Brief open message to the developers of Fable: For your own safety and the sanity of all your players, DO NOT COMBINE LONG SECTIONS WITHOUT SAVE POINTS WITH TIMED QUESTS! When I’ve spent 20 minutes fighting my way through three bloody areas of your game and carefully collecting every item and exploring every nook and cranny on the way, having to start ALL OVER because I take half a minute too long killing the last 6 enemies in the last area of the mission is approximately 87% likely to cause me to quit the game and kick a random object in the room.
Thank you. End of message.
In fact, timed missions in general… suck. Yeah okay, there is ONE timed mission in The Nameless Mod, but that’s funny, original, well integrated in the game and level design, and most importantly: it involves no fighting. I may not be the most impartial judge, mind, as the entire level was my idea. But I do believe we’ve managed to pull it off without too much headache on the part of the player, and the fact that you can quicksave in Deus Ex plays an important role in this equation as well.
The reason Fable has been pissing me off so much in the last few missions is because 1) the AI is eh… simple, and 2) you cannot save your game during most missions. Preventing me from saving has provided major frustration before; mainly, it’s the reason I never made it past the third level in Project: Snowblind – when my success or failure depends on whether or not a particular enemy chooses to turn his head within the 3 seconds when I’m moving from one hiding place to another, I want to be able to save my bloody game, dammit! Do not force me to play the same 10 minutes of the game over and over until I do it perfectly! THIS MAKES ME MAD!
Instead, take a hint from Call of Duty 2 or Beyond Good & Evil, where the game saved itself automatically every time you passed a certain challenge. This is the perfect solution for everyone involved, it saved me the trouble of quicksaving every 6 seconds without causing major frustration by forcing me to repeat large parts of the game, and it saved the developers the problem of implementing a quicksave function in a console game (for some reason this seems to a problem with consoles… maybe because there are so few buttons on the controller in the first place that it’s a shame to waste one of them on a quicksave bind?)
In Fable, I had the bad fortune of taking on the handicap that I was going to kill the leader of a bandit siege on a certain village while preventing the gang leader from being rescued. This sounded easy to me, but that was before I figured out that it meant I had to kill ALL the bandits in the siege before the gang leader made it outside the city walls, rather than just the 5 or so bandits who were going to attempt the rescue. The trouble was that this meant I had to try this quest about 8-10 times before I finally managed to kill them all off in time. The mitigating circumstance was that the quest only included one area of the game which was directly accessible by a magical portal, so I didn’t have to spend ages just getting there every time I had to start over. Eventually, I had to go out and do a couple of other quests and get some more experience and a better weapon before I returned and finally completed the quest.
But this last one, where I appear to need to start over from 3 areas back if the timer runs out? I’m not digging that.