Soundtrack review: Fable II (Russell Shaw – 2008)
“Fable II” is an action role-playing open world video game in the Fable game series developed by Lionhead Studios and published by Microsoft Game Studios for Xbox 360. It is the sequel to Fable and Fable: The Lost Chapters. There are both interactive and non-interactive cutscenes in the game. According to Lionhead Studios, the non-interactive cutscenes consume less than five minutes of game time. In the fully interactive cutscenes a player can use their expressions during the dialogue or even run away from the scene, thus skipping it; afterward the player can return to the cutscene location to start it again. If the player runs away from a cutscene which contains important information, the character will await the player’s return. Russell Shaw returned for the score.
The score starts with a delightful music box version of Danny Elfman’s theme complete with a choral section that reminds of one of my favorite compositions of his, the “Alice” theme from “Alice in Wonderland”. Once again we get a proper fantasy theme for this game. As the actual game score starts it’s back to the playfulness from the first score. I find myself smiling as I am exploring the “Old town”. I hear Elfman’s influence in other cues as well, even if he wasn’t involved, but maybe working together inspired Russell Shaw.
There’s a gift for the Celtic music lover in me as the beautiful “Bowerlake” echoes back to countless hours of longing and dreaming of the misty shores of Ireland. Ah that fiddle and that haunting string… how happy I am every time I get to hear you again. “Bowerlake” is a proper Celtic anthem and I love it. There seems to be more mystery in this second game and the score reacts accordingly.
I find “Fable II” to be more complex and enjoyable than the first one. I hear an evolution in the music and an I can connect much better with it. This is no longer a light and playful score but a layered and meaningful composition. “Oakfield” shows exactly what I mean as it weaves joyful motifs into a beautiful love theme.
The darkness is represented by the gothic choir in “Shadow of evil” and “Howland falls” which echo back to the “Guild” theme from the first score. There’s nothing else in this cue other than the choir but it’s powerful enough to send the message. I feel a dark smoke taking over the world of “Fable” as these two cues cast a big shadow.
“Fable II” is a an enjoyable score and an upgrade from the first one.
Cue rating: 88 / 100
Total minutes of excellence: 18 / 45
Album excellence: 39%