I enjoyed Fable 2. I wasn't expecting it to be anything special, but it turned out pretty decent. It's not without its flaws, and it's definitely not a great game, but I had a lot of fun with it.
I'll start out with the criticisms I guess. Right off the bat, you can't find much wrong with it apart from the obscenely big and slow user interface on the menu. God damn does that suck. And it's particularly bad if you want to do several things while in the menu, because if you do something, the menu closes automatically afterwards and you have to open it again, which is a frustratingly slow process.
It's particularly noticeable when trading items with people via the orb... system... thing. You can't just flag a list of items to send in one go. You find your friend, target them, press A which brings up a menu (slowly) which you then navigate (slowly) to the "Gift" option. After selecting "Gift", the main menu appears and you have to select one of the many item categories and scroll through a potentially enormous list to find the item you want. You select it, send it, and the menu closes and you do the whole thing over again.
I don't know what the weird orb things are called. Basically, if you're connected to the internet while playing, you can see a shining green orb with your XBL friends' gamer pic avatar in them, if your friend happens to be in the same place as you at the same time, which you can then interact with. Not very much, though. You can give them items if they're willing to stand still for five minutes. It's kinda cool to see your friends in-game when you're not actually playing with them, but it's a fleeting pleasure, and then you're like "Well what's the point in that?".
This was touted as a portal for Fable 2's "drop-in-drop-out" gameplay. However, "dropping in" to someone else's game takes forever and you don't even get to use your own character, items, or equipment. Not only that, but the camera is fucking HORRENDOUS. Rather than giving you your own camera, both players share a camera. Can you imagine how terrible that is for one moment? Unless you're standing right beside each other, the camera zooms out to keep you both on screen at once. It also makes navigating houses extremely difficult, as you're stuck in tight spaces with a camera that's freaking the fuck out. Not only does the game's tacked-on-at-the-last-minute-in-a-state-of-panic co-op have those two particularly massive and awful flaws, but you can't even interact with your friend while standing right next to him. You can't give each other items, or anything of the sort.
Some other minor flaws include the fact that your dog seems somewhat intangible. He'll phase through solid objects regularly, but if he's standing in a doorway you need to get through he'll make damn sure he's solid. However, this seems relatively rare and the problem disappears after a few seconds of running at your dog.
For me, the thing that disappointed most about Fable 2 was its story. It started out strong and interesting, but turned to complete shit half way through, when you have to sail away to a magical evil tower and pretend to be evil. There's a simple "TEN YEARS PASS" fade to black and after a short while you return home ten years later, greeted by your dog. HOW FUCKING OLD IS THIS DOG? Christ. What the fuck. Don't get me wrong the dog is awesome and I'm glad he's alive, but what the fucking shit? You find the dog as a kid, then grow up so several years pass, and then ten years pass, so I have to assume the dog is at least 15+ years old and still completely healthy. I'm sure they just replaced my dog with a new one while I was gone.
Whatever. That's not the point. The point is ten years pass and nothing has changed at all. Ooh, whoop-dee-doo, they built a new wall at the temple of light. Congratu-fucking-lations. It took you ten years to build a 3 foot high wall. And everybody's just like "Oh hey, it's the hero! Can I have your autograph?" and even my character's wife was like "Hello, honey!". No "Welcome back! Oh fuck you've been gone ten years! Finally you're back!". Everyone's just acting like a day has passed. It was extremely jarring and it really pissed me off that the game would even include some "TEN YEARS PASS" bullshit. One year would have been fine, y'know? I mean, the only thing different is that a wall got built. That could happen in a year, and one year wouldn't raise the question "HOW THE FUCK IS THIS DOG STILL ALIVE?", and it would be understandable that the world hadn't changed. But ten fucking years and no differences whatsoever? And everyone remembers me but doesn't notice I've been gone ten fucking years? And my wife is just fine with it and doesn't even mention it?
Anyway, the story goes even further downhill when it makes you find Reaver, some guy who's supposed to help you save the world. The guy is an ENORMOUS douchebag and I wanted to instantly kill him. BUT IT DOESN'T LET YOU. He's constantly going on about how great he is with his fucking pistol - excuse me but I just took out fifteen enemies in five seconds with a series of sweet as fuck headshots while you just stood there. Why do I need you, again? Fuck off, I'd rather save the world on my own.
There's three heroes in total you need to help you save the world. Some fat woman with a giant hammer, a guy who casts spells, and Reaver the asshole. You apparently need them because they're the heroes of Strength, Will and Skill, respectively. Seriously though, I was stronger than the hero of strength, more powerful than the hero of will, and faster and more accurate and deadly than the hero of skill. So why did I need any of them? Some glowing magic bullshit, I don't know. All I had to do was kill some guy and make a wish. I didn't need any of them for that.
The game's story is barely a few hours long. You just get distracted by the sidequests which makes it seem longer. It also has an insanely bad ending, and no climax. No final boss fight at all. The bad guy shows up, tells you he's killed your family. Then he kills your dog right in front of you. And then you just go to the bad guy's evil tower and you win, that's it. Congratulations you win the game. And you get given the fucking dumbest choice in history:
a) Save the lives of hundreds of innocent people who died working on building the tower
b) Bring your family and dog back to life
c) Get lots of money
Just... WHAT? Fucking RETARDED. R-E-T-A-R-D-E-D. Think about that choice for one fucking second: The "innocent" people were fucking stupid. They built an evil device, knowingly, while the guy they were working for barely paid them, and made them wear electric shock collars and locked them up without food. They went into this willingly. They can fucking stay dead, they were stupid. And will saving them benefit you in any way? No. Not at all. Are they going to thank you? Are you even going to see them again? Do you even know who they are? No. Fuck them. They can stay dead. Next, the money choice. Money is easy as fuck to come by in Fable 2. There's no reason to go for this choice, you'll never need money. And now the only good choice: Getting your dog back. He finds treasure and helps you fight. There's not a single reason NOT to make that choice.
Also, playing as the good guy will get you screwed over repeatedly. If you try to play the knight-in-shining-armor routine, you will be fucked over at every opportunity and get no rewards for it. I guarantee you will have more fun playing neutral or evil.
Okay onto the things I like about the game! It's genuinely fun to play. I doubt I'll go back to it, but it's fun the first time. There's a lot of customization available in your character's appearance and fighting styles, and the combat system is actually really good (although I never figured out the spell menu and assigning different spells, so I just stuck Time Control level one on there and put all my experience into boosting my pistol skills and shot the holy fuck out of everything with an obscenely fast-firing pistol. That was fun.)
The game has lots of good imagery. Lots of jarring changes from picturesque and peaceful to evil and war-torn. And I don't just mean some areas are nice and others are bad. I mean they would literally magically change in front of your eyes. Behind one Demon Door, I found a gorgeous snowy landscape. I walked down a path and there was a cute little house at the end. The second I walked in the door everything became dark. There were skeletons everywhere, and the music became sinister. That sort of thing happens a few times throughout the game, and I thought it was pretty cool.
I don't really have much more to say about it, really. It's a fun game, but it's only worth renting. I don't think it's worth buying.
Final verdict: C
Final play time: Probably around 20-30 hours.