My full review of "Fable II" is available at THIS LINK... (and, if you're interested, my annual Halloween column is at THIS LINK), but I didn't get to say everything I wanted to in the review because I didn't want to drop spoiler after spoiler on an unexpecting audience.
So, you're going to read some spoilers right here. If you don't want to hear about the storyline, DON'T READ.
OK, ready? Spoilers starting NOW:
I don't know if it properly came across in my review, but this was the toughest, most conflicted review I've ever written. I love this game. I'm on my second tour of duty through the game right now, I would recommend this game to anyone of the proper age to play it. BUT, the ending to the game got me awfully pissed.
Let me set the stage for you: I had been playing for 14 hours already on Tuesday, after playing Saturday from 1-7 a.m., Sunday from 2-7 a.m. and a whole bunch on Monday, and it was about 8 a.m. on Wednesday. Still, I had just gathered the third mythic hero and I wanted to tackle this last dungeon, even if it meant being up until 10 or 11 a.m., since I wanted to clear my Wednesday night.
Then Lucien appeared. I thought "OK, no final dungeon, just a final fight."
Lucien tells me "By now my men have killed your wife and daughter," and my jaw drops.... my hero, however, no reaction. And no cutscene or anything documenting the atrocity. Since there was no cutscene, I thought to myself, "OK, so I'm going to have a chance to run by my house and save them, right?" BUT NO.
If you're reading the spoilers right now, you likely know the next parts, with that ridiculously out-of-place scene with the sister (or brother if you were a female hero) and the music box, and suddenly, you and the music box are in front of Lucien. Again, I thought "OK, at least this should be a good fight!"
After freeing the three heroes and Lucien was defenseless, I pressed "X" for my bigass Hammer... nothing doing. I pressed "B" for my awesome Force Push move... nothing again. So, again I thought "awesome, here comes the fight!" ... but then I pressed "Y," shot Lucien with one bullet, and Hammer tells me "You killed Lucien!"
I did? Seriously? That was it? Seriously? I've never been so unsatisfied in my life. If all I had to do was shoot him once to kill him, what did I need the three other heroes for?!?
Here's how that scene should have gone: You wake up from that sibling dream on your back in Theresa's home base. You then have your one last chance to level up and handle business before storming the spire. During that time, if you go back to your house, you find your kid trying to fight off Lucien's men (after all, the kid always said she wanted to be a hero), and you can help defeat the men and save your family. Once in the Spire, you have that one last dungeon, followed by an ACTUAL FIGHT with Lucien, not a simple bullet.
I know there is the option to wish your loved ones back to life, but come on! Show a little emotion, the whole rest of the game had it in spades! (That's right, I just used the phrase "in spades").
And for God Sakes, what was with Theresa at the end there? "The Spire is Mine!" Is there something I'm missing that I should know? One of the main reasons why I am playing again so quickly is simply to find out if I'm missing the boat on her.
All game, I was wondering what angle Theresa had in all this and how she knew so much. Was it something from the first "Fable" that I'm just not connecting? I don't remember that game too well, anyway.
BUT, I did love this game. Which is why I was so conflicted writing the review. And here's ten of my favorite moments from the game:
1) Nothing was better or more shocking in this game than the slavery sequence. Was I the only one willing to sacrifice XP for my principles? And I think "Final Crisis" made this sequence all the better. Anti-Life justifies my pain!
2) An off-shoot of that scene, the best part of it, was the execution of your fellow slave buddy. I mean, this game is dark, what with the killing of every one of your family members and your dog, but trying to coerce players to execute friends? Intense!
3) I thought the ghost/seducing Alex part of the story was also fantastic, and it was one of the few tasks when I didn't know what the right move to make was. I opted to keep Alex for myself and she eventually became the mother of my little girl, but at the time I thought I was doing the "evil" thing by stealing the ghost's girl.
4) In order to open one of the Demon Doors, you need to propose to a girl in front of it. So I did, and the lady sure was happy. We went into the Demon Door secret area, found the house, and I made sweet sweet digital love to that dame. Then, I left her in the secret Demon Door area, where she would never be able to escape.
5) My spell of choice was the Force Push spell. At first, it was because the quick one-on-one bursts provided a fun Jedi/Dragonball/Peter Petrelli feeling, but later I abused the wide-ranging circular spell like a madman, having leveled it to it's pinnacle, using it to dominate The Crucible, banshees, and (in what turned out to be the final battle) the monsters conjured by the floating Shard. I highly recommend using the spell.
6) One of my hobbies became seducing girls in strange places hoping to get Xbox Achievements. I really wanted to seduce a girl to come have relations with me on one of those dingy beds in Wraithmarsh, but a zombie killed her on the way to the shack. Oh well. I took the next girl to whats-his-name-rich-guy's mansion in Bloodstone. Much better ambiance. I also wanted to bring a girl to the sunken pirate's bedroom, but when I raised the water level, I lost my chance for love.
7) By the way, I loved the insane people in Bloodstone. A little breaking and entering, and those people got vicious! Amazingly, after killing three of them, I still had that halo on top of my head.
8) And who could forget the torture club? I think even better than the actual torture was the initiation (who thinks of this baby chicks stuff?!?) and the spiel the guy at the door says about the different tortures for different nights of the week, ending in "Friday is poker night, of course."
9) As far as choice of weapons, I loved my bigass mythical hammer, which was seemingly made out of a purple meteor. I picked it up in the same place where I left that poor sap of a girl I proposed to. It may have been slow to wield for the better part of the game, but later on when you buy the ability to charge your "X" attack, bashing in foes with the hammer is the most satisfying attack in the game.
10) I think my favorite part of the game, for only comedy purposes, was the characters' reactions to you after your 10-year slavery absence. Hammer has just been waiting around in the bar for you. Woulda been nice if you came in looking for me, huh? Your wife acts like you've only been gone for a week, but , oh yeah, your baby is a toddler. Thanks a bunch, folks, I'm going to go save your sorry asses now!
Anyway, I did love this game... and hated it at the same time. We'll see how things go on my second tour of duty in Albion.