Posts Tagged ‘Fable 3’

Lionhead versus BioWare: The Emotional Battle

I’ve got to hand it to Lionhead Studios.

They’ve done it.  They really have.  I’m quite proud of them.

This Dog Smells Spoilers Ahead

What, exactly, have they done?  Well they’ve finally, FINALLY managed to really tug on my heartstrings.  With a human, that is.  The dog in Fable II was adorable, but doesn’t quite match an attachment to a human.

And yes, this post is spoileriffic.  If you haven’t finished Fable III yet (or Dragon Age & Mass Effect 1&2, for that matter), you won’t want to keep reading.

The thing about Fables I and II was that you never really felt a human connection, and emotional pull towards anyone, or any type of loyalty.  Of course Fable gave you the option to marry and have children; however all the characters you could marry were flat, one dimensional, cardboard cutouts that could easily be replaced by the next guy or gal.  I would have no qualms over leading my husband through Wraithmarsh or along the Bandit Coast and having him be killed in some way.  The characters that were unique and interesting (the far and few between) didn’t have the option of marrying.

But Fable III, I’m happy to say, has gone beyond the boring and identical characters (although plenty of them still exist).  In the very beginning of this game, you will encounter a person of opposite gender named Elliot or Elise.  You’ll learn that this person is your lover of sorts.  About 2 minutes later, you’ll have to decide if you want to kill your lover or a group of villagers.  If that doesn’t sound too bad to you, imagine letting your lover live, only to end up being apart from them.  That is, until you embark upon a quest to find a kidnapped fiancee…only to find that the fiancee missing is your former lover!

And at that point, you’re given the option to choose if that person should stay with their betrothed, or if they should move on…to you.

You really want to kill him?!

Yeah, it’s a tricky choice you’re given, and while there aren’t a whole lot of repercussions (a few good or evil points, depending on if you ask them to leave their betrothed or not), I want to applaud Lionhead Studios for giving us gamers such a difficult decision.  Even though I played a good character the whole way through, after re-meeting Elliot and hearing him talk about how he still loved me, I couldn’t bear to give him up.

However, I want to point to my favorite video game developer, BioWare.  BioWare REALLY knows how to manipulate emotions and make the player feel connected to characters even though they aren’t real.  For example, in BioWare’s game Dragon Age, when you go to fight the final boss, it is inevitable that the boss will kill someone, and you have to decide who it will kill; yourself, one of your comrades, or, in a strange twist of events, you can have someone sleep with and impregnate a witch in order to save everyone.  Imagine, if you will, you play as a female, begin a romance with your fellow team member, and then, if you want both yourself and him to live at the end, you have to force him to sleep with the witch.

Yeah, that’s painful.  See this post to glimpse the depths of my despair when I decided I wanted both of us to live.

Or what about BioWare’s epic space game, Mass Effect 2, when finally meet up with your lover from the first Mass Effect?  You were separated for two years, imagine the pain you put your lover through… and the anger they throw back at you.

So, congratulations Lionhead Studios, for finally instilling some powerful [human] emotion into the Fable series, but you’ve still got a long way to go if you want to make a true mark in that area.

-Kat

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Fable III: Pre Order Exclusives Guide

With the upcoming October  release of Fable III looming near – next week, everyone, next week!! – I decided to give a rundown on the preordering exclusives you can find at various stores.  Because who doesn’t want the freebies that you can’t get anywhere else?!

Preorder Fable III from Amazon.com

If you don't preorder Fable III, this guy's gonna shoot you.

Amazon – I detail this option first because it seems to be the most cost-effective option if you’re someone who likes to save money.  You can get a $20 credit for any future video game purchases, and release date shipping is just 99 cents.  Plus Amazon is always nice enough to include a Pre-Order Price Guarantee, which means if you preorder for one price and then the price drops prior to the game coming out, you’ll pay the lower price.  And now, on to the exclusives!

  • Champion Hammer – First of all, it’s a hammer.  So yeah, that kinda sucks.  However, if you like your weapons slow but powerful, then this is for you.  I much prefer swords.  The name ‘Champion Hammer’ sounds nice, and it sounds like it will probably be slated in the ‘good’ category.  Otherwise it ain’t nothing but a pretty decoration.
  • Balance Tattoo – From a description I read, it sounds like this set relates to a hero committed to restoring balance in the world.  So that doesn’t really say a lot about what bonuses you could receive from it.  Strength?  Skill?

Preorder Fable III from Walmart

Walmart – Walmart has a similar deal to Amazon in that you will receive exclusive in-game content, a $20 Walmart.com eGift card, and the game is $59.96!!  You save FOUR CENTS, people!

  • Absolver Hammer / Mallet – Okay, so I can’t really tell if it’s a full sized hammer or just a mallet that you have conk your enemies out with.  Apparently the weapon has to due with Hammer wreaking vengeance in the name of her father after Lucien was defeated.  The perfect choice for warrior monks or angry priests.
  • Dragonbreath Tattoo – An attractive tattoo that explains perfectly how you may feel – like you want to breathe dragon flames on your enemies.

Or for an extra $20 you can get the limited edition with all the same preorder goodies. But it’s…limited.

Preorder Fable III from Gamestop

Industrial Tattoo and Inquisitor Sword, brought to you by Gamestop

Gamestop – The pre-order exclusives from Gamestop have been very publicized from their TV spot.  I’ve seen this spot more than I’ve even seen commercials for Fable III itself.  ‘Be as evil as you want to be’, claims the ad.  Let’s just say that it’s pretty obvious you’ll be going down the dark path if you choose Gamestop to pre0rder from.

  • Inquisitor Sword – According to Gamestop, this sword is somehow linked back to Reaver, and therefore earns you bonuses when you kill innocents, spend money, and annoy people.  And oh yeah, it’s evil.
  • Industrial Tattoo – The ever-changing tattoo!  It will morph to go along with your focuses, so the color will change depending on your alignment.  This tattoo makes you more attractive, and will also assist in completing a particular quest in Aurora.


Preorder Fable III From Best Buy

Best Buy – Last but not least, the final location to get exclusive in game content is from Best Buy.  These items are best for those dedicated to Will use.

  • Channeler Sword – You can already see what this sword is gonna do: have magical attributes.  Yes, it’s true.  This sword, which is pretty much encrusted with crystals and doesn’t look very sharp at all, was created by Garth in his later years and is imbued with his Will abilities.
  • Crystal Tattoo – So, just like the sword, the tattoo looks like crystals.  Crystals that are strangely arranged to look like wings.  I guess if you’re a Will user, you can fly…?

So there you have it.  Based on this info, I’m probably going to be ordering from Amazon.  I’ve already got one $20 pre-order credit under my belt.  Where will you be pre-ordering your copy from?

-Kat

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Virtual Reality Video Games: Holy Sh*t I Can Smell the Dwarf

Virtual Reality Video Games

"Turn your head and cough." Doctor Mario just isn't the same as it used to be.

While Kat was writing the post Virtual Reality Video Games: Population Control we got to talking, and as of right now I have some serious unanswered questions about VR and gaming. Lets just start out with the most open question:

“How immersive will VR be?”

If Dragon Age: Origins was virtual realty would that mean that video game developers would actually have had to create…well…Alistair penis? Video Game design and development meetings certainly would take a whole different turn wouldn’t they? “What should Leliana’s nipple to boob ratio be?”

“We need to pick a design for Morrigan’s hair.”
“We did that last Thursday.”
“No her other hair.”

For the sake of realism all the motion capture work would have to take it to the next step. Can’t you just picture it now: Man covered in full body motion capture suit. Little white ball on the tip ‘o the tallywhacker. Would the actors dispute the size of their motion capture?

Would someone actually have to decide what Leliana’s crotch smells like? I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume they aren’t going to decide cinnamon and Day Lilies.  Who has to determine that? Nerds everywhere (myself included) would LOVE to be a video game tester, but not if video games go virtual.

“Oh man, someone needs to crank down the funk on body odor for Niko. He’s going to make people vomit.”

Would this make in game showering mandatory for in game interactions? For every smell level you increase your charisma drops one. That would be an absolute pain in the ass. Imagine Fable III taking the touch mechanic one step farther into the smell mechanic. If you come home smelling like the town whore your wife bitch slaps you with a wooden spoon.

“Why do I smell stale beer and canned fart?”
“That’s just Oghren.”

Would you be allowed to turn smells off? That might be nice. I really don’t want to know what a sloth demon smells like. Desire demon maybe. Sloth demon no.

Would playing a simple game like Mario be huge stress release? You’re running around, punching bricks, jumping angrily on things. I bet getting shot out of a cannon is a rush. I wonder where the raccoon tail attaches to my body. Also I wonder how I wag it to fly. Do I have to actually EAT the mushrooms to grow bigger? I don’t like mushrooms, can we change it to gummy bears? Can I just touch the mushroom?

For Kat, VR means population control and getting to “experience” Alistair. For me, it means I have to smell the dwarf.

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Video Game Social Interaction: Games need a "Jiggle Button"

Certain video games do a marvelous job of reflecting reality when dealing with people’s reactions and affects in social interactions. In some video games your outward appearance affects how people react to your presence. Take Fable: the bigger bastard you are, the more your characters appearance will reflect you blackened soul, while inversely the kinder and more upstanding you were, the more handsome and welcomed you were thought of by the people.

In some video games your actions determine how others react to you. I could hardly go anywhere in Cyrodiil without people yelling about the “Hero of Kvatch” or how I was the new “Arena Champion”. This is in fact progressing into a more realistic scenario in coming games like Fable III. Recently Joystiq touched on Fable III’s “touch mechanic” by stating in their article X10: Fable 3 impressions (spoiler: we’re not pissed off):

“The second demonstration of the touch mechanic. The character walked up to a beggar and took him by the hand. The beggar, thinking he was being taken home for dinner, began to exclaim his gratitude. Only the demonstrator was going to be naughty — he led the beggar to a workhouse, where he intended to sell him. As they got closer to the factory, the beggar become more and more afraid, eventually pulling against the character’s arm in an attempt to escape. It was pretty horrifying.”

This touch mechanic represents a more in depth and user oriented experience in video games. Soon characters like Link will not longer be able to wander into people’s homes and raid their chests for money without feeling the repercussions cascade through the people in a ripple effect of justice. Pushing tombstones aside and taking the entombed treasure will brand you a depraved grave robber. Hoisting chickens above your head and jumping from high places in order to gently glide down to earth will label you as a ne’er-do-well who frequently engages in unusual forms of animal abuse. Come to think of it….what the hell is up with the Zelda games and their morals? (I’m not complaining, I’m just confused by it.)

The one aspect video games lack is a distinct…feminine touch. It’s no big secret that women have a strange powerVideo Game Boobs: DOAover men. That power is typically located around the same area on all of them. To get any guy to succumb to their wile requires little (if any) effort. I have always been somewhat let down that when selecting a female character that my interactions with my male NPCs didn’t go more smoothly than when I selected a male character. Boobs are pretty much the greatest weapon a woman has when asking for information/favors/help/anything at all.

Video games have never really taken this into account. With one little button a female character should be able to easily get what they want. I refer of course to the “Jiggle Button”. It would be the ultimate game changer. NPC won’t give up the key to the locked door in the back of the room? [Jiggle Button] PRESTO! Security Guard won’t divulge information as to the objective’s whereabouts? [Jiggle Button] “Pleeeaaaaassseeee?” SUCCESS!! Can’t win the fight against the horde of male enemies? [Jiggle Button] for distraction and VIOLA!!

The downside is eventually video games run the risk of deteriorating into:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xbcMI0FjlBg]

Personally, I’m a pretty big fan of the last guy in a robe with a bottle of wine. Nice!

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