Real estate in Fable 2: an incentive not to playFebruary 8th, 2009 by Ben
I’ve been playing Fable 2 since late December, hoping that it would deliver on all the hype. After putting in quite a few hours and completing the main story line, I’ve decided that, like a lot of critics, I’m not quite convinced. Certainly there are impressive elements — the graphics and visual style are suitably impressive, and the combat system manages to be simple, fun, and relatively deep.
However, as plenty of critics have said, the story is way too short, and ends abruptly without so much as a boss fight. The clothing system is pretty fun to play with, but there is an unfortunate lack of options for outfitting your character, and the only equipment that affects your performance is weaponry (which is also lacking variety).
Aside from all these issues, the one that sticks with me the most is the poorly balanced real estate system. On the surface, it’s a neat system. You can buy property and rent it out to earn money. You can purchase furniture to improve the value of your properties and sell them for a profit. You can interact with the local economy to improve (or destroy) the amount of profit you get from your businesses. You collect rent every five minutes of real time, even when you’re not playing.
As nice as it is to earn money when you aren’t playing, the real estate system actually creates an incentive not to play once you get further into the game. After finishing the main story, you gain the ability to purchase Fairfax Castle for 1,000,000 gold. I didn’t have close to that amount, so my strategy was to buy up as much valuable real estate as possible and then stop playing for a week until my bank account got fat enough. There wasn’t enough content to keep me occupied in Albion until I had enough money, so I just switched to a different game. Call me crazy, but shouldn’t game mechanics actually encourage people to play?
To make matters worse, now that I have more money than I can spend, there’s no reward that seems worth the trouble. Apparently the reward for collecting all 50 silver keys, aside from an Xbox achievement is 50,000 gold? Seriously? After spending a million on a piece of property? Why would I spend hours collecting keys for chump change like that?
As much as I complain about Fable 2, my wife and my brother (who get the brunt of my complaints) would be quick to point out that I’m still playing. I can’t really explain why, except maybe for my compulsion to collect obscure achievements.