Last night I dug up a condom my dog found, then stole someone's wife and slept with her in my gypsy trailer, after impressing her by whistling and showing off a severed head I've been carrying around.
Welcome to the peculiar world of Fable II -- the latest Xbox 360 RPG from Lionhead Studios and Theme Park designer Peter Molyneux. Set in the cod-Victorian fantasy world of Albion, you play a Hero who must avenge his sister's death and change the fate of the world, either by good or evil.
I've been playing the game just over a week now and I adore it. It bears comparison to The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion in terms of scope and its classic RPG themes, but with more impressive graphics, stellar voice acting from the likes of Stephen Fry and Zoë Wanamaker, and far more engaging characters and environment.
Fable II combines linear quests with open-ended gameplay, with various jobs becoming available, and the options of owning houses and shops, getting married and raising hordes of illegitimate children with a plethora of bisexual gypsies and assorted townspeople.
My friend Katharine from ChannelFlip Games perhaps described the quirkiness of Molyneux's game best, saying, "Here is your mini map. It is a dog. Go get some lady pregnant -- yes, my game will let you do that."
Fable II combines everything a classic RPG should have, with deeper, more emotional character development than usual, intuitive one-button combat and enough quirkiness to be funny. The humour doesn't subtract an ounce of realism, which makes it one of the most believable worlds I've experienced in over ten years of playing RPGs.
Some reviewers have said it's more fun to play evil than good, to which I reply, what part of 'Last night I dug up a condom my dog found, then stole someone's wife and slept with her in my gypsy trailer' -- a good deed, apparently -- do you not understand?