Fable 2 Part 4: The Goldun Riter!

By Shamus
on Feb 9, 2009
Filed under:
Game Reviews
Here is the final stroke on the dead horse that is the plot of Fable 2. You might want to read part 3 if you missed that.

The usual spoiler warnings apply.

Oh, it is such a bother being as incredibly awesome as I am.
Oh, it is such a bother being as incredibly awesome as I am.
You and world-class jerk Reaver make your way through the winding secret passages under his mansion. Along the way he brags about past evils he’s done, the people he’s murdered for a laugh, and the debauchery he’s engaged in. He’s hundreds and hundreds of years old, having renewed his life over the years at the cost of countless innocents.

Lucian’s men make it down into the tunnels, and Reaver is cavalier about mowing them down with his ‘leet marksmanship. Oh, I have to kill waves of men using my fabulous skills. How droll. Aren’t I awesome?

Reaver is the classic GMPC. The author-insertion character who is smarter, wittier, and better than everyone else. Here is someone you may hate, but the designer won’t let you kill their precious avatar. Instead, you have to follow him around and do what he tells you. While you wade in and fight the bad guys he gets to stand back, look cool, and get all the snappy one-liners.

As a bonus, Reaver talks down to you constantly, demeaning you and insulting you even as you fight to protect him. And since you can’t speak, you can’t respond in kind.

Once again: Lucian wants this Reaver guy alive. Theresa has never explained why we need him. He’s given you three reasons to kill him now and is obviously a massive liability. There is no justification for not immolating him and walking away. This was by far the most frustrating part of the game for me, as I “fell” for his stupid schemes by designer fiat.

I actually wouldn’t object to a character this annoying, as long as:
1) You get to settle up with him in the end.
2) He doesn’t kill the momentum of the game by overshadowing the main villain.

So it’s a double fail for Reaver, although if he’d been a regular mid-game villain instead of a mandatory albatross of an ally he could have been a lot of fun.

You exit the escape tunnels and find yourself on a beach where you join up with Hammer and Garth. Now all four heroes are together in one place. Reaver keeps insulting everyone and trying to leave. He doesn’t care about any of this, and would like to get back to his life of hedonism and treachery as quickly as possible.

You get outside of Reaver’s super secret escape tunnel of secrecy and find that Garth and Hammer – who have never been in this town before – knew where you were going and where to meet you?

Lucian pulls out all the stops, and throws everything he has at you.

Everything except that teleportation kidnapping that worked so well on Garth earlier in the game. Lucien just teleports in more soldiers. You also have to fight a huge shard. (A big floating pyramid thing.) It’s not a bad boss fight.

The battle ends, and Theresa teleports in. She talks Reaver into joining by pointing out that if Lucian destroys the world, Reaver won’t have anyone to sacrifice to the Shadow Dudes. Reaver agrees, and then she teleports all of you back to the Guild Cave.

Wow. That teleportation sure would have come in handy when we were trying to get here. Or when we needed to escape. Or when I was with the Shadow Dudes. Or pretty much at any point before now.

Back at the rock spire you’ve been using as a base of operations, your group gathers on the stone roof for the Ultimate Ceremony of Ultimate Destiny. You stand in the middle, the three heroes stand on pedestals around you and beams of light shine, with you at the nexus.

And still Theresa has not explained to anyone what this will do. You are treated like a child by the writer. The writer-surrogate characters all boss you around, and you simply do as you’re told without ever having anything explained to you.

Then, Lucian teleports in. Theresa teleports away. Lucian does a little requisite bad guy posturing, and then the other heroes are all kidnapped via teleport.

This teleporting business is about as lame as it gets. At least Lucian is using his teleporter again. Why didn’t he come here before? How did he know to come here now?

Lucian then taunts you with the knowledge that he just got done murdering your entire family. Again. Spouse, kids, everybody. Then he kills your dog. Then he shoots you in the face.

I haven’t tested to see if he kills all of your families if you’re a bigamist. I’m kind of curious about that one.

Anyway, what exactly does this guy have against the player, really? His senseless bloodlust negates the one minuscule thing that his character supposedly had going for him, which was that he was so distraught over the loss of his wife & daughter that he wanted to bring them back to life or re-shape the world or whatever. But if he’s so upset about their deaths, then how is it he has the desire to gun down defenseless women and children who aren’t even a threat to his plans?

You awaken in a dream world. You’re a kid, living on a farm with your sister. She suggests the two of you run around the farm and play together all day.

But if you’re smart you’ll turn around and click on the bed, which will skip the entire, “Waste a bunch of time without explaining what in the flaming hell is going on” section of the game.

After playing with sis and romping around the farm, you go to bed. You are awakened in the night by music. You leave the farm and head down the road. Eventually you come to the music box, the one that fizzled at the start of the game. As you pick it up, you hear your sister say, “You’ve passed the test. Your reward is the opportunity to face your enemy, and the means to destroy him.”

Suddenly, you are back in the real world, at the entrance to the Spire. You’re holding the music box.

Never is it explained how you survived a point-blank shot to the face. Or what that dream world business was all about. Or how you got to the Spire. Or what “the test” was, who issued it, who judged it, what it judged, or why you passed.

It is the quintessential Deus Ex Machina: Suddenly, you are winning for no reason.

Victory was taken from you by writer fiat. Now it’s being foisted on you by writer fiat.

The ceremony of ultimate (albeit ambiguous) destiny takes place on a precarious platform at the heart of the Spire. Only good guys use handrails.
The ceremony of ultimate (albeit ambiguous) destiny takes place on a precarious platform at the heart of the Spire. Only good guys use handrails.
You enter the Spire. Lucian has re-created the Ultimate Ceremony of Ultimate Destiny here in the tower, with the other heroes around him and himself in the center. Colorful beams of light pour into him, although as before it’s not really clear what the beams are doing. You walk up to him and are prompted to press a button. When you do, the music box takes away the colorful beams coming from the other heroes, leaving him vulnerable.

It’s the classic tabletop gaming trope: The entire game is just the author wanking off as he pits his Ultimate Evil Guy against His Ultimate Awesome Weapon. You win not because you were brave, strong, or resourceful, but because you did what you were told. The artifact did all the winning for you. I actually don’t mind not having some crazy multi-stage boss fight, it’s just that this moment was scripted in such a way as to take all of the drama out of it. At the very least, the player should have some idea what the heck this box is and what advantage it will give them before they hit the button.

You can then shoot him once and win the game. He falls and dies off screen.

I hope. Note that you’ve been shot by Lucian twice and fallen out of his high window. Here, you shoot him once and he falls off screen. (And if you angle the camera just right you can see there is water below.) Since you survived a bullet and a fall, it makes sense that you’d want to double-check Lucien and make sure he’s done. But once he falls out of view, he’s forgotten and nobody speaks of him again.

Whatever you do, do not waste time listening to what he says, hoping that some logic will emerge from this wreck of a character. If you take too long, Reaver will kill-steal the final boss from you and no that is not a joke.

Theresa will then teleport in…

Give me a break.

…and stand where Lucian was standing. She says the Spire is now ready to deliver a wish, and as the big hero you get to make it. Will you:

  1. Bring back to life everyone who died in the making of the tower? Thousands of people.
  2. Bring back your loved ones. Your sister, your family, your dog.
  3. Get a big bunch of money. According to Theresa, it is “more wealth than you can possibly imagine”, etc.
Lucky for us that the hero arrived once the Spire was ready to make with the wish-granting, but before Lucien actually made his life-long wish. That can’t have been a very large window of opportunity.

Before you get all click-happy and make your choice, know that:

  1. Those “thousands” of people never actually appear anywhere. You just get a generic letter from “The People of Albion” thanking you for bringing their loved ones back to life. And good points. I saw no other difference in the gameworld when contrasted with the other endings.
  2. You don’t actually get to see your sister again. I wanted my sister to come back and live in the Castle, like she wished for at the beginning. No, you just get a letter saying she’s happy and doing fine here in not-part-of-the-reachable-gameworld-ville.
  3. “More money than you could imagine” is blatant false advertising. You get 1 million. There is actually a property in the game that costs 1 million (Castle Fairfax, Lucien’s old home and where sis wanted to live) so it’s entirely possible to make this wish and be broke five minutes later. My evil character has just finished his trip to see the Shadow Dudes for Reaver, and he’s got 6.8 million. A million bucks isn’t really enough to tempt him into giving up his beloved killer black dog. There is just no reason to pick this.

And while we’re at it: I can bring back thousands and thousands of people I don’t know, or a couple that I care about? How does that work exactly? Why can’t I wish for the return of “everyone killed by Lucian”? Surely adding my few people onto the Spire Death Tally isn’t going to push the magic wish machine over some arbitrary limit.

Actually, screw that: My wish is for Reaver to drown in his own urine. Or maybe I want to do that “nuke the world” thing that the last guy wished for. Or maybe I’d like to have my youth back that Reaver stole from me.

The wish made, Theresa then teleports the other heroes away. Reaver poofs away to the other side of the world and nobody asks if you would like to, you know, settle up with him. In fact, nobody ever mentions your lost youth, ever.

Because nobody cares. This story isn’t about you. This is a story about the writer’s ultimate evil bad guy versus his author-insertion know-it-all and his Artifact of Mysterious Destiny. You are a supporting character – a silent one at that – and what you think or feel is unimportant.

Theresa then declares that she owns the Spire and teleports you away. “Begone”, she tells you.

And so the story ends with the writer laughing at you. “Ha ha! I got you! You totally fell for it! She totally pwned you, dude!”

If you were wondering why your character obeyed this idiot woman no matter how much her goals ran contrary to yours, now you know: The writer didn’t actually have the brains to outsmart you, so he simply railroaded you into doing stupid things.

If you actually want to outsmart a player then you need a good writer with a fine touch. And then you can fool some of them. (You’ll never fool all of them. You can’t beat people in aggregate.)

Allow me to present the first ever Twenty Sided Goldun Riter award for egregiously bad storytelling.

goldun_riter.jpg

(I considered retroactively awarding this to the original Fable and Indigo Prophesy as well, but I didn’t want to steal Fable 2’s thunder by making it share the limelight with the narrative blunders of the past.)

This four-part series, unlike Fable 2 itself, has a surprise ending:

I liked Fable 2, even though the story was award-winningly horrible. I realize this sounds like heresy coming from a “story first” critic like myself. Perhaps you feel like I’ve betrayed you by claiming to have enjoyed the game after dragging you through this four-part, seven thousand word odyssey of inanity. I’ll try to justify my appreciation in another post, which will hopefully soothe your rage and earn your forgiveness.

I wrote this series because I think stories are important. I don’t expect Lord of the Rings when I start up a game, but I do expect the story to relate world that is internally consistent, with characters that have reasonable motivation. (Particularly the player character.)

Also, I’ve written it as a service to you. I found the game much more enjoyable once I knew the plot and I stopped expecting it to deliver satisfaction. It is my hope that if you do play the game at some point, this series will blunt your misery and allow you to focus on the parts that can provide entertainment. Perhaps you will even have a laugh at the expense of the writer.

The award winning writer.

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202020262 comments? This post wasn't even all that interesting.

From the Archives:

  1. Cybron says:

    “If you take too long, Reaver will kill-steal the final boss from you and no that is not a joke.”

    That’s actually the only worthwhile thing to come out of this story. I find that absolutely hilarious.

  2. Cyndane says:

    There were two things I liked about the escape sequence with Reaver. First of all was him saying a line to the effect of, “My ship, the Reaver, is out here. I tried to name my ship the Narcisist, but the name was already taken.” After listening to him talk all that time about how great he was, that line made me chuckle quite a bit.

    The second bit was a part of the cave/escape where six guys were lined up just right, shooting-gallery style. I mean, they even fell down in one hit from my Master Flintlock Pistol, as opposed to the two or three that everyone else in the escape took to knock down. They also did not shoot back, or move, or anything. Now, being a hero that focused primarily on Skill, I shot five of them down before Reaver shot the last. I get the impression that they were all there for him to shoot really fast and brag about, but he bragged about shooting one.
    Reaver: “You can tell your friends how I did that, but they probably won’t believe you.”
    Me: “Won’t believe how you shot one guy? I saw you do that earlier to poor Barnum. This guy put up as much of a fight too. Bravo.”

  3. Sam says:

    The plot of this game hurt my brain. I won’t be picking it up, mostly because I don’t have a 360.

  4. Eric says:

    I found Reaver killing Lucien to be hilarious as well. Fable 2 is a pretty fun game, but having experienced the original Fable, I didn’t expect much out of the story, so I didn’t bother putting in any amount of effort when it came to thinking about it. As such, I was able to immensely enjoy Stephen Fry’s performance as Reaver.

    The whole three wish thing is bogus. The only one that makes even the remotest amount of sense is reviving your dog (and family, I guess, but I had already sacrificed my wife to the Shadows). The game goes out of its way to make sure you understand that the dog is the only thing an evil character is supposed to care about. I don’t see why any evil character would want a piddly amount of gold instead of their geriatric attack dog.

    And believe it or not, according to IMDb, it took five people to write this atrocity.

  5. Crystalgate says:

    Fable had the problem that the author tried to make it serious by involving murder and torture, but couldn’t back it up with writing. It looks to me like whoever wrote the Fable 2 plot tried to outdo the first game by introducing more atrocities instead of improving the writing.

    Anyway, does the second choice you back dog the gameplay feature? If so, then that’s the obvious choice.

  6. Mike says:

    Shamus, I’m not entirely convinced that Fable 2’s plot wasn’t made this way on purpose, as some sort of massive in-joke perpetrated by Molyneux and company against the rest of the RPG market. Still, I find gross incompetence is more preferable an excuse(?) than the sheer contempt for one’s fans that would have to motivate the former explanation…

  7. Conlaen says:

    Finally the Fable series receives the recognition it deserves.

    “I owe this Goldun Riter award to all you people out there who I duped into believing I had story and meaningful choices in me. This one is for you!”

    Thanks Shamus. Though I have not played Fable 2, I did not do so because I anticipated it would not be any better then the first. You have confirmed my suspisions, and reading this confirms again that I am not the only one who feels so wronged by the story of Fable.

  8. Freebeema says:

    “…versus his author-insertion know-it-all and his Artifact of Mysterious Destiny.”

    It’s the Continuum Transponder. It’s mystery is only exceeded by it’s power.

  9. Reluctant DM says:

    Thanks Shamus! If I do get around to playing Fable 2 my expectations are lowered enough that I should be able to ignore the story and concentrate on the fun. Although some of those things will just infuriate me.

  10. Old_Geek says:

    I don’t feel betrayed. I think that you have shown us again the folly of boiling a review down into a single number. The only people that help are the marketing department trying to sell these games. It gives them a nifty blurb to put on the back. The rest of us need specifics when deciding on whether to purchase a game. Giving us the pros and cons lets US make a decision. We can balance gameplay versus story and make our own choices.

    I don’t know if I’ll ever buy Fable 2, but at least I know if I do play it, it will be in spite of the main story, not because of it.

  11. Michael McHenry says:

    Just terrible.

    I can’t imagine what could be so fun that it excuses this atrocious plot. My plan: I’ll wait for a game that takes all the best game-play elements from Fable 2 and pairs it with a story I can care about that either allows me some important choices or leaves me with some reward for seeing it to the end.

    I believe games can be art. And this might just be an art game meant to express Peter Molyneux’s contempt for his customers. If he were a real rock star, I have to imagine he’d reward his fans in the front row by whipping out his junk and urinating on them.

    I hope Mr. Molyneux reads this review and learns something from it.

    I enjoyed Black and White, but after reading this review, I genuinely hate the man’s work.

  12. asterismW says:

    I must say, I enjoyed your narrative immensely. I may not be a gamer, and know or care about most of the games you play, but it’s writing like this that keeps me coming back for more.

    Kudos, and thank you.

  13. Griffin says:

    After Plot Failures Part 2, I thought, “Well, surely that’s the worst of it.”

    After Plot Failures Part 3, I thought, “Well, now it surely can’t get any worse.”

    Part 4 is the last post in the series, right?

    Or is there a Fable 2 expansion out?

  14. Armagrodden says:

    Crystalgate – Choosing the second wish does give you back the dog game-play element. There’s a second way to resurrect your dog, however, in the Knothole adventure. Speaking of which…

    Griffin – Microsoft appears to be producing additional adventure modules for Fable 2. They’ve already come out with the first one, the Knothole Island expansion. It features a new region with three or four new sidequests, three achievements, a mini-game, some new items, and a thirteen dollar pricetag. I’m not sure whether they’ll ever add anything to the main plot though; they’re probably saving the “ha ha, you fell for Theresa’s clever plan” reveal for Fable 3.

  15. Jos says:

    @13
    There is some Fable Downloadable Content already, yes, but since that’s all sidequest it’s not actually all that horrible.

  16. Cthulhu says:

    This rivals Myst V for abuse of an unexplained ability to teleport. Astounding.
    (for those familiar with Myst, and not Myst V: every character besides you suddenly has the ability to teleport between worlds without using a book.)

  17. The game would have lost me at the point where it killed my dog. That’s a big no-go in my book.

    I’m always the first to point out plot holes and inconsistencies in any game or movie. So I completely understand your frustrations, Shamus.

    Thank you!
    Leslee

  18. SatansBestBuddy says:

    Peter Molyneux: “AHA! Fable 2 is now done, and it’s great! People are gonna love this game!”

    Writer: “Wait! We were having so much fun coming up with good sidequests that we forgot to finish the main story!”

    PM: “WHAT?! NO!! We only have a week before the game ships, so get writing!”

    Or something along those lines…

  19. Ben says:

    “I don’t expect Lord of the Rings when I start up a game.”

    LOTR has a plot??

  20. Rubes says:

    Sweet! A crappy writing award, just as I foretold it. Now, just give it out every year and you’ve got something.

  21. Annon says:

    @19: Ha! Aye, ’tis there, but you might not be seeing it for the millions of words of additional fluff that fleshes out the fantasy world or for the troves of rabid maniacal fanbois who will eviscerate every man named Ben just so they can kill you for taking LOTR in vain…

  22. Demyan says:

    Shamus- I would be curious to read your analysis of the plot of Persona 4. While I find the characters compelling and the game is very much a winner in my book, if it told me one more time that “You decide to do X” when clearly I was not involved in the decision making process at all I would have killed it with fire.

    If you don’t have it, put it on a wish list or something and I may be compelled to tip you for the hours of amusement you’ve provided your community!

  23. Chris says:

    Re: Cybron

    I’m sure the writer found it funny as well. But then he didn’t go through the disappointment of what amounted to a gigantic interactive cut-scene that ultimately resolved nothing.

    I was apathetic to the story on my play through, mostly because there were way too many elements that were repeated from Fable 1 and they botched a potentially interesting villain. However, when I reached the end, I’m sitting there waiting for Lucien to get done his long ass rant so we can get going with the real boss fight, and BAM! Reaver shoots him dead. I was left wondering “what the Hell?”.

    I imagine it was meant for laughs. I mean, they give you the option to kill him as well, so they probably wanted to give you the chance to finally kill the pretentious villain that just won’t shut up. But it is done with one bullet, and I was left feeling incredibly empty inside. Especially since I wasn’t even the one to kill him! Instead it was Reaver! I would’ve been happier if even Hammer killed him or something. Still ripped off, but happier.

    And then the game ends. You either get your dog and family back (of which the only importance is the dog), or lobotomize the game by requesting something that does not get you your dog back. While you can play the game without the dog, it has long since reached the point where you wonder why you would even want to.

    Shamus: I think the “test” of the dream world was simply that you are back with your sister in a “perfect life”, but you instead choose to leave the dream and face reality. Granted, you are facing reality for the sake of revenge and killing someone, but the point is you didn’t take the easy out.

    Also, in case you did not catch it or notice (or remember from the first game), Theresa is actually the sister from Fable 1. Which makes her role in all of this all the more insane and inane. She has somehow managed to live for centuries, already a power greater than Lucien’s and suggesting of all kinds of awesomeness, but never does anything more than teleport or shove you out of the Spire for herself. Which only makes me shrug further. If all she wanted was the Spire, well, she’s been alive for centuries. It could have been hers before Lucien’s. Plus, if she is able to be alive for centuries, then why would she need to make use of heroes in the first place?

    She feels like an insertion to try and tie the previous game into this one for some sort of continuity (though all the background materials in random books you pick up do a fine enough job on their own), to play a Gandalf-esque guide and completely ignoring the fact that, while Gandalf was away letting Bilbo and the Dwarves (or Frodo and company) handle things on their own, it was because he was tackling foes beyond their ability at the same time, and also to pull that crappy twist at the end. “Oh look! The tower is mine! Aren’t I a clever little puppet master?”.

    Bollocks.

    It seems all the good writing in the game went to item descriptions and grave stones.

    Also, I would highly recommend the Memory, Sorrow and Thorn trilogy by Tad Williams. It is a fantasy trilogy that has surpassed Lord of the Rings as the quintessential fantasy epic in my mind.

  24. Mark says:

    It is probable that some of the DLC packs will tie up loose ends in the plot. I seem to recall a rumor one of them will discuss the fate of Reaver. With luck, there will be one that will permit me to kill him and then go hang out with Garth. Maybe there will be a cool boss fight somewhere in there.

    However, they one they have already released just contains delightfully silly sidequests and fancy new items, plus the ability to get your dog back if you chose the wrong ending. It’s just as free as any other sidequest of the terrible writing that plagues the main plot.

  25. Midboss says:

    I have a conspiracy theory behind the sheer horror that is the plot of this game: they are padding the way for a special edition or add on (paying of course) and the main marketing point will be: KILL REAVER !!! (sort of like Lost Chapters let you kill Maze).

    Come on, this might be the best marketing ploy ever for a video game.

  26. Alex says:

    “Stephen Fry’s performance as Reaver.”

    STEPHEN FRY was involved with this abomination?? That’s just depressing. Even more than his involvement in Alfresco.

  27. acronix says:

    The people that wrote this plot were obviously geniuses. Think about it: how much time will it take to someone else to make a worse plot?

  28. Yahzi says:

    “how much time will it take to someone else to make a worse plot?”

    True… they may be able to hang onto the Goldun Riter forever. :D

    On the other hand, I derived considerable satisfaction out of reading Shamus’ skewering of this nonsense, so it’s not all a loss.

  29. Surely I can’t be the only one who started laughing uncontrollably when I saw “Mr. Trofy (LOL!)”. XD

    Also, thanks for the very entertaining write-ups on Fable 2, Shamus. I was considering giving it a shot because I heard good things about it, but I find games like this to be nothing short of excruciating when they have a horrid story.

    And finally, game developers: if you are making a game that’s supposed to be based on choice, knock off the silent protagonist crap. Not only does that seem to be the “thing” this past decade, but in most cases it’s used in a woefully inappropriate manner. The way it’s been used lately forces the player into a submissive role rather than making them feel like they actually matter. Half-Life is probably one of the better games with a silent protagonist. Sure, you don’t say anything, but at the same time you at least get the feeling like your character matters. The game makes you feel as though you’re involved in what’s happening in the world, not like you’re just doing random tasks for others for the hell of it.

  30. Nazgul says:

    Dear god, someone track down the writer or whoever was in charge of this plot abomination and force him to read it! Give Shamus (and those of us that read this) our worldly vengeance!!!!!

    And why do I imagine that the writer was the Comic Shop Guy from The Simpsons?

  31. SolkaTruesilver says:

    *sigh*

    It’s those kind of game that makes me wish that games like KOTOR2 had greater success. That way, game designers would know the important of writing an actually compelling and well-made plot (except for the end. Damn you, Lucasart!).

    I still remember my verbal sparring with Atris. Soooo satisfying to crush her down.

  32. Irandrura says:

    KotOR II’s ending had just the right amount of closure, coupled with some existential mystery, to work. What’s horrible about is the cut content, not the ending. I’ve found that most people who complain about the ending being unsatisfying skipped through all of Kreia’s final speech. That speech is the ending, not the video.

    But I thought it left room for imagination. We know what happens to all the NPCs. We know what happens to your character, because you tell Kreia what you’re going to do. You don’t know the specifics, that’s all. It’s a ‘riding off into the sunset’ type of ending. You get to save the galaxy, and, more importantly let the Exile achieve enlightenment… and then you zoom off beyond the galaxy. It was better than KotOR I’s ending.

  33. Zaxares says:

    Irandrura: Ehh, I beg to differ. KotOR 2’s ending was decent, but the lead-up to it was absolutely dismal. KotOR 2 did a FANTASTIC job in the first half of the game, but in the second half, it felt very much like the designers went, “Oh crap! We only have 2 weeks till release and the game isn’t finished!” and rushed the player to the end-game boss battle as quickly as they could. Gone was the slow, meticulous and excellent pacing that I loved, and although the game introduced a whole slew of new party members in the second half of the game, there was barely any screen time or quests dedicated to them. Frankly, I think the developers could have slashed half the characters from the list and it would made for a much better game.

    Incidentally, Obsidian Entertainment made the exact same error in Neverwinter Nights 2. GREAT start to the game, excellent build-up… and then the ending falls flat. It always feels like their games aim very highly, but they either lacked the time or manpower to properly finish the game, and the result leaves you with mixed feelings. They really need to set their targets more realistically.

  34. feighnt says:

    irandrura: “It was better than Kotor I’s ending”

    quite! i wonder how many people who complained about the ending of 2 were fine with the ending of 1, which just utterly ripped off the ending of ep 4? (oh, sorry, “homage” i’m sure some will say – that’ll excuse the developers from failing to think up something interesting for an ending)

    frankly, there are few games that allow all sorts of questions a person might have lingering to actually get *answered*, but Kotor II’s ending did precisely that.

  35. I’ve recently gotten an xbox (primarily so I could finally play Rock Band, and boy howdy, do I love that game), and now I’m looking for decent RPGs. As far as I can tell, there are none. I just had to pick up the console for the shooty twitchy types, didn’t I.

  36. Old_Geek says:

    The problem with both KOTORs is they set things up for a sequel that never happened. Kotor 2 was a nice game, but instead of answering questions about Revan only gave you more questions. It all begged for a KOTOR 3, which sadly doesn’t seem like its going to happen.

    I know about the KOTOR mmorph, but its hard to imagine it tying up the plot line like a traditional RPG could

  37. Stranger says:

    After reading all this, I’m even more convinced now.

    Someone needs to give Mr. Young a job writing the plot of a console game.

  38. Avilan the Grey says:

    @Stranger: Why a console game? Or rather why not a PC game? :)

  39. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Oh come on,fahrenheit wasnt that bad.Half of its story was excelent,the other half was horrible.After reading this,I see that fable has both halfs horrible.

    Also,sometimes gameplay does trump story(serious sam for example).Although,those cases are rare.

  40. MuonDecay says:

    #19:

    It does, but it’s drug out by a lot of fluff.

    Apparently a lot of people don’t know that Tolkien didn’t even want to write the LOTR trilogy. What he cared about was writing the Silmarillion.

    His friends, family, and publisher had to cajole him into writing more books to follow up The Hobbit.

    It shows, I think.

  41. pwiggi says:

    I know why the last hero wished for the world to be nuked. He couldn’t stand another moment of the horrible, atrocious story.

  42. Kevin says:

    And believe it or not, according to IMDb, it took five people to write this atrocity.

    I believe it. Written projects often worsen exponentially with the number of authors.

  43. PhoenixUltima says:

    Indigo Prophecy wasn’t bad per se, it just went way over the top in the final bits. For most of the game you have a supernatural thriller about a man who has committed murder without being aware of it and is now trying to find out what happened to him while he avoids the law, and the two officers who are hot on his trail. Then all of a sudden there’s an ancient mayan cult, their rivals the superpowered A.I.s, and the goodhearted secret network of magic hobos who help you out, and the tone shifts right to “what the BALLS?”

  44. Conlaen says:

    Toatlly agree with Daemian Lucifer. The first half Fahrenheit, it definately ranked in my favorite games of all time. Then the story suddenly made a strange twist turn around on me and left me with a feeling of, as PhoenixUltima put it appropriately: “what the BALLS?”
    Still overall a very good game.

    And with KOTOR2 it was also similar, with the end game just feeling unsatifactory and unfinished, but everything up to the end game was great too.

  45. […] Their attempts at an entertaining or thoughtful narrative are painfully, criminally, offensively stupid. Except with porn, there’s no expectation for brilliance, so it’s okay for them. […]

  46. Ondo says:

    Thanks for the enjoyable reading. :-)

    This story isn’t about you. This is a story about the writer’s ultimate evil bad guy versus his author-insertion know-it-all and his Artifact of Mysterious Destiny. You are a supporting character – a silent one at that – and what you think or feel is unimportant.

    Heh, it seems that storywise in this game the player must play a(n) NPC. :lol:

  47. Jeremy says:

    Your review was pretty much spot on with everything I’ve thought about the game. I love Fable2, but the story and the common sense missing from it was horribly bad and kept it from being a truly awesome game.

  48. Zephyer says:

    Funny thing, I JUST finished the game, and then stumbled across this, wondering if anyone else felt as ripped-off as I did.

    Kudos, you summed up my feelings pretty damn well.

  49. Zephyer says:

    …Oh, right, and I almost forgot.

    Why does the good choice, when it comes to the whole Reaver life drain thing, make you look like pure evil? Glowing red frikkin’ eyes. At least after you return from ‘happy dream world’ with the music box, you look normal again. For some reason that’s entirely unexplained.

  50. hiraethin says:

    I was actually surprised to discover that, should you be either altruistic or avaricious enough to *not* choose to resurrect your beloved dog, that the game has …some loopholes to compensate. Not sufficiently, IMO.

    For example, the Demon Door in Rookridge is opened by demonstrating dog tricks. Which would seem impossible without a dog. However, sleep a night at the Rookridge inn, and your dog appears in a ghostly form… remaining only until you exit from the the Demon Door, or from Rookridge.

    In addition, if you have not completed the Archaeologist quests (which normally tell you “Follow your dog”), these quests will now produce glowing trails for you.

    I would however like to salute Shamus for his most entertaining review, with which I largely agree. I would have given… well, a lot, to be able to kill Reaver. I chose to resurrect “all the people who died in the Spire” because that seemed like the right thing to do. For which I got a nice letter. Sorry about your family and dog and all. (kudos to Molyneaux for making the dog so sympathetic. Now give him back!) My wife, on her first play-through (I carefully gave her no spoilers), was stunned and disappointed that she didn’t get to kill Lucien… she was waiting to hear the end of his rant. And not only was it someone else, it was *Reaver*, aka the most hated character in the game. *sigh*

  51. Urggzob says:

    The wish I would’ve made was to resurrect Barnum, my sister and my dog, and then have my dog savage Reaver’s genitals. While Reaver is thrashing around in pain, his gun misfires and shoots Theresa in the face. And then me and Hammer and Garth and Barnum and my sister and my dog all go and live in the big castle and party on down.

    Either that or I wish for the plot to be rewritten. One of those two.

  52. tiny tim says:

    Sure it’s common knowledge, but yeah… Lucien kills all your wives and kids.

    All of them.

    And for that: you shoot him in the head… no… I don’t think that is the choice I would made.

  53. zipdrive says:

    Brilliant summary, well written.

    I’m sad that I did not catch on to the entirety of this idiocy when I played. I only grimaced at the most horrendous points. Like the ending bit.

  54. paercebal says:

    This is not “Fable 2”, this is “Frustration 2”.

    When my character came back to Reaver, having lost youth and being joked at, I was so furious by all the dumbness of the situation that spent all the next hour trying to kill him, and being railroaded on saving him. And in the end, I tried to find him, and failed.

    Even now, months after, I feel disgust about the whole thing.

    This promise I make to Molyneux and his team of broken authors: I won’t buy Fable 3, or 4, or anything remotely linked to Fable.

  55. JoshR says:

    They made stephen fry unbearable?
    *shudders*

  56. taltamir says:

    I don’t own consoles, I hate consoles… i bought fable 2 and borrowed an xbox360 from my brother for a weekend to play it.
    And I have to say that I agree with everything in this article, the story is atrocious, and abusive of the player. I actually did have reaver kill steal the final boss, and I never got my real wish of killing teresa or reaver (who, frankly, pissed me off more than lucian).

    As for him killing all your famialies if you are a bigamist… yes, yes he does. I didn’t want to be, but a bug in the game forced me to marry the first wife, so I said “to hell with it”.

    Fable 2 story is an abortion and ruins a relatively ok gameplay (although there were many infuriating gameplay things as well.. .for example, eating vegetables is pure AND good because no animals were harmed… thus, eat 20 celery sticks to undo sacrificing random peasant woman’s youth instead of yours; don’t eat meat, it will make you evil and corrupt)

  57. haha says:

    ha ha anyone notice that our sister in fable is blind person with a red hood name Thersa? I meant if things didn’t go so hot so I suppose she immortal now. So writer got us again our cousin aka thersa was control the whole game we very really had choice except masscarsing oakville and dam thaqt

  58. Legolad says:

    WTF. Why did my guy just stand there as Lucien killed my dog and taunted me about killing my family, etc.??? Ridiculous.

  59. Sam Urbinto says:

    The idea that this game is some sort of a big FU to insiders reminds me of the movie Inglourious Basterds, and there’s some plot similarities too. At least the game is somewhat fun if you ignore the downsides. (With that movie, it’s impossible to ignore the downsides, but if you could it would leave you with negative fun.)

    So great game except for a lot of the main plot! :)

  60. Laurence says:

    This is SO funny.

  61. George Monet says:

    Reaver killstealing you nullifies the entire purpose of your involvement in the game. Had you never set off on an adventure, never gotten tied up in all of this mess, never been constantly dicked around by Lucien, the entire plot would have still played out much the same. Reaver would have still shot Lucien and Theresa would have still gained control of the wishing machine. The only difference is that you wouldn’t have lost your youth, your sister would still be alive, you wouldn’t have wasted all those years working for Lucien in the Spire, etc.

    The game didn’t need you for any purpose other than having an audience while the writer played with the Reaver and Lucien characters. This was a piece of masturbatory writing by the writer that glorified itself in constantly rubbing your face in just how much of a titular hero they could make you.

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