Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Fable II and its Reviews

I've decided to write my essay on Fable II. Initially my plan was to write about the good/evil or pure/corrupt system, or how making the different choices in the games lead you to different scenarios, but I found a book in the library which has been very interesting. It's called Creating Emotion in Games, by David Freeman, and offers many tips on making game characters, stories and worlds more interesting and life-like through the medium of... emotion. This is the area I'm going to focus on in my essay.

Now on to the main subject of my post: The reviews I have read on Fable II as part of my research.
I've noticed a great divide in the reviews here about the game, ranging from "a total waste of money" to "It's just Fabalous I say... just Fabalous. Or should I say... Fable-ous!"
Many of the reviewers seemed to like the game, although a lot of comments were made about how disappointing it was that two players could not play their own full characters during co-op mode.

Of some of the more extreme comments made against it, it seemed to me that these players were either angry because they had heard a great deal of hype about the game and were not given what they were promised, or they are stuck in this idea that the game needs tons of "cool armor", "awesome weapons" and a "big boss fight" at the end. This following comment in particular showed me how some players just don't understand what game designers need to do to encourage the games industry to develop.

fable 2 is simply stated an entire let down. you CAN'T DIE!? and there is NO MANA!? this game was built up so high with promises that ended up being total lies. The co-op is terrible. NO ARMOR!? The dog finds all the keys and items for you. The game was set up to be the easiest RPG in the world. They should have added difficulty settings. It is not better or more genuine than the past 10 years of Final Fantasy! i can't believe they said that. The game is 100% spoon feeding, from the trail to the dog to the no death. Why are there still Rez Phials?!? The choices for clothing and weapons and spells are way to minimal.

Yeah, I know, it makes me cringe too.

There's nothing wrong with a game that doesn't let you die. There's nothing wrong with a game that has no mana bar [seriously, WTF. Mana bars are just an imaginary limitation that someone introduced one day. I may be a bit on the agnostic side to say this, but I know enough to know that "Thou shalt design games involving magic to have mana" was not a Commandment. And there's nothing wrong with a game that has no armor. Does PacMan have armor? NO!

And why should they have added difficulty settings? This game is about the story, be that the main story you can follow, or the stories you help create yourself, such as when your character marries someone in the game and you have a baby boy named Ross, and then Alex divorces your character because you're always being chased by the law because you may have gotten caught killing a few people because you wanted to see how many you could kill one by one before you got caught, and then you decided to resist arrest instead of paying the fine. And then your son gets taken away when somehow your husband died after they moved to another region and you're unable to look after Ross because your destiny to find the three other heroes won't allow it.
I did find it somewhat humorous to return home after ten years to find that my caucasian spouse and I had managed to produce a dark skinned child, as if the first one had escaped like a pet and Alex had replaced it with one that was not quite the right shade. But I still felt the loss when social services wouldn't let me have him after Alex died.

...Anyways, back to my point. It's about the story. I mean dude, the clue is in the name. You do know what "fable" means, right?

It also intrigues me how many people have mentioned how long it took them to "beat the story". I may just not quite be down with all the terms seeing as I'm not a hardcore gamer, but the idea of "beating" a "story" doesn't quite make any sense to me. Sometimes, it's the journey that's important, not the destination. If you rush through the game without taking the time to observe and appreciate the characters, then of course you are going to be diasappointed.

It's times like these I realise how far I've come on this course. A year ago, I would have seen that person's comment and thought, "Oh look, an angry person."
Looking at it now, I'm thinking, "Oh look, an angry person who doesn't have a clue."

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