First take: Fable II

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With games like Fallout 3, Gears of War 2 and LittleBigPlanet highlighting my calendar, I wasn’t sure if I was even going to be able to make time for Fable 2, the much-hyped sequel from Peter Molyneux’s Lionhead Studios. I spent a few hours poking around the fictional land of Albion, and here’s some mental notes I took.

- OK, I know that online co-op isn’t available yet, so I can’t speak to that. However, I’m trying to figure out if I’m annoyed or intrigued by the floating orbs. The orbs represent your friends playing the game online — all you have to do is interact with the orb and your buddies can jump into your game (or you into theirs). The problem is, they can sometimes be an eyesore. I had one of my “friends” practically floating over my face while I was trying to forge a sword for some extra cheddar. That sucked.

- If you’ve played God of War, then you’ll have no issues slicing through people in Fable II‘s tweaked combat system. I built a female character dressed in crimson wearing an eyepatch, and there’s something quite satisfying about mauling a group of bandits with some who looks like that. It’s like the badass commander I made in Mass Effect with a scar over her eye who really didn’t have any problems killing the last of an ancient alien race. I’ll make sure my character falls somewhere in the “chaotic good” category, with some evil deeds mixed in. Let’s see how that works.

- I need to play with the dog more. He’s helped me find treasure, he’s really easy to train, and I enjoy the fact that I have an unlimited supply of little rubber balls to play fetch with him. Just to be sure, I wanted to see what would happen if I tossed a ball (by mistake) over a cliff. The answer? Nothing. Nice to know that I can’t kill my dog via raging stupidity.

- Albion is huge. Thank goodness for the shortcuts on the maps.

- I like Albion’s general look, which was apparently inspired by forest scenery in martial arts movies. I always think adventure environments should carry a sense of wonder, and Albion has certainly done that.

- Maybe it’s my self-diagnosed ADD kicking in, but I get really annoyed when a bunch of citizens start talking to me all at once. I’m one of those people that likes to listen to every conversation, mainly for fear of missing something important, if not entertaining.

- I could spend all day chopping wood and hammering steel to make money in the game. It’s strangely addicting.