Review: Fable 2

A disappointing 20-hour medieval tour of fantasy imagery, Fable 2 comes to an abrupt halt. An RPG at less than 20-hours, preposterous you say? Indeed, an outright blasphemy to the conventional 30 or more hours of quests and slaying in a fictional world.

Fable 2’s length is baffling and inconsistent to the tried and tested gaming hours games in this genre have. By and large, a Western RPG has been known and expected to render at least 27 to 30 hours of gaming.

Granted, after the main story arc reaches to an unsatisfactory conclusion, you can continue and bask at your achievements and properties you’ve acquired throughout Albion. However, the social gimmickery of having your own family, multiple wives, properties you’ll have rented and redesigned – are all a bit… dare I say, superficial?

Lionhead Studios should’ve developed the plot further, pushed the envelope, flirted with political intrigue and conspiracy -- twisted the arc a bit. Regrettably, the storyline leans to outright mediocrity – tales of retribution have been squeezed for all its worth.

Perhaps the studio could've borrowed ideas on plot pacing and writing from master RPG storytellers, Bioware (Baldur’s Gate and Mass Effect). From there, Lionhead could have possibly woven a story of Albion political malice and an epic battle between multiple inhabitants within the world they’ve so geniusly crafted.

But alas, gamers are presented with a predictable story arc and a disgusting final bout -- seriously can't stress enough this glaring disappointment.

Combat and character development are fulfilling and satisfactory. Spell attacks (in Fable they call it ‘Will’) is a sight to behold, especially when you’ve maxed em' out – they can get 'really' powerful, dealing massive damage to your opponents.

Won’t go through the graphics and audio, for both score fairly well. The major gripe for any plot driven gamer, and most console RPG gamers for that matter, would be Fable 2’s perplexing approach to its plot.

Clearly, Fable 2 is a solid title and will sell by the millions just like its predecessor. But by overlooking the most integral aspect of any RPG -- a heavy plot with the obligatory twists and turns expected from an epic journey -- Lionhead missed a clear shot yet again for its crown jewel to reach classic status.

To Sarah Palin:

Oh Sarah Palin, your stranglehold over mainstream media bemuses me. Media devours every image and interview of you as if the elections were still ongoing. But it’s over, campaigns have wrapped up, a winner has been chosen among countless low balling, libel-magnet accusations in the longest running US political campaign in history.

What keeps images of you glued to the screen and internet pipelines? Has it been your inability to eloquently channel your thoughts to media that has made you a hyped-up baby doll therefore attracting media attention the likes of Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan (even greater)? Perhaps it’s the silent desire of the press to see a Palin mishap and portray you more of a national embarrassment than you already are?

You stubbornly stick to your campaign lines as if you were still campaigning in one of your declared Pro-American states. Perhaps you’re not to be blamed for this preposterous sensationalism that has gripped the US. Maybe the media's to blame? It has been feeding you this insane volume of attention for the past few months, but how can anyone ignore your obvious and explicit thirst for coverage?

Is it your political maneuvering for 2012 that has you obsessed and indirectly (or directly) defined a new meaning to narcissism and self-absorbed commentaries? You are a walking contradiction, pledging your support for the President-Elect in the morning, and addressing statements to the media in the afternoon that are irrefutably an anti-thesis to the concept of ‘support’ and ‘pro-active stance on mending partisan politics’.

Sarah, can I call you Sarah? Your ambitions are too high, let it go for now. Get back into the limelight once you’ve fixed your most glaring shortcomings. Indeed, you are a master in the showbiz aspect of politics. However, basic knowledge in myriad political hot button issues should also be familiarized and mastered.

Ultimately, it’ll go down to 2012, either you’re running for a seat in the US Senate or the highest office in the land, the political landscape is, without a doubt, you’re personal playground.

Comeback Kid

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Pure ecstatic 360 gaming has been consistently tingling my gaming cortex for the past few days. For a mere two grand of my motherland’s battered currency, my senses have been orgasmically treated with high levels of audio-visual stimulation. And to top it off, my girlfriend chose to play along this trance-like gaming state. Gears of War 2 has become the root of unforgettable bonding moments.

What amazes me though is the rage that explodes from my partner when Locusts storm her with virtual ammo. She stomps away from the screen, declares to the world she had enough, and yet after a few agonizing seconds, she timidly returns to her seat, picks up the controller and again wages a desperate war against the endless hordes of mankind’s threat to its existence (well, as far as the game’s premises go).

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Gears 2 is a joy to play, especially in co-op -- as attested by a 3-day action-packed gaming session. The 360’s been reborn, and have brought great joy and entertainment in the confines of our humble place. Welcome back home my 360, we’ve been apart for far too long. May your stay be pleasant and your functional life be extended and pray that the red lights of death not lay upon you (till a new version of 360 comes out).

President Obama

After a draining 2 year campaign for the White House, at long last, Barack Obama’s been declared President-Elect – making him the 44th US President and the first African American commander in chief. He not only brings in a whole new ball game in American politics but also a symbolic rise of an individual of social minority descent.

His win would set a precedent for social reform and a slew of foreign policy shifts. The Bush doctrine is over. I strongly hope that the change Obama promised and preached throughout his campaign does happen. Great leaders rise from crisis and desperate times, let Obama be that symbolic and inspiring leader that millions of Americans and the world aspire him to be.

A better future for all? We’ll see. The Obama administration will officially begin next year on the 20th of January, from there, how his administration will handle the worsening global economy and strategic foreign relation disasters the Bush administration carried out would be left to American and international scrutiny.

It’s an exciting time to witness history. To live and actively observe this momentous event in mankind's social evolution's indeed an emotional and gratifying experience.

A Fancy Purchase

Finally, I say it again, finally, got a Samsung T220. Thanks in large to my sweet and generous partner. In all its 22-inch glory, the contrast ratio has immensely improved – compared to my Dell 22-incher the colors are more vibrant, sharper, and crisper. Although a few bumps on the road, had to return it due to massive red artifacts filling up the screen which was a straight throwback to my Xbox 360 nightmare.

Guys from the store were kind enough (warranty breeds kindness from store folks) to replace the monitor with a shinier and fresh monitor. It was a painless and effortless transaction, kudos to you guys from Silicon Valley (yes, we do have a store named after the SanFo tech zone, we Asians are right brain geniuses).

The screen is just visually stunning to see in action, Samsung really is one of the best, if not the best LCD monitor manufacturer in the market. Too bad they’re caught up in a dwindling South Korean economy.

Now, if only my 360 gets repaired soon (hopefully this week). I’ll demonstrate a short vid of this baby in action, post-haste.

Demo Democracy

Following the US elections has been a roller coaster ride through the ups and downs of the greatest democracy in the world. Sad to see election issues in the battleground state of Florida, they seem to have run out of ballots for eager voters. They unwittingly unable to predict such a high turnout of voters. Instead of finding solutions to the issue, they had no choice but to reject these voters, well, uuhh, from voting – so much for the ‘greatest democracy’ label.

Absurd! This issue shouldn’t have been an issue. The number of ballots or whatever you call the paper/material used for voting should be in the same volume as registered eligible voters in every town/state. To assume that the registered voters won’t vote and turn them away in the end is to undermine Western democracy as we know it.

As a model of democracy for which democratic nations look up to, the US ain’t much of a model.