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  1. #1
    Network Hub Rath's Avatar
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    Oct 2011
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    Fable Anniversary

    So, Fable Anniversary. First impressions - it's a mixed bag.

    Presentation

    Remember the first time you played Fable and the first thing you saw was that guy wearing dark plate armour stabbing the floor and unleashing the Lionhead logo? Exactly the same thing again. I was pleased.

    The world looks great. It's not been physically altered in any way that I've seen so far, just given a hi-def coat of paint. Every area looks great in the Unreal engine, albeit with occasional bouts of texture pop-in.

    When it comes to character models, faces look alright if a little like plastic, but hair in particular seems to be a problem in some instances. It's strange; some of them still appear to be detailed textures, others don't. Some of the styles available to the Hero look as though they could have been painted on, while on some NPCs it seems to frequently look like shiny plastic rather than strand textured the way it used to. So far this has been most evident on Briar Rose - she really doesn't look half as good as she used to.

    Maze on the other hand looks fantastic in comparison with his older model;




    The new menu system is a huge improvement over that of every other game in the franchise, with a tabbed design that puts the menu of Fable 2 to shame. If I have one complaint, it's that it doesn't re-open on the same tab when you enter/exit from it. In the unlikely event that Anniversary ever sees a PC release, this might be a nice option to include.





    Mechanics


    While I have fond memories of the PC version of Fable: The Lost Chapters, they are not rose-tinted enough to make me forget the awful save system, numerous bugs and the bizarre ageing system that left your character looking older than his own mother.

    Two and a half of those three things have been addressed. The game retains the "Save Checkpoint" system of old rather than implementing a less frustration inducing quick-save system, which frankly should be mandatory by this point.

    Less than seven hours of in-game time and the Hero Of Oakvale looks like he should be dodging undertakers left and right. I'm not saying I would have liked to see the ageing removed entirely, but they could have reduced it by half as much and it would still probably seem disproportionate.

    And good grief, the bugs.

    The first thing I noticed, from the first time I was in the main menu was that I was having to hit certain buttons twice before the game would acknowledge it. Oddly though, this is only an issue on some of the options.

    One of Mazes' early lines of dialogue seemed to have a minor glitch where one of his words got cut off mid-sentence; I'm not 100% about this but I could swear that was present in the original version as well.

    On two occasions while walking around Twin-Blades' camp, the game suddenly froze for a good couple of seconds before stuttering slowly back into life as though getting over some kind of memory lag issue. The guy running the Fist Fight arena in the same area still retains the same wildly alternating mixture of Geordie and Almost But Not Quite The Actor Sam Neill™ accents that he had in the original.* Moments later the game froze for a third time and did not resume.

    A quick browse of the Lionhead forums reveals other players having the same freezing issues, and in numerous other locations within the game. This, I would point out, is post patching, and I am not impressed with having to restart the entire bandit camp section again due to that damned checkpoint based save system.


    SmartGlass

    Given that between the developer logos and the start menu they shove an unskippable advertisement in your face about it, they seem quite keen to have you try this bolted on feature. I have a compatible device and I may give it a go but I'm not exactly frothing at the mouth in anticipation. I suspect this is due to my being pretty familiar with the previous iteration of the game and not really needing a strategy guide for it, but for new players I suppose it could be pretty useful.


    Thoughts, 7 Hours In

    It's a straight port with a purely cosmetic facelift. The only real additions come in the form of entirely optional SmartGlass features and DLC weaponry and costumes. It looks (mostly) great running on a large hi-def widescreen, but bugs that existed in the 2005 version of The Lost Chapters are still present, while new and crippling ones have crept in. There's a very fine line being straddled here between being true to the original for the sake of nostalgia and just not being bothered to change certain things.

    When you can run the PC version of TLC at full-spec on machines with integrated processors and no GPU (No, really. Try it.), it's difficult to recommend the 2014 console version over the one from nine years ago, especially when that version allows you to assign a plethora of useful items to a hot-bar while the 360 controller is limited to the four D-pad buttons for item use.

    I'm determined to see it through to the end, but I fervently hope another patch is coming soon because in it's current bug-addled state I'm not sure I can even progress much further than I already have.

    -------

    *Check out that collection of accents:
    "Men shall never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest." - Diderot

  2. #2
    Obscure Node
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    Mar 2014
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    11
    I wish this game was on Pc

  3. #3
    Network Hub Rath's Avatar
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    Oct 2011
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    Update:

    The freezing issues continue, in pretty much every location so far.

    Also, they have managed to cock up the way tattoos work. The new menu sorts them by body part, head, chest, limbs etc. but because "Remove Tattoos" doesn't correspond to any one individual body part, it doesn't appear on the menu. Worse, "Remove Tattoos" does take the form of a card that you can steal from the tattooist shop near the entrance of Knothole Glade, but even when you have the card it is unusable.
    "Men shall never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest." - Diderot

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