>X-Play hearts Fable 2

>X-Play has named Fable 2 its Game of the Year.

My feelings about Fable 2 can be summed up by a quotation from Emperor Nero (as portrayed by Dom Deluise in History of the World Part I): “Nice. Nice. Not thrilling… but nice.”

Full disclosure: I’m only about six hours in. But I’m still waiting for the game to grab me. From what I hear the game only gets better (and in fact gets considerably better) from here. But my question is this: If I have to wait for six hours to get to the real meat, is that really GOTY material? Aren’t plenty of people going to move on before they get through to the great part, especially in this environment awash with AAA titles?

Now I’ve also read on the Internets that people who don’t lurve Fable 2 may be “playing it wrong”. You are now reading on the Internets my view that people who say that naysayers who fail to see a game’s brilliance are “playing it wrong” deserve nothing less than a swift kick in the bag. If I’m playing it wrong, you designed it wrong. (I don’t mean you specifically… except for you, Mr. Molyneux.)

Anyway, I don’t mean to rob Fable 2 of its moment. Huzzah and congrats and all that good stuff. I actually believe that there’s a fair chance that I will play all the way through it and fall in love with it, and maybe by then I’ll be so enamoured that I’ll have forgotten how enthralled I wasn’t for the first six hours. So listen up, posterity!

Gred’s review of Fable 2 at 6 hours in: B

Which reminds me. I far prefer letter grades to numbered reviews. Note to self for future post…

>Who is Gred?

>Okay, there are gonna be some changes around here. What this blog needs is some international flavour.

That’s right. I spelled flavour with a “u”. You see, up here in Canada, if the Queen tells me I have to include a “u” when I bitch about horse armour as paid DLC, well then I’m gonna do as Her Highness commands, God save the crazy ol’ broad.

So you know I’m in Canada. What else can I tell you? In a nutshell: I’m an old friend of Jervo’s, used to live with him in NYC, and have lived up here since I escaped the U.S. in an air balloon during the early years of the Bush presidency. I also sometimes play video games.

So for starters, let me try to give you a snapshot of Gred the gamer.

Systems owned and selected favoUrite games, off the top of my head:

  • various PCs (Grim Fandango);
  • Atari 2600 (multiplayer Maze Craze);
  • ColecoVision (maybe Smurf, even though I now know it sucked?);
  • NES (probly Zelda 2);
  • Super NES (Act Raiser);
  • Game Boy (Tetris);
  • Genesis (I’m totally flaking);
  • Turbo Grafx 16 (couldn’t tell ya);
  • Nintendo 64 (Super Mario 64 (never played Ocarina of Time (I know!!!)));
  • PlayStation (Syphon Filter);
  • Dreamcast (NFL 2K series);
  • Xbox (SW: KOTOR);
  • Xbox 360 (Hannah Montana’s Terrorist Hunt);
  • Nintendo DS (Puzzle Quest);
  • PlayStation 3 (LittleBigPlanet).

Truth is, my favourite 360 pick is in flux, so I’m just not ready to commit right now. On we go:

Best Game Evar: Grim Fandango

Other honourable mentions: Battlefield 1942, Psychonauts, Stuff made by Valve, Front Page Sports Football series, the old Sierra adventure games

Recent crushes: Left 4 Dead, GTA IV, Portal, LittleBigPlanet, Bioshock… I guess, you know, the totally predictable this-gen hits. And also MLB 2008: The Show.

Favourite gaming podcasts: Joystiq, CAGcast, 1UP FM (and the late, great Game Theory, may it rest in peace)

Gamertag: Gr3d

PSN: GeeRed

So there’s a little background. Stay tuned! You never know when I might have a coherent though about something you’re interested it.

>Home

>If this Gamepolitics article is to be believed, Sony is officially releasing Home tomorrow. Sony previously had been rolling it out in larger and larger numbers, similar to what Microsoft did with the NXE; I somehow got into the beta a few weeks ago.

I’ve maybe checked it out once or twice since I initially installed it, and the experience hasn’t gotten better. It’s still unclear to me what exactly the experience is supposed to be. When I see Sony’s press releases, describing it as…

…a ground-breaking 3D social gaming community available on PS3 that allows users to interact, communicate and share gaming experiences…

…well, I guess that sounds interesting in theory, but in actual practice it’s useless. It’s certainly useless without a headset; the canned responses are not particularly robust, and that assumes that you’re interested in participating in a chat room with a bunch of teenagers. Maybe it’s better with the chatpad thing that’s coming out soon, but that’s not even the point. There’s no real need for a 3D social gaming community; it serves no practical purpose. The gaming community is a robust and diverse many-sided thing but the side that most people end up witnessing, whether in forums or in multiplayer matches, thrives on anonymity and calling each other assholes. You can’t get into virtual fistfights in Home, and you certainly can’t pwn someone in Home because there’s nothing to play other than a few crappy minigames that start to get boring about 20 seconds in.

You can look at advertising, though. And what the press release doesn’t tell you is that Home is slathered in advertising. There are game posters and game trailers all over the place, and I’m sure that non-game-specific branding will soon follow, if it’s not already there. Maybe you can buy a Mountain Dew T-shirt for your virtual dude and then meet up with your similarly-attired “friends” by the bowling alley and watch a trailer for SOCOM. Boy, that sounds like a great time. Meanwhile, I’ll be getting on with the rest of my life.