E3: Fable 2 introduces an innovative control experience

Posted by Mark Raby

Santa Monica (CA) - Taking the fabled Fable 2 into our hands for the first time, we learned the power of the X button on the Xbox 360.


Fable 2 in pictures...

Peter Molyneux's original Fable game for the Xbox pretty much became the buzz title that wasn't Halo.  Waiting with bated breath are fans of the epic role-playing game as Fable 2 heads out to the Xbox 360 some time next year.

With decades of RPGs now in the past, it seems every combat system has been used.  However, Fable 2 offers a very unique set of controls.  It's not even really a set.  It's a button.

The X button is the only button used for in-game combat.  That may immediately bring up thoughts of button mashing, but it actually goes quite deeper than that.

While a single X button press will pull off an attack, other control options have the player essentially punching the button in the form of morse code.  For example, one attack had us tapping the X button, then immediately holding it down, and then tapping it again. 

In Dance Dance Revolution fashion, the presses have to be timed perfectly to execute the attack.  Of course, the control stick also comes into play to actually move the character, but the entire breadth of attack is carried out by the simple blue button.

The other buttons will be used for range combats and magic, but we weren't able to get a glimpse at these functions.  It was a bit awkward, and highly unconventional, to not have to think about pulling off intense button combo attacks.  It's certainly a step away from the more complex battle system of its predecessor.

Fable is well known for its unique character evolution aspect, and the sequel will follow up with that.  The main character ages, shifts from between good and evil depending on the decisions made, and keeps permanent scars from tough battles.

Countless combinations of age and evil each come with their own character animations, attack flourishes, and possible combination attacks.  The attack controls will be hit or miss in the long run, and we'll have to see how it fits in with the fully developed game.