I was one of the people who didn't mind Fable, even though PM promised a lot of things it was clear from the outset that Lionhead weren't able to deliver on a lot of features for the original game, yet, I still enjoyed it. It was tongue in cheek, it had a fairly interesting story and the graphics were quite pretty for the time. So now we're back in Albion once again and the world has changed, the old hero from Fable is no more and new places have sprung up to replace the likes of Oakvale and Bowerstone's manor (once owned by Lady Grey).
Yet in many ways playing Fable 2 can be likened to playing Fable as it was meant to be, or even Fable 1.5. Since you progress from childhood to adult (again) in a set of circumstances that sees you make some tough choices along the way.
Let me elaborate. Fable 2 is easy to control, whilst the main character's movement can feel a little 'floaty' - the combat is solidly done enough and it's possible for a complete stranger to video games, especially a 'combat' heavy rpg like Fable 2, to pick up a controller and press the face buttons to perform their moves. X is the sword, Y is the gun and B is magic. It's that simple. There are slightly more complex moves (flourishes) available with the sword and a few tricks with the gun.
By holding down X you can block, pushing the left stick in a direction and holding down X allows you (when you've earnt it) to perform said flourish and garner much more xp in battles than you normally would. Each time you fight an opponent, or a group, you get experience orbs (xp) that allow you to put points into your three core attributes at any time (as long as you have enough). Strength, Skill and Will are the main focus groups.
Strength contains all of the sub-skills that give your character power in combat or more life, Skill contains the dexterity based stuff that speeds you up and allows you to focus your firearm attacks, zoom in and sub-target body parts. Will is for magic and contains the numerous spells that are reminiscent of Fable's spell-list. By holding down B you can charge up your spells to the next level and get a bigger/better/more powerful effect.
That's the combat and skill system in a nut-shell.
Fable 2 differs from Fable in terms of scope and approach to the core mechanics of the 3d action rpg. For a start, there's only a small mini-map of the area to use to keep your bearings, the rest of the game leads you through the story or current quest (and there are tonnes) by giving you what PM describes as the: golden breadcrumb trail, likening Fable 2 to an adult fairy tale more than a hardcore rpg. This glimmering golden line appears and guides you to the next objective and part of the main story.
Of course you can actually choose to ignore it and wander off (this is to be recommended) to find treasures and hidden items throughout the world. It's packed with things to discover and there are nine Demon Doors to open this time around, each holding a unique area behind it and sometimes a Legendary weapon as well. To help you in this task you have your faithful furred companion, the dog. The dog is more than just a bog-standard sidekick though; he's actually quite a simulation in terms of AI, perhaps too good.