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 lard pirates dawt cawm  §  Fable in a Nutshell / by Spoony Spoonicus
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 ~Spoony Spoonicus on 08:09pm 03/27/13 (08:42pm 03/30/09) in 4h13m46s  §  4906 eyeballs
 chained to: Games in a Nutshell  §  first - previous - next - latest
 Bustin' down plots like the T pities fools.
 anchors: none.
Or: The game Xbox owners desperately tried to convince themselves was quality because there weren't any other RPGs released on the thing.

The setting is some shithole town in the middle of the woods, which quickly gets burned to the ground and everyone within murdered except for the hero. Lucky for him, some serious-looking dude* teleports him to safety and enrolls him in a generic hero academy.

* That's a lie; he looks like Ganondorf's wimpy cousin.

Headmaster: There, now you know how to use a sword, a bow, and magic thanks to fifteen minutes of training.
Spoony: Yeah. Too bad ten full seconds of electrocution and eight arrows to the face do less damage than one sword swing.
Headmaster: You are ready to move on. Behold, the generic quest list!
Spoony: Oh god, not this shit again. Why can't "Massive, Epic RPGs" just have a contiguous plotline or a game world more than four miles across anymore?
Headmaster: No, no, it's nothing like Final Fantasy Tactics Advance or Atelier Iris.
Spoony: Prove it.
Headmaster: You can be good OR evil during each of them!
Spoony: You don't care which, huh. Fine then, from this day forth it is my goal to become the biggest bastard who has ever lived.
Headmaster: Logically I'd try to sway you from this path or at least show some sign of lament for this monster I've created, but instead I'm just going to sit here and repeat the same three lines over and over again for the rest of the game!

A few quests are completed for the measly reward of some bad Karma and barely enough gold coins to buy a single health potion. The developers try to get you to care a bit more by introducing a rival character who takes up the mantle of good, but this fails utterly because she's just blindly opposing you for the hell of it regardless of the path you choose, not because of any actual character motive.

Spoony: Say, I wonder what these F-key functions do.

It turns out they're a fart button, a belch button, and most embarrasingly, a middle finger button, apparently solely included to provide cheap amusement for the game's target audience of seven-year-olds.

Spoony: ...So it's not necessary for your vision of the 'Best Roleplaying Game Ever Made" to have an actual plotline, compelling characters, a single original or creative idea within it, or anything to do outside of boring fetch quests, but it's absolutely imperative that you include THAT piece of childish nothing. Good job Pete, you've really gotten your priorities straight since your last overhyped and overrated mind-dump, Black & White.*

*Okay, so I didn't actually play Black & White. But when your "groundbreaking new game" comes out and all its fans seem interested in talking about is the ability to fling your monster's turds around the screen, it doesn't really inspire much confidence in the game. Or the mentality of anyone who designed or played it.

A few more quests are done for little to no reward, and the list only grows longer and longer as more get done. My interest in the game quickly fades to zero as I begin to realize that every quest is the exact same thing - you either help a guy or you brutally antagonize him. That's it. There is never a third option. I'm not even "playing a role" - I have nothing whatosever to fight for (as there's still nothing even resembling an overall plot) and my character has no reason to even stay at this goddamn guild - he's reaped all the benefit he possibly could from that training he did at the beginning. Do I ever get to leave this shithole and forage out on my own, or do I just have to play errand-boy until the game finally feels generous enough to hand out a plot thread that will lead me somewhere new? Whatever, I don't care anymore.

Spoony: I've seen enough. There's no plot, no variation to the gameplay, the laws of Albion make no sense at all (belching and farting at people in high enough quantity is just as bad a crime as murder, but neither have any lasting consequences as long as you run back to the guild hall and call "SAFE!" before the guards kill you), and there's at least a hundred better games I could be playing right now. Forget this.
Fantards: Keep playing, dude! You didn't even give it a chance!
Spoony: Piss off, I've sat here for over five hours doing the same boring shit over and over again.
Fantards: It gets good soon, we promise!
Spoony: Fine, fine. At your insistence, I'll suffer a bit longer.

The fantards built a house of lies, as all that waits is more of the exact same "help this guy or slit his throat and take his wallet" dillemma we've already seen fifty times over. Picking the latter choice each time STILL has no lasting consequences as long as you can outrun the guards (which is dead easy).

Spoony: Okay, fuck this small-time crap. I'm pulling out all the stops.

Spoony decides to steal everything that isn't nailed down, murder people right in front of their crying children, and slowly and painfully cook the entire academy's student body from the inside out, one at a time, with lightning magic to see if anybody will ever break away from their busy daily routine of standing in one place and repeating the same two lines endlessly to arrange a lynch mob. But big surprise, nobody notices, nobody cares what he's done, and nobody even bats an eye when the same dude who wiped out their entire village yesterday takes a morning stroll right through Main Street unarmed, naked and totally vulnerable. In fact, all he has to show for it is that his skin has spontaneously grown tattoos.

Spoony: This is so fucking retarded. Where's the law? Where's the price on my head? Where are the pissed off relatives and mercenaries seeking vengeance? Why in the FUCK am I still getting job offers when they know I'm just going to stab them and take all of their money? WHERE IS THE PLOT?! If the game doesn't take any interest whatsoever in its OWN good-and-evil mechanic, why the hell should I?! Hell, even that giant bland-fest called Elder Scrolls 4 knew well enough to have guards arrest your character or kill you on sight if your bounty got high enough.
Fantards: Keep playing, keep playing! It eventually gets good after about fifteen more hours of quests!
Spoony: And what entails "good" to you?
Fantards: You can marry two men or two women! Dude that's so cool, no game's ever done that before!
Spoony: Except Fallout 2, five years ago. Anything else?
Fantards: You can fart on people, it's so FUNNY!
Spoony: Only if you're in the third grade or an untalented hack man-child like Peter Molyneux. Try harder.
Fantards: As a matter of fact, I am in the third grade! And... uh... you can sell a house to someone and then kill them and then sell it again!
Spoony: I have a better idea. Watch this.

Spoony uninstalls the game, sells it on eBay (for less than a third of what he paid, natch) and replays Baldur's Gate 2 instead, which has several interesting features Fable lacks. These include a plot, a decent game engine, a combat system that requires planning and strategy rather than mindless button mashing, and well-written characters instead of Fable's one-dimensional caricatures. Having real, legimitate consequences for your actions, whether good or evil, certainly doesn't hurt either. And all this from a game that came out four years before Fable did; that should tell you something!

Three months pass and everyone forgets about the game, just like every other piece of forgettable shovelware Lionhead Studios has ever made. Fable 2 is eventually announced, toting itself as "the great game we MEANT to make last time but instead rushed out the door half-finished for a quick buck"; Spoony just wonders who could possibly be dumb enough to get conned again, rolls his eyes and returns to playing Earth Defense Force 2017.

Spoony: This game is bland, boring, childish and completely unappealing. The tired old argument of "But it gets really good 20/30/40 hours in!" only works against it as a case for better pacing and game design. Forget this crap.
 rawks  §  rad comments, dogg.
 ~FUN FACT  §  at 08:52pm 03/30/09
$7 + shipping was apparently too much for the game's buyer, as it took him over two weeks to scrounge it up and pay. Must suck being unable to afford any good RPGs.
 ~Spoony Spoonicus  §  at 12:00am 03/31/09
If only he knew he could have bought Deus Ex for $2 on Amazon. Another game that came out four years earlier than Fable, but was superior in every single way!
 ~SHITTLE  §  at 03:59pm 04/01/09
 ~Spoony Spoonicus  §  at 09:28pm 02/19/10
Even the developer admits his own game is bogged down with superfluous bullshit. Behold!

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a cherry