Sunday 4 January 2009

Xbox obsession

I have spent an extremely large part of this weekend playing Fable II on my Xbox 360. Regular readers will recollect that my original Xbox was bought (at a time when I already owned a PS1, PS2 and Gamecube) in order to play the original Fable (only available on Xbox). Fable was the first console game that I ever finished (much to my eternal delight), so I was understandably excited when I found out earlier this year that Fable II was in the pipeline.

It was a foregone conclusion that Fable II would be amongst my Christmas presents - and although other games were received it has been the run-away winner in terms of gaming hours expended. It is the kind of game that has something for everybody. At a simple level it is almost a shooter, there are a lot of monsters to kill. But there are quests and side-stories and back-stories. There are things to collect (keys, treasure etc.) and there are mini-quests to complete. You can dress your character, change their appearance, buy a home and have a family. I particularly like the fact that although there are ultimate goals to the game you are under no pressure to complete these, and can pretty much wander around doing as you please. I also like the fact that the gaming atmosphere is extremely non-punitative. If you die all you lose is any uncollected experience, you stand up and carry on at the moment (in the middle of a battle) that you stopped at. It also lets you save at any time unlike earlier role-playing action/adventures - Tomb Raider and Spyro spring to mind - which have pre-determined save points.

The other great thing about Fable (and probably Fable II) is that once you achieve the objectives you can carry on playing the game and living in Albion, which (let's face it) is pretty much where I've been living this weekend.