Fable 2: I Remember When This Was All Fields
My first purchase was the drinks stall on the middle of the Bowerstone town bridge.
Truth be told, I could have afforded something a bit grander – the ironmongers just off the market square, for example – but I got caught up in the romance of my narrative.
No, this is where I’ll start my empire, I thought. Then, when I’m old and grizzled (and dressed in a corset made from solid gold, riding a diamond unicorn about town) I’ll come back to this spot with my descendants in reluctant tow and say: “This, my children, this is where it all began.”
Fable 2 has turned me into Donald Trump. While I’m supposed to be off freeing slaves or avenging my sister’s death all I can think about is how much profit I can make on this carrot. Buy items low and sell them high and you can swell your coffers, which in turn means you can buy property at a faster rate.
Every house, home and business in the game can be purchased, moved into or rented out and will then automatically earn you money every five minutes. The more property you own, the less time you have to spend playing the deliberately dull and repetitive blacksmith minigames for money.
The game employs that neat idea first seen in Square-Enix’s DS title, The World Ends With You, in which you earn even when you aren’t playing. In Fable 2 all of your shops, stores, pubs, windmills, and rented out apartments continue to net money while the game is switched off (at a rate of one payout an hour compared to one every five minutes while playing). It’s an ingenious mechanic to bring players back into the game every day: log back into the game, collect your lump sum payout, invest in a couple more houses and then switch off again.
GameSetWatch writer Chris Remo admits to leaving his console on through the night just so he can earn money at the faster rate, something I stopped just short of last night because, y’know, paying actual money in electricity bills just to earn fake money in a single player RPG is the definition of crazy.
The option to set rates on both your tenants and customers (price gouging by up to 100% over items’ basic value or underpricing in order to win purity points) adds some depth and consequence to what is supposedly only a sideshow to the game’s main gameplay attractions.
But for me the quest to buy up the world of Albion (purchase a high enough percentage of the land and you’ll actually be crowned King or Queen) is, for now, my primary objective. It’s testament to Lionhead’s abundance of ideas that real estate management is something of a minigame (the excellent Christian Donlan didn’t even get around to mentioning it in his Eurogamer review yesterday) when it’s a concept and execution that would likely have been promoted to core conceit in a lesser title.
Fable 2 or Fallout 3 though? Which way are you going?