Developer: Lionhead Studios
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Platform: Xbox 360
Long-awaited RPG tests your glee threshold
A wise old bard once shut his eyes, entered a trance-like state and advised his audience in a cloud-piercing tenor, “Doooon’t stop…bee-lieeeevin’!” Though his words echo down to the present from tens upon tens of years ago, the message they carry is a timeless one. Early in Fable II, while your character is but a young street urchin in the mythical land of Albion, you and your sister encounter a traveling salesman hawking a magical music box he claims will grant a single wish when played. Though you initially sneer at the notion, a mysterious hooded figure named Theresa (whose voice actor sounds exactly like Judi Dench) encourages you to buy it, reminding you that you want to believe its real. J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter novels carried the same implicit message: keep your sense of wonder intact, guard against heart-petrifying cynicism. Even if you decide to guide your character down a virtuous path, the game's Creative Director, Peter Molyneux, stands out as the real hero in this utterly engrossing fairy tale. Fable II is itself a magical music box, but the damn thing’s broken and can’t stop granting wishes.