Fable Anniversary – As We Play

As we play offers the thought strands of the reviewer as they’re going through the game. This offers unique content for the reader so they can come to understand the conflicting feelings of the reviewer as they’re playing a game for the very first time. All feedback on this concept is welcome.

HD remakes have been a big part of industry development the last few years. Microsoft have already had a shot with Halo Anniversary; which in turn was a success. So how does Fable fair with an extra paint palette?

A decade ago, the original Fable was released on Xbox and went on to become one of the most critically acclaimed titles of its time. Humorously, the original also still happens to be the best.

Fable, unfortunately,went into a slump with sequel after sequel, as well as two arcade titles that did little to respect the good work already done. The studio even tried additional content and DLC, but none of that ever felt like more than a halfhearted afterthought.

Unfortunately, even the extra paint is not enough for Fable Anniversary in this latest release from Lionhead Studios.

The plot for Fable Anniversary is identical to Fable and Fable: The Lost Chapters. The game follows the story of a young boy in a peaceful village who loses his family to a vicious attack. A mysterious figure from the Heroes Guild takes him under his wing and trains him up to become a hero.

In any Fable game, it’s all about the player’s choices and the decisions they make; from being as good as an angel to an evil trouble maker. Fable has it all, but there are many problems to be found at the same time.

You take on jobs or quests assigned by the guild, which includes chances to save helpless habitants or even massacre poor worthless travellers across Albion. Also with Fable comes the upgrade system where you can upgrade a heroes attributes with the experience points earned from the jobs you do. These can then be spent on strength, dexterity and magic. Using these attributes gains you bonus experience for respective upgrades that are used.

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Anniversary takes all of the humor found in the original and provides a versatile make-over with the extra visual paint pallet. Unfortunately, that is the best this package has to offer. The updated graphics may have given the game the extra gloss, but it is the actual gameplay that lets it down.

Let’s start with the lock-on system. This feature is supposed to make it easier for you to lock on easily to the nearest enemy. But it’s anything but easy; for instance, when using magic abilities like lightning, the bolt shoots at another enemy further away from the actual enemy in front of you. This also happens during combat when swinging your weapon at an enemy. When trying to strike, you don’t always connect properly as you’ll soon realise that the enemy is actually 180 degrees behind you.

I’ve also noticed some of the enemies getting stuck in the environment, naturally making it harder for you to hit them, in turn forcing you to wait for them to come out of the level environment.  It literally feels like Lionhead have placed all of the original code onto a disc, added a lick of paint and just copied it.

The original Fable had an easy to understand menu system that was reliable to navigate through; a decade later, the menu system has become a more cluttered place that even an elephant can fit in and feel right at home. That being said, the save feature has been fixed and allows you to create up to six saves for each hero created. Back ten years ago, this was not possible and rather problematic for the player, which allowed them to overwrite the system multiple times over.

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Albion is still a unique place to visit and meet rather humble people, all of whom have a story of their own to tell. Lionhead have used the original voice actors and soundtrack, and made it more remarkable with the benefits of high definition, however, the various gameplay problems bring the quality down.

The Fable franchise, for me, is one of my all-time favorites, and I was happy to hear that Lionhead were to release an updated version of the original game. However, I am disappointed to see the end-result, and is unfortunate that Lionhead have still not fixed and learned from their mistakes a decade ago. With a next-gen Fable game surely just around the corner, I hope to see the series return to form after this sub-standard performance.

Technical Competency – 5/10

Graphical State/Sound Quality – 8/10

Gameplay Quality 6/10

Overall – 7/10

(These grades assess our playthrough, taking into consideration how many (if any) bugs were encountered, whether there were any interruptions in gameplay and the product’s final technical state. These scores, coupled with the Final Analysis and Areas for Development, are suggestions for future patches and updates which the developers could (and in our opinion, should) explore. These scores are separate to our DLC/Expansion Reviews but link into our Patch/Firmware Reviews.)

(These scores are not designed as a grading system to determine the entertainment value of a product and should not be treated as such)

Issues you’ve encountered

  • Enemy NPC’s getting stuck in the level environments.
  • Menu system cluttered and hard to navigate.
  • Lock-on issues make targeting impossible to handle.
  • Lock on issues, menu system, and technical bugs need to be a focus in a future update.

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