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Fable II!

One of the most anticipated games of the year has finally arrived, but will Fable II be able to live up the hype that the game around it?

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Hero Blood: Fable II takes place around 500 years after the events of the first Fable, which means that the world has made several new innovations, such as the discovery of gunpowder.

You start out as a nameless young boy, living in poverty with his sister, Rose, in the city of Bowerstone.

When they discover a mysterious music box that trembles with power upon your touch, your life turns upside down.

After your sister is murdered in front of you and the killer horribly injures you, you are sent on a journey to find the man who did this to the only person left in your family.

As you are nursed back to health by a mysterious gypsy, she trains you to become strong and ready for the task at hand; finding the killer.

Man's Best Friend: The first thing that you will notice that is new to the Fable series is the addition of a dog that will accompany you on your quest.

Your little dog will follow you into any situation. Good, bad, fights, pubs, homes, anywhere you go your dog (which you can name) will go with you.

He will fight for you in combat as well. He leaps at enemies and attacks with his entire doggy might.

He is also a very useful aid to you. He will bark when he finds treasure or somewhere an item is buried that you can dig up.

You can even train your pup to become an even better combat specialist or learn to search for treasures better.

The addition of the doggy companion is fantastic and your dog eliminates the feeling that you are traveling alone. All you have to do to keep him around is treat him nicely and feed him when you can.

Slice And Dice: The combat in Fable II has been slightly simplified, meaning that it is tremendously easy to fight multiple enemies at the same time.

The battling that you engage in has a larger emphasis on combining ranged attacks, melee attacks, and magic attacks in a single skirmish.

The melee attacks are mapped to the X button, the ranged attacks are mapped to the Y buttons and the magic attacks are mapped to the B button.

This incredibly simple control scheme makes combat surprisingly easy. It is not difficult at all switching between melee, ranged and magic attacks during a single battle.

Variety Is The Spice Of Life: Fable II allows you to do pretty much anything that you would like to do, noble or otherwise.

Whether you want to be a gracious saint or a cold-hearted monster, you have total freedom over what choices you make.

You have the liberty to break into houses, steal, rob, murder, pillage, attack, help, aid or enforce justice as well as many other countless activities at any time during the game.

One of the most improved areas of the game is the enhanced social interaction.

You can interact with anybody you see in the world around you using a variety of new emotions.

From the fart, to the thumbs up, to the bird, and even posing, you will be able to show off some kind of emotion relating to how you feel at the moment.

Herpes For All: Returning is the ability to marry a nice woman, (or man if you prefer) though this time you are able to have children.

You will be able to raise a family that you must support by doing odd jobs like Bartending and working as an Assassin.

New to the series is the addition of the condom and sexually transmitted diseases.

If you choose to play it risky, you may contract a number of diseases that would be better not to have. These are realistic and fun aspects, though a little odd by gaming standards.

Clean And Refreshing: The visuals in Fable II are quite impressive and are a huge step up from the original Fable, as expected. It is also impressive by today's standards too though.

Water glistens in the sun, light reflects off of shiny surfaces, character models are sharp and your environment is impressively detailed.

The audio is also strong, as the voice-overs are phenomenal at all times.

From the mysterious gypsy and key story characters to common civilians, everyone in Fable II has a unique voice that is coupled with often-funny dialogue.

The only problem with the technical side of Fable II is the occasional animation stutter. Occasionally you or a Non-Player Character will stutter or hitch when they move.

In a game that is so technically perfect, it can be quite noticeable when it happens.

Tag Team: One of the biggest additions to Fable II is the ability to play through the entire game with a friend over local co-op play, or over Xbox Live.

The local co-op play allows you and a friend to sit down next to each other and take on the world as a team.

The co-op play that Fable II features is absolutely tremendous, in that it allows you to buddy up with your pal without much hassle. That's not to say the feature is flawless however.

The main character is your single player Hero, while your invited buddy will take the role of a "Henchman".

The Henchman serves pretty much as only a combative aid to you, the main Hero.

While the Henchman can fight and move and even flirt as much and as well as the Hero, he cannot buy property, talk to merchants, start quests or even outfit himself with new gear or clothing during local co-op play.

This sometimes brings a bit of a damper on the gameplay, as the Henchman will often be looking to interact with the world as the Hero can.

Another glaring flaw comes in the camera. When playing local co-op, neither of the players can control the camera and you instead have to rely on the camera angles that the game produces, which is not ideal in most situations.

When playing co-op over Xbox Live, the experience is a bit smoother. The invited player will be forced to play as a Henchman, though during the game he will be able to buy ability upgrades and earn experience. When the co-op session is over, the Henchman will transfer any experience earned or abiltties upgraded to his Hero.

The co-op is amazing either way you play it, though the camera flaw that arises in the local co-op could have been improved.

Rent vs. Buy: All in all, Fable II lives up to the often-outrageous claims that have been made by Lionhead Studios.

The incredibly addictive gameplay (which tends to rival The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion in some ways) gorgeous visuals, amazing interactivity, massive depth and scope and outstanding co-op make Fable II a game that no body should miss for any reason.

Report Card

All in all, Fable II lives up to the often-outrageous claims that have been made by Lionhead Studios and quite frankly, that should be all the convincing you need. (Krakrabbit.com)


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