September 18, 2004 by Tim

Today’s comic is for Fable players who had to deal with rescuing that stupid kid from the caves. Perhaps I just suck, but it took me like six attempts to complete that quest.

The first time, it was my fault. I can admit that. When I rescued the kid, I beat him within an inch of his life, not realizing that I had escort him back out through more enemies. So it’s no wonder he didn’t survive the trip there. But the rest of the times, he spent the whole time whining like a little girl, only to get himself killed in a corner somewhere by one hobbe, while I was fighting twenty hobbes at once. (Yes, the mission is actually against hobbes, not bandits, but have you tried getting a hobbe to stand still long enough to draw him?)

To make matters worse, you can’t save during a quest, so each time I failed, I was forced to start over from the beginning. It was the paramount of frustration. And also a perfect example of the lack of free choice in the game. My character is evil. He should have been able to kill the boy, drag the boy’s body back to his grandmother, and then kill her while she was crying over it. THAT is freedom of choice. Not being forced to rescue some little twerp that my character wouldn’t care about anyway.

However, I do enjoy Fable as a whole. But there’s a reason for it, I think. I’ve noticed some people don’t like the game, and the reasons sound to me like perhaps being spoiled (expecting so much that you can’t enjoy what is given). Let me explain.

Gabe says that he doesn’t feel that Fable’s “open ended gameplay works in the context of a single player game”. He goes on to point out that the fact that you can build up your character, own shops, get married, becoming famous, etc are worthless because you’re playing in a computer run world, with no online content, and not with other people.

My question is this: is that not the case with practically 80% of video games nowadays (and 100% of them as we were growing up, because online didn’t even exist)? Have we been so spoiled by MMORPG’s and such that single player games are no longer enough to entertain us? I mean, for me, playing a game, getting the best equipment, getting the high score… that’s fun for me. I don’t feel a need to show it off to other people in order to get entertainment out of it. I don’t need to brag about the armor I just got. It’s fun for me, playing in the game, playing in that world.

I mean, isn’t it better that you can develop your character to such an extent, even if it’s just for your own enjoyment, as opposed to playing through knowing that everyone else in the world who has the game is playing the exact same character with the exact same experiences?

I do agree with Gabe that the zone loading time is a bit annoying, and the zones are fairly linear. The ability to teleport around the world at will is a blessing, and I’m not ready to gripe about what ‘could have, would have, should have been’.

I think that Fable is a perfect example of how hype has the ability to destroy a product for some people. Fable was in production for four years, and was touted as the most ambitious game ever. Even over the course of the four years, as features got dropped due to technology and time constraints, people still had this vision that Fable would be a world changing event. So when they play the game, and it turns out to be just an action/adventure/rpg, with some really neat features, all they can think about is “well it doesn’t have this” instead “wow! It has this!”.

Does the reality of Fable compare to what the vision of Fable once was? No, it doesn’t.

Does this mean the game sucks? Personally I’m enjoying the game, even if it’s only for 20-30 hours of gameplay.

Just my two cents.

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