OK, I've been playing Fable II, and it's fair-to-middling awesome. It's definitely FUN, and that's the primary goal of a game, right? I intend to put together a spectacularly ruminative comparison of Fable II to Fallout 3, but I won't get my grubby little hands on Fallout 3 until Monday at midnight, and then playing the damn thing will take a hundred hours or so, so that post may be some time in the making. I know it's not really fair to compare and contrast a light-hearted fantasy RPG with a gritty, shooty post-apocalyptic RPG, but I'm going to anyway, and damn the consequences.
It seems like there is a fundamental difference in design philosophy between Lionhead and Bethesda, and illuminating that difference sheds light on what games are and how they do what they do... that's vague to the point of irritation, but I can't quite put my finger on what I mean... I'll have much more (MUCH MORE) to say next week after playing Fallout 3.
Suffice to say for the time being that Fable II is a mechanism for linear story-telling (deep but narrow), whereas Oblivion was a mechanism for constructing narrative (shallow but broad).
That's not quite it, either.
Oh well. I'll blather more next week. Now I'm off to defeat Lucien and buy Fairfax Castle for my bride-to-be, Jemma the Whore (she was the only cheerful, good-natured raunchy bisexual I could find in Bloodstone. What?).