Originally Published: 29 October 2008
Fable II has landed. I was a big fan of the first, (and not so long since managed to bag a copy of the Lost Chapters for a few shiny pounds), and enjoyed the fact that I could be who I wanted to be. Now Fable II is here and again I can be who I want to be. Which, to be fair, was usually a goody two shoes as I was always racked with guilt if anything bad happened, but this time it doesn’t quite seem as magical for one reason… the achievements.
Now, I like my achievements. We’ll get that out of the way now. I have an unhealthy obsession with the little plinky noise they make when they pop up. And, yeah, I am unlocking them in Fable II but it’s almost like it’s robbing the game of something.
Everyone’s kicked a chicken. Everyone’s shot a rabbit (and then felt bad because you got evil points for it). It just doesn’t seem as “do what you want” as the previous game or, say, Oblivion because the achievements are quite specific.
If you look at the achievements for Oblivion you have the story arc and the guild progression. Everything else you do is your own game; there’s no achievement for finding the Troll’s suicide note on a bridge. Nothing for filling a room of your house with Nirnroots. That to me makes it more special because you can literally play it how you want.
Fair enough, the same can be said of Fable but the achievements offer guidelines. It’s almost as if Lionhead are there in the room saying “Yeah, you can do that but we really want you to get married”. There’s still a lot you could do that’s off the achievement track; slaughter every person you find, feel dirty if you do something in a town and the words “Love +4” appear above a small child’s head, (I mean, I know what they were getting at but I felt a bit “eugh” about it – if one of the available expressions turns out to be asking children to stroke your puppy there’ll be trouble), but I still feel as though, for an open world game, I’m being driven towards what I need to do.
I’m not knocking the game. I love it. It’s amused me with random angry bandits calling me a nutter, and tugged at my heart strings as my dog limped sadly along following a savage beating. Seriously, I may not have named my dog yet (I want to name it after my cat but that just seems a bit, well, weird) but if you kick it, I will come down on you hard. In my head, as I hold Thag’s head aloft, I’m thinking “Yeah, this is what happened to the last person who kicked my dog.” I bet the RSPCA would love to able to do that.
Fable’s a game that’s so steeped in choices and consequences, but then has quite a guiding achievement list. It makes you wonder.
Maybe you can’t change your destiny, after all.