John "The Gneech" Robey (the_gneech) wrote,
John "The Gneech" Robey

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Fable [game rant]

A few days ago I picked up Fable at EBX and gave it a try over the weekend. Overall, I found it to be rather frustrating and high-maintenance for something that's supposed to be a fun pastime.

I'm not a fan of contemporary game platforms, it's probably worth mentioning. The itty-bitty kid-friendly controllers give me fits -- give me a mouse, a keyboard, and big honkin' flight-simulator-style joystick, please. It's not always a problem ... I did fine with Jade Empire for instance, but being on a platform is always a hurdle a game has to overcome in my book.

In Fable, however, the controller issue is a problem. You see, Fable follows the trend of RPGs lately of giving your character an Alignmentometer ... a trend which was kinda fun when it was new, but which I'm rapidly getting tired of. "Will you become a noble hero or a nefarious villain? Your actions in the game decide!" Yeah, yeah, all very well and good, except in Fable it's too damn easy to "be bad" by mistake. It's bad enough that there are ringer quests set up to trick you into doing evil acts, but the controls do their best to stick it to you, too.

The first time it happened was when I was in the archery training sequence. I went through my test, got all kinds of accolades, then accidentally hit the X button and shot the instructor! This, of course, sent my Morality Meter down the toilet, and all the bystanders started sneering about what a slimeball I was. (X was the "talk" button in some game I played recently; my brain thinks A is the attack button.)

Fine. Reload saved game.

Did I mention that the entire training sequence is one looooong quest that you have to do from start to finish without being able to save and come back to later? Yay, I get to start the training all over again.

So then I get through the archery test and go on to the magic test, the last bit of training, where you're supposed to use rapid-fire lightning strikes against targets by blasting one, using the auto-target button to switch to the next and blasting it, and so on. Can you guess what happened?

Yup, in the middle of the test, the auto-target button decided the instructor was a good target. Zap. Down into the toilet goes the Morality Meter again. Start over from the beginning.


So I finally get through the training after however many tries, which at least opens up the ability to save your game. Now it's time to start taking on quests, but then I run into the Regenerating Maps problem. Every time you pass through a map, even if you just stepped off it and step back on, it's full of enemies again, usually bandits. And there's also usually innocents mixed in, who instead of running away from the bandits, stand there crying about it. Can you see what's going to happen here?

Target-shoot-dead bandit.
Target-shoot-dead bandit.
Target-shoot-hey, that's not a bandit you stupid game!!! Into the toilet goes the Morality Meter. Time to reload.

Who thought this was a good idea? And why are these @&$** peasants standing around when there are bandits running around killing people?

Don't even get me started on the Fart button. -.-

So, I dunno ... I like the concept of having the character evolve based on your actions and such, but the implementation of Fable is so irritating that I'm not sure it's worth the work to play the game. If there was a "no-PvP" setting I could turn on so it would stop targeting innocents, it would be a lot more fun. Oh, and Regenerating Maps and Alignmentometers suck. Stop putting them into games, designers!

-The Gneech
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