Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Fable 2 : I've Seen The Future, and It's Still Dogged By Bugs

I downloaded the Fable 2 : See The Future expansion pack this morning and played through the whole thing in a few hours. It's got more of the same kind of things in the same kind of places, with a few new elements, but unfortuantely nothing that addresses the game-dampening glitches that have dogged my experience.

Those readers who have not played Fable 2 or its two expansion packs yet, skip this article. It's going to be spoiler-heavy, a regrettable but necessary function to elaborate on the issues I have with the game. If you're just wanting to know if See The Future is any good on its own merits, I can safely say that yes, it is enjoyable and well worth the price if you've enjoyed everything about Fable 2 so far and want more.

Okay, on with the spoilers then. You've been warned.

At the end of Fable 2 the player has to make a choice of three possible conclusions, two of which (including the one I took) leave the player without the remarkable pet dog that has accompanied the hero through the game. At the time it was a hard sacrifice to make, and the storytelling impact weighed heavily on me, as I'm sure it did to other players.

The problem with all of this is that there can still be things to do in the world of Albion after completing the main game that require the dog. There is a Demon Door in Rookridge, for example, that can only be opened with dog tricks. The designers clearly thought of this, though, and when players go to that area, they encounter the ghost of their dog, who can indeed do the tricks required to open the door.

Inside the door is a ghostly realm called Memory Lane, and from that point on the ghost dog resides there. If you get a book with more dog training or tricks, you can go there and teach him, but the ghost dog can never leave. So, if there are still dig spots out there (buried treasures that can only be discovered with the dog), or if the player hasn't completed the Archaeologist Quest, then they are out of luck.

To me, this was at the time an acceptable loss as a consequence of the choice I had made at the end of the game. However, when the first package of downloadable content was released in January, things changed. In my short review of that expansion, I mentioned one cool thing that I didn't reveal, and that feature in particluar was, for me, certainly worth the price of the deal. On Knothole Island, you could resurrect your dog. I was once again able to explore and dig with my faithful companion.

However, shortly after writing that review and then setting out with my dog to explore the world anew, I made the mistake of taking him to Memory Lane. At which point he returned to ghostly form and could not leave the area. Returning to the doggie resurrection thingy, I found it no longer functional - it was a one-time use item, it seemed.

So my dog was dead a second time. I forgot about Fable 2, disgusted by such a terrible glitch. I searched the internet to see if this had happened to anyone else, and only found one other person who stated that the same thing had happened to his dog, but no one seemed to have any solutions.

And this new package of content didn't fix it either. Some of the new items available are breed-changing potions, so I took the bloodhound one to Memory Lane and turned my ghost dog into a ghost bloodhound, hoping that maybe it would snap him out of ghost form, to no avail.

See The Future was short-lived fun, and more of the same, but I'd sincerely like to see Lionhead Studios spend the next few months working on bug fixes rather than more content. I've still got a glitched home that I can't sell or rent, too, so all I see of the future are unfixed bugs and content I can't fully explore with a forever-danmed ghost dog.

And no, I don't like the game enough to start over and lose my castle and four million in gold, thanks very much.


Zim said...

In addition to losing my dog the 2nd time by going into Memory Lane, I am trying to do the Huge Heat quest on Knothole Island. I go to the dig spot where the sun key should be, and no spade icon. I go to miscellaneous items and choose the spade, and I find nothing. My guess is that the bug is that its expecting my dog to be with me, but thanks to the Memory Lane bug, I've lost my dog...again. So basically, I paid for an expansion pack that I cannot finish without restarting the entire game. Shouldn't that count as a factory defect where Lionhead has to do a recall or provide free repairs?

Zim said...

In addition to the Memory Lane bug, where I lost my dog for the 2nd time, I'm now stuck on the Huge Heat quest. I go to the dig spot, but no spade icon appears, and if I manually got to miscellaneous items and choose the spade, I find nothing when I dig. My guess is that without the dog, its not going to let me find the key while digging.
So basically, I bought an add-on that can't be finished thanks to these bugs, unless I restart the whole game. Shouldn't this count as a factory defect where Lionhead should have to do a recall or provide free repairs?