Fable II (Xbox 360) review
"I slew phantom pirates to steal their legendary treasure and shot stone gargoyles just for a moment's reprieve from the uncouth lies that spilled from their mouths. I invested in a town rotten with corruption and helped turn its fortunes around and I spent a hell of a lot of time playing fetch with my dog. There’s a lot to do in Fable 2, even if a lot of it's repeated endlessly until the appeal is unredeemable dulled. But, in how it all slots together, it makes something memorable."
After a few hours of random adventuring with my faithful hound, I started to hear rumours about some forlorn ghost sulking around near an isolated statue deep in the middle of the bandit-infested grasslands. Being the curious sort, I visited the local food store (which I had recently purchased, so as to enjoy the generous discount offered) to stock up on copious amounts of soul-confirming tofu, then set out upon my merry way.
Many bandits died along the way. But they had coarse cockney accents which probably meant they were pure evil. Like that chimney sweep from Mary Poppins.
I found the dejected ghost moping around, sulky and alone. After the startling realisation that I could see him had set in, he started telling me of his tragic past in a gloomy Liverpudlian accent. He had been engaged to a beautiful girl once, a girl he adored and worshipped. They were set to be wed, but, on what should have been the happiest day of his life, he was left standing at the altar, rejected and heartbroken. He took his own life shortly afterwards, but found his overflowing bitterness and resentment was too strong to let him pass on peacefully. He implored me to help him take his revenge and revealed a dastardly plot to gain his ghastly revenge. I was to make his ex-fiancé fall madly in love with me, then, when she could not imagine her life without me in it, snap her heart in two like a dry twig. Seeing as I found the fairer sex following me around in a daze every time I came in contact with them, this didn’t seem like too hard a chore.
So I visited the ghost’s lost love as she whiled away her time at a tavern. Cold to my advances at first, I found the best way to thaw her was to use the ‘Seduction’ technique my spiritual benefactor had bestowed upon me, which was to trace out a feminine hourglass-figure in the air, then follow it up with a heart-grabbing double-point! It worked all too quickly and, shortly, the girl was looking at me with loving eyes, and spilling her heart out. She confessed she had been engaged before, but had panicked at the last moment, leaving her man broken and suicidal.
I now had a choice. I could avenge the ghost and leave her in the very same state she had once left him, or I could pursue the relationship and get me some.
We didn’t sleep at all that night.
Even though I now had an adoring girl on my arm, I felt bad for the ghost who I had betrayed. I left the next morning for his haunt, killing bandits along the way because it’s the done thing to do. I expected the ghost to be rightfully angry with me, but he was relieved, glad that I could see beyond his petty hatred and happy that the girl he loved could find peace. With his soul cleansed, he was no longer bound to the mortal realm and vanished in a flash of blinding white light.
It seemed everyone was to be happy. The girl and I soon got engaged and all we needed was to find ourselves a home to share. We strolled around her favourite town until we found a place that she liked, but it was expensive; well out of my current price range. So, for days, I toiled away at the local blacksmiths, hammering away at the anvil, earning money on a drip feed. The swords I produced were poor at first and worth little money, but, as I toiled, my mastery grew and soon I was constructing the most sought after blades in the town, fetching a respectable wage. Eventually, we had the capital needed. We bought the house and wed shortly afterwards.
At first, things were great. I was an adventurer, so I had to be away for days on end doing mundane tasks like saving the world from tyranny, but she was always be there when I returned. Perhaps the never-ending demands for sex became a little tiresome, but it was a luxurious drawback at worst. I did my best to keep her happy, both in the way of bedroom gymnastics and by giving her way over the household allowance she requested for the upkeep of our home which I had slowly begun stocking up with expensive antique furniture at her request. Sometimes, I would hear of her complaining of my absence from back home while I was knee-deep in holy sanctuaries crawling with the restless dead or trying to escape a den of bloodthirsty werewolves, but it felt good to be missed. The welcome home I got each time was heartfelt, and she knew who I was and what kind of life she was agreeing to before we got married.
Things started to turn sour quickly. I returned home one day to furious demands that the house she had personally picked out for us was no longer good enough for her and that not procuring a grander establishment immediately would lead to her leaving me. Seeing as I had just invested in a new flintlock rifle, my cash flow was low, but I wanted to be a good husband, even if I felt my wife was being vastly unreasonable. I stopped trying to save the world from tyranny, and instead took on well-paying mercenary work. I cleared basements of goblin-like hobbes, slew hulking ogres and led my cross-dressing transvestite stalker into the waiting arms of slave traders for a tidy sum. Later, I attacked the same slavers for the bounty placed upon their heads. I sold my spoils of war, I went back to the smithy to toil for hours on end, and even took on extra work as a woodcutter and a barman. I scrimped and saved while the world remained unsaved. I returned home, battered and exhausted, with a huge pile of cash, wanting nothing more than the embrace of my wife, a good night’s sleep and a morning of submitting to whatever house buying whims I might be subjected to.
I was greeted with a high-pitched hissy-fit, the stamping of feet, and the storming off of the woman I married. I never saw her again.
My mountain of cash was quickly spent on swank new clothes, attribute-raising buffs and enough property to make the Monopoly man green with envy. Free from my marital obligations, I bedded anything that looked at me twice, leading to gangs of love-struck women following me around any town or village I visited. With my romance more casual, I had more time to work on my attack against tyranny, which was well appreciated by the populace that hadn’t been murdered in my lengthily absence from the quest. My liberation from a domineering wife meant the world’s liberation from evil was a more realistic dream.
In time, the appeal of keeping up my womanising lost its gleam, and I stopped the sordid, sticky nights featuring multiple women and not enough sleep. I started spending more time with the raunchy jewellery seller, out of convenience at first as her stall was set up outside my house, but a real attachment started to grow. Shortly, I stopped seeing other girls all together, and looked up the jeweller every time I was back home. Money had been building up fast thanks to my empire of properties that I’d been renting out, so I decided to move her in with me. I bought the biggest house in the market square so she could still be close to work and it wasn’t long before I made her my second wife. She was already accustomed to how my adventuring would keep me away from home for long periods, and accepted it. She made no petulant demands for my time and my libido, and even bore my first child. That the child was promptly kidnapped by hobbes was a small speed-bump in an otherwise smooth relationship.
Sure, sooner rather than later, I saved to world with the help of a small band of heroes (sooner because there wasn’t a huge amount that needed doing to destroy this particular blight). I slew phantom pirates to steal their legendary treasure and shot stone gargoyles just for a moment's reprieve from the uncouth lies that spilled from their mouths. I invested in a town rotten with corruption and helped turn its fortunes around and I spent a hell of a lot of time playing fetch with my dog. There’s a lot to do in Fable 2, even if a lot of it's repeated endlessly until the appeal is unredeemable dulled. But, in how it all slots together, it makes something memorable.
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