The Fable franchise was revolutionary to say the least. At the time of the first game’s release, making choices in games that had an outcome on the story wasn’t anything new but having our choices affect the world that the game took place in was unprecedented. Whether you like it or not, Fable is the Einstein (or maybe the Rick Sanchez?) of the formula to the modern role-playing game. But it was Fable 2 that really knocked it out of the park and is by far the best Fable in the trilogy. Well, at least in my mind.
I remember reading about it in a magazine. I was fourteen at the time and the first thing I noticed from the feature on the game was how captivating the world sounded. How the NPCs would react to how your character looked and how you could settle down in a town working as a wood chopper, all while building a real estate empire and of course, following the path of a would-be adventurer. It took me a few years but in the summer of 2012, I finally got my hands on the game, a whole four years after it initially released. I still remember that day clearly because I was caught in a hail storm on the way home (which I’m actually glad about because it has caused the day I bought Fable 2 to forever be hammered into my memory.)
I spent the entire ride home reading the little booklet even though I had watched so many videos on it since the game launched a few years before. I fell in love with the game and the world. Yes, it had some features that it did well and did poorly. A lot of the grunt work from the first game was streamlined in Fable 2, which made it more simplistic.
The combat was straight forward and was really just a button masher. The story was a little lacklustre with a forgettable antagonist compared to the first game’s infamous Jack of Blades. Fable 2 took the core of the first game and just expanded on it. Aside from the shallow story, Fable’s Albion had gotten an upgrade. Though still broken up into different regions, each felt unique and players could invest a huge chunk of my time in each area. It was the first game that made me feel like I wasn’t playing in this world but was rather a part of it.
I spent countless hours working at the blacksmith in Bowerstone. In fact, that is the first thing I do whenever I replay the game. The jobs were mundane but it added so much to the game. Wood needed cutting, swords needed hammering. It was a good way to make a buck here and there but the real fun was the real estate. Buying out stalls, shops and houses to rent out and watching your purse get fatter and fatter was a game on its own within Fable 2.
I made it my mission to get every town’s economy rating up by a few stars to enjoy better quality goods. One town, in particular, was Oakfield which I tended to dwell in quite a bit. I spent most of my time just living in the town, drinking with the NPCs at the pub by night and working by day. I ended up buying out every property in town and earning a fat sum of gold from it.
Although the business tycoon part was my favourite part of the game, Fable 2 really immersed me by the interactions I could have with the NPCs. The interaction wheel was sorely missed in Fable 3, which took a lot away from the game. But Fable 2 hit it on the nail. Despite the shallow story and forgettable villain, the game’s world just pulled me in like a hook on the end of a line and I’m sure it did for a lot of other players too.
I can see why it isn’t everyone’s favourite Fable but it is mine and it will always have a special place in my heart. I just hope that the next instalment of the series is able to do Fable justice.