, and that is because of the fighting system. I spent most of my time in Fable battling, sometimes with (dumb AI) allies but mostly singlehandly, and I enjoyed the hell out of it. I cannot think of any other fighting game I've ever played that allows such a wide arsenal of offensive and defensive weapons to be weilded in real time. The targeting is nice but not too easy, the spell gradations are very cool and the variety of enemies is really nice.

While it's true that the boss battles leave quite a bit to be desired as boss battles go, I don't particularly like boss battles, and so it suited me just fine. It took me three days to beat Bastila in KOTOR and I was really about to give up completely. When it came to fighting the last boss, I just said forget it. It wasn't worth a one minute cut scene after having played the game for weeks. But I think the folks at Lionhead understand that even in a great fighting game, it's a lot more fun to hack and slash legions of enemies than to conquer big monsters.

I went pretty much straight for legendary good-guy status and spent almost no time interacting with anyone who wasn't directly involved in my quests. I think part of that has to do with the fact that it's far easier to select and emply use a variety of weapons than it is to use the variety of expressions. I am at a loss to explain why it was so easy to map the skills onto my right thumb but the left d-pad was a monstrosity of cascading menus. If I wanted to laugh or belch in someone's face, they will have walked halfway across town before I could engage them, but in a second, I could slow time, zoom through them, summon a creature, make myself berserk and triple club them with a flame augmented obsidian greathammer. Then again, I can belch at people in real life.

I cannot describe how delicious it is to have this array of weapons and spells at your disposal. But playing them has left several other dimensions that the game has completely unexplored. I'm going to explore them while I patiently wait for Amazon to deliver Halo2 to my doorstep.

Posted by mbowen at November 8, 2004 08:37 AM

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