Updated: 10/6/04; 3:35:20 PM.
ology dot org -- Eric Tilton's weblog and photo journal

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

I decided to try Fable again last night, and a funny thing happened: I was captivated. As you may recall, I had gotten frustrated when I hit a mission I couldn't complete or skip, so I decided last night to bypass the mission and do some other stuff to buff my character up. I did so, and discovered I was (a) lacking a properly badass sword, and (b) lacking the spells that would actually help me be a badass swordsman (like multi-strike, and time stop, and ghost sword). I picked those up and buffed some other attributes, and suddenly that mission was like sweet delicious pie.

So what's changed for me? Well, I've got a much better handle on the combat system, mostly. And now that I have, I really like that I can play a magic-augmented sword wielder. I like that I found myself an obsidian katana, and that I was able to make it spark lightning and fire. I still like the audioscape in the game -- that villagers will respond to things that you've done. Even though the actual interactions with villagers are contrived (do this thing, and the "i like you number" goes up, do this other thing and it goes down), the way they ambiently respond to you feels nice and organic. I also realized that, after hours of taking savage beatings, my poor avatar's face was completely scarred up. Which was kind of cool. I also finally realized you could actually teleport from anywhere (not just the gates), and you could also teleport BACK to that location you left from.

There are clearly flaws. The camera doesn't control well, so you can't see other people and stuff in the environment from close up. The main character's walking animation is weirdly hulking. The NPC "interaction" is mostly simplistic, including the whole "get married and buy a house" thing. The levels are short and have overly long load times. I hit one mission that wanted me to sneak, and I had no sneaking ability, so I had to go putz around in the swamp and level up some first -- RPGs really shouldn't force you to have a particular skill. The beginning of the game promises lots of branching quest paths, but I'm about six hours in and mostly it's just one quest after another. (Sometimes you find a quest in the environment, but I really expected the quest "job board" to be a lot fuller.) Oh, and the minigames (gambling, fishing) are kind of pointless.

Ultimately, though, it gives me the ability to play a magic-slinging sword-toter, which I always enjoy. It gives me some flexibility over that character. And it gives me an environment with enough traction that it feels interesting to me. There's not much below the surface, but it's fun to just run around in the grass for a while. For whatever reason, it kept me playing for four hours last night :).  9:32:42 AM  (comments []  

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Last update: 10/6/04; 3:35:20 PM.