Daily Archives: May 20, 2011

30 Days of Gaming, #19 – Picture of a game setting you wish you lived in

Fable II was an okay game. It did not wow me, but it had a lot of pretty to it, and bumbling into a new location was always a joyous moment because it meant immersing myself in a place and seeing how everything clicked. Oh, okay. That’s where they get their food, that’s where they sell their wares, that’s where a talking gargoyle head insults my intelligence. Bowerstone is an impressive main city hub, very busy with lots of shops and shoppers, as well as being broken up into distinctive districts. Bloodstone is moody and dangerous. Westcliff is a dump though you do get the opportunity to change its tides.

For me, the place to be in Fable II is Oakfield, a small village of farmers and monks north of Rookridge. It’s serene and open, quiet and nice, a place to spend the day either tilling the land or walking the paths, with a single bar hot-spot, the Sandgoose, to go to at night where, more assuredly, everybody knows your name. Some other points of interest include the Temple of Light and Manure Manor.

And if you play to the good-natured side, when you return from the Tattered Spire, you’ll find Oakfield thriving, with new houses and an expanded Temple of Light. Plus, autumn will be in full swing, with gorgeous reds, oranges, and yellows to feast upon, and probably nothing else comes as close as to feeling like a true fantasy village than Oakfield. Evil people get to destroy the village, which only makes me want to never finish my evil second playthrough even more.

A lot of Fable II is spent running after the golden breadcrumb trail, your dog desperately trying to keep up. Considering the game’s tiresome loading screens and sluggish menus, running was a blessing. I ran just about everywhere. Except for Oakfield in the sunlight, where I’d stroll leisurely around, doing little expressions for its inhabitants and keeping the peace. It’s the sort of place I dream about, where I could leave behind the plastic and pointless, be one with my surroundings, spend every day soaking up the sounds and smells.


That’d be Serenity Farm, also from Fable II. It’s the inside of Oakfield’s Demon Door, and it’s special in that no one but your family (wife/husband and kids) can follow you there. Meaning no enemies, truly a secret spot all to your own. That also sounds good to me. Either way, fantasy farms…I kind of like ’em.

Honest early impressions for the Honest Hearts DLC

As expected, things go horribly wrong the minute you begin the Honest Hearts DLC for Fallout: New Vegas. First, the Courier needs to meet up with Jed Masterson, a traveling merchant working for the delightfully named Happy Trails Caravan Company. He tells you a bit about the caravan’s history, as well as his need for someone with a Pip-Boy 3000 to help him and his groupies navigate safely through Zion Canyon in hopes of trading with the Mormons in New Canaan. And off you go, zipping from state to the other in a matter of a single loading screen. However, once you arrive, your caravan is attacked and, sorry to say, you’re the lone survivor…which is a shame as Ricky would’ve made for a hilarious albeit annoying companion all the way through.

Speaking of companions, you can’t bring anyone with you in Honest Hearts. Sorry, ED-E. You’ll also need to drop your inventory down to only 75 lbs, which is irksome, but understandable. Thankfully, I was only at like 112/215 at that point, so I dropped some stupid things like lunchboxes and clothes I’ll never wear. At least they didn’t strip you of every awesome thing you worked really hard for like Bethesda has done in the past with Operation Anchorage, The Pitt, Mothership Zeta, and Dead Money.

So far, I’m enjoying Honest Hearts a thousand and five times more than Dead Money. It’s less claustrophobic, focusing more on exploring and looting through abandoned places considered too taboo for the native folk. The landscape itself is varied, but sparse of life, and at this point I’ve shot some geckos and steered clear of cazador groups. I was particularly surprised to see the Courier coming face to face with Joshua Graham, also known as the Burned Man, so soon into the adventure as I figured he’d be too pivotal and big for open chatting. Guess he’s desperate for help.

Also, kind of like when one first arrives at the Strip, the player is overwhelmed with a great number of quests to do. Like three at once, and then another five at once. It’s both great and maddening. I’m currently working on Rite of Passage, a side quest that’s more than a little trippy, while I figure out exactly how I want to go about Zion and saving its people (or not). I got to the end of the quest and quickly met death so I’m not sure if I’m ready for this or just if I need to plan better. We’ll see…right, Ghost of She?

And here’s what I’ve gotten so far Achievement-wise, both of which are simply tied to completing specific quests:

When We Remembered Zion (20G): Arrived at Zion.

Restore Our Fortunes (30G): Resupplied Daniel and the Sorrows.

Sadly, the Achievements for these DLC add-ons are never very exciting. If only the brains behind them would open up and get creative; I mean, the in-game challenges do a much better job of getting players to express their characters fully, encouraging my current Courier to melt enemies and damage limbs, rewarding us with bonus XP. Why not go the extra three feet and make some of those into Achievements? But I digress…

Looking forward to exploring more Utah territory. Most likely this weekend.