HD remakes have come a long way in the video games cycle; Microsoft had their shot with Halo Anniversary; which in turn was a success. So how does Fable fair with the extra paint pallet?
A decade ago the original Fable was released on the Xbox, which was one of the critically acclaimed, and humorously the best game in the series at its time. From being the best game in series, it then went into a slump with sequel after sequel and also two arcade titles to fill your magical hands with. Lionhead studios decided to release the Fable the Lost Chapters which was the original game but with extra content. All of this may have been good for the series, but there lies a problem; the extra paint is not enough for Fable Anniversary.
The plot for Fable Anniversary is identical to Fable: The Lost Chapters, was originally released on Xbox and then followed suit onto PC. 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 hero guild takes you under his wing and trains you up to become the hero you want to be. In any Fable game it’s all about the player’s choices and the decision they make, from being good as an angel to an evil trouble maker. Fable has it all, but has a lot of problems at the same time.
You take on jobs or quests assigned by the guild, which includes the chance to save the helpless habitants or even massacre the poor worthless travellers across Albion. Now with Fable comes the upgrade system where you can improve the hero’s attributes with the experience points earned from the jobs you do. This can then be spent on strength, dexterity and magic. Using the attributes gains you the bonus experience for its respective upgrades that are used.
Anniversary takes all of the humour and provides a versatile make over with the extra visual paint pallet, and that is all you get with this game. 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 lock on system, this feature is supposed to lock on easily to the nearest enemy NPCs, but that does not happen that easily; for instance when using the magic abilities like lightning it will shoot at another enemy that is far away from you, than the actual enemy in front of you. This also happens during combat, when you are swinging your weapon at the enemy and trying to hit them, you are not hitting them properly only to realise that the enemy is 180 degrees behind you.
While I have been playing the game, I have noticed other problems that need to be addressed. Some of the enemies will get stuck in the environment; all of this can make it hard for you to hit them, only having to wait for them to come out of the level environment. All I have noticed is that Lionhead have taken what was one of the best RPGs at its time; through a virtual time machine and placed all of the original code onto a disc and just copied it.
The original Fable had an easy understanding menu system that was reliable to navigate through; a decade later the menu system has changed to a more cluttered place that even an elephant can fit in and feel right at home. This 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 again.
Albion still is a unique place to visit and meet rather humble people, which have a story of their own to tell. Lionhead have used the original voice actors and also the original soundtrack; and made it more remarkable to this day, but the various gameplay problems fade that out of our hearts.
The Fable franchise for me is one of the best games that I have enjoyed, and I was happier to hear that LionHead was to release an updated version of the original game. But I felt disappointed to see this product and to realise that the studio still did not fix and learn from their mistakes a decade ago. With the next-gen Fable game just around the corner, I just hope to see if the series still has a name for its self after this bad performance.