Parents' Guide to

Fable II

By Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 18+

A great fantasy, but contains many mature themes.

Game Xbox 360 2008
Fable II Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this game.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 24 parent reviews

age 12+

Well, if you're conservative, this game is probably not for you - but I think it is a great conversation-starter for some tough subjects

Have to say I'm a little surprised that CSM rated this "not for kids." Fable II isn't really about morality as much as it's about the social consequences of your actions; it presents them in very, very broad strokes but I think provides food for thought. I also am surprised this game is rated so high for violence: I consider Arkham Asylum to be considerably more violent, yet that's rated T and approved by CSM for older kids. Yes, there is swordfighting and shooting and blood (though it's usually overshadowed by the glowing orbs that indicate XP) but as long as you are killing "bad guys" and not electing to take the safety off and kill an innocent bystander, I don't see this game as terribly violent. This game can be played co-op, and is a great conversation-starter if you've got a kid who is ready to talk about sex, alcohol and other choices that have consequences. For instance, if your character engages in extramarital sex, not only do you risk or an STD, you will also find that you can't easily get rid of your lover. If you dismiss them, they will follow you around crestfallen, or consistently bring up marriage or presents in public. The sex itself is considerably more sanitary that sex on prime time TV, although it's interesting to see how it changes depending on your gender (another great topic; it's supposed to be a gender-neutral game but the male and female characters don't act the same and aren't treated the same.) Condoms are a common "prize" and to have sex, you have to choose protected or unprotected sex; unprotected sex can lead to pregnancy as well as STDs. Once your character has a family, he or she will be expected to pay their upkeep and pay attention to them, whether or not you married your partner. There are also characters of many different sexualities including one transgender/drag queen (hard to tell which) Some quests involve helping NPCs untangle romances, some quests deal with NPCs sexual preference (A farmer asks you to find a wife for his son, who turns out to be gay) These issues make the game inappropriate for smaller children, but at a certain age this game can be a good jumping-off place to discuss how complicated sex can be. Likewise, drinking will make you vomit and lose control of your body. There are lots of drunkards in the game who look pretty stupid; it's not glorifying bad behavior by any manner of means. Your choices also reflect on your face in a kind of Dorian Grey sort of way: the more evil you are, the uglier you get. Evil acts tend to be selfish and hedonistic: eating meat and pie, drinking alcohol, overcharging, taking slaves. You also have to make amends even if you do something wrong unintentionally: it's pretty easy to accidentally use magic or draw your sword when talking to a villager, but it takes a considerable amount of time to get them to stop running away from you and screaming - and if you need their assistance, you won't get it. You will also be shunned socially if you don't alter your behavior to suit your audience: prudes don't like belching, and free spirits get bored by polite gestures. All in all, it's not a bad way to open discussion between you and your teen. If you don't plan to talk about it as they play, however, I think it is probably best to wait until your child is an adult. Even the scarier parts of town offer a lesson: it's clear that prostitutes, thieves, assassins, and beggars are not living happily, and again is a good opportunity to discuss privilege and choice and the role it plays in offering life choices. I recommend playing this game with your child or playing it through on your own and then asking him or her about different areas and scenes. I'm hesitant to put an age recommendation on this review, because it does require a certain kind of maturity from your child - some kids get there sooner, and some later.
2 people found this helpful.
age 14+

Great game for older players

I think this is a superb game that's all about choices, much like the first. It has a very black and white moral system for the most part, and you do see consequences for acting immorally. The violence is a bit much, but sex is dealt with in a tasteful and mature manner. I think it's a little iffy for younger teens, but for your older teens it's a great game that offers a lot to talk about.
2 people found this helpful.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (24 ):
Kids say (33 ):

While accepting missions and exploring the lands, players can do just about anything in this virtual world. Accompanied by your loyal dog (who can help sniff out treasure for you and ward off enemies) you can buy, sell, or rent out properties; take on jobs (providing an additional revenue stream); fight enemies and recruit others to aid in your cause; learn new skills and acquire better weapons and items; get married and have children, and so forth. While not available on the disc at launch, Xbox 360 owners can download a patch that offers the promised "co-op" multiplayer mode, so at any time you can jump into a friend's game and play along (and then bring the experience points and items back to your game).

While certainly a well-crafted quest, combat is too simplistic (whether you choose to specialize in melee, range, or magic abilities or fight with a combination of all three); the characters don't look nearly as good as the impressive environments and weather effects; and the map is horrible, so players will likely rely on the shimmery breadcrumb trail instead. Overall, though, Fable II is an enchanting fantasy with clever (and quite humorous) dialogue, expansive locations, and non-repetitive missions to suck you deep into this mature tale.

Game Details

  • Platform: Xbox 360
  • Available online?: Available online
  • Publisher: Microsoft
  • Release date: October 21, 2008
  • Genre: Role-Playing
  • ESRB rating: M for Blood, Language, Sexual Content, Use of Alcohol, Violence
  • Last updated: November 4, 2015

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