Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I've seen the future

And I was pretty pleased. I am, of course, talking about the Fable 2 DLC currently available on the Xbox Live market place. It comes in at a less-than-average 580 Microsoft points, and, being related to Fable, I snapped it up the day it came out. And finished it the next day. Despite having to do the first quest twice due to a glitch. And than taking my time. And having exams. It is short, I can't hide that from you. However, what there is, is pretty good, albeit missing any moral decisions. Included are three quests and glimpse of the future. Without wanting to give too much away, here are my thoughts.

The first quest takes place in a black and white world in which you must restore colour. While I do think they could have used this backdrop more thoroughly, it was an enjoyable quest. At least, it was the first time, but I'll get to that in a minute. The thing that really made the quest work were the enemies. Each enemy could only be killed through one of the combat disciplines (melee, ranged or Will) While I wouldn't describe it as hard in the traditional sense, being forced to use your different abilities added variety to an otherwise dull combat system. It got particularly interesting when the game started throwing different colours at you, and you were forced to play much more dynamically instead of just spamming level 1 fire spells.

The quest was somewhat undermined when, at the end, I got stuck in a wall. The game would only let me fast travel if I reset the quest, but, when faced with an eternity living in a wall, that seemed like a small price to pay. None the less, it was frustrating and to top it all, I ended up with far less of the collectibles at the end.

The second quest was quite amusing, as you were forced to dress up in various different costumes and perform expressions, which is always fun. Also, towards the end it had these interesting puzzles which were almost lemming-like. You had to summon various different types of Hobbes, each with their own unique uses. You had to use them to solve some environmental puzzles. For example, there was a toxic river which you couldn't cross. First, you had to summon an explosive Hobbe to destroy a wall which reveals a second summoning point. You use this one to summon a Hobbe with stilts to walk across the river and activate a switch. Once again, it wasn't very hard, but they were enjoyable enough to work out. I would have liked to see this mechanic expanded upon.

When you do go to see the future, you will, most likely, be unimpressed. There is hardly some ground breaking secret within it. It varies a little depending on your character. Sadly, little is the operative word. All you can definitely get from it is that Lionhead plan to make another Fable. If you wanted, you could read in to it that they are considering making a real time strategy game, but that is quite a stretch.

The third and final stretch of the game is definitely the highlight. Although not hard, as Lionhead promised, the arena poses an interesting challenge with its high scores. You are tasked with killing as much as you can in a tight time limit. It is not hard to get all the prizes, but I have yet to face the final boss, so it isn't easy. It also emphasises the need for two screens in co-op, as it is virtually impossible to actually co-operate. Instead, you end up fighting for the single view, making shooting specific things and getting the combo things virtually impossible.

As you would expect from Fable DLC, it comes with nice costumes and collectibles. This time, it even has some amusing achievements in addition to the normal collection ones. It has a couple of nice locations to explore, new characters to meet and weapons to use. The only obvious omission is the lack of any moral decisions there were so focal in Fable 2. I would have liked to see many of the mechanics expanded upon. None the less, for 580 Microsoft points I do recommend it. It is an enjoyable reason to return to Fable with some interesting quests.

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