- this is a rereview for a game I failed to review the best I could the first time. Let me start this off by saying this: I was a late beta tester for this game and I am a Fable fan. I loved Fable (and similarly Fable: The Lost Chapters), thought Fable II was mostly great and hated Fable III... especially the dreadful PC port and the constant issues that followed it right until it got taken off of Steam. In retrospect, Fable: Anniversary was another Fable III -- mainly due to its disastrous launch. No mouse cursor on menus? Unbindable keys? These weren't big issues for me (mainly because I learned to put up with them) but I admittedly forgot to include them in my early review. On top of that, I seemed to have avoided most if not all of the technical issues that plagued the title at release date. The game, as far as I was concerned, was great.
Upon feedback I quickly found out this wasn't the case and included issues as well as their solutions in my review. I also became more active on the community hub so I could learn of new potential issues as well as help out others. The developers also quickly reacted based on feedback and within a few months had pumped out a considerable number of patches and hotfixes. TODAY the game has: full mouse and keyboard support, blurriness and depth-of-field fixed, stuttering resolved for the vast majority of users, numerous crashes sorted and various bugs addressed. These problems shouldn't have existed in the first place but nevertheless, I'm happy they got fixed honestly. So hopefully this rereview is more accurate this time around (I've included a Pros and Cons list now) and it doesn't look so nostalgic-y.
A little bit about the game: Fable Anniversary is a remastering of the 2005 remake of the original 2004 title "Fable". This 2005 remake is simply known as Fable: The Lost Chapters and was quite a sizeable overhaul in that it added new items, weapons, spells, monsters, quests, locations, abilities and more. In addition to minor tweaks, the remake also featured a slightly extended story as well as small subplots and relatively unimportant characters being made far more prominent in the game. Apart from this, Fable's still very much the same game at its core. It's an action/role-playing/semi open-world game and it has you playing as the Hero of Oakvale. I use "open-world" loosely as some areas are not unlocked until certain missions are completed (think Grand Theft Auto). Anyway, you start the game as a young boy who is to journey across the fictional land of Albion and make a name for himself.
Right from the start the game's unique sense of humour, somewhat dark story and moral alignment system are all presented and are on display. It's totally up to the player as to how you interact with everyone else and what kind of Albion you envision. Gameplay and controls are solid and very typical of a third-person game, so they're not hard to get used to. Satisfying combat, the variety of enemies and the 3 distinct fighting styles (melee, ranged, spells) all keep the player engaged. While the main story takes around 10-15 hours: character customization, numerous sidequests and the various activities will massively inflate your playtime. There's also the memorable soundtrack to look forward to, however, the overall voice acting is something I struggle with -- its serviceable but it's not amazing either. All this being said, Fable's still a fun RPG and a game anyone can pick up and be entertained with.PROS
+ runs on the Unreal Engine 3 and well optimized when compared to the original game (as of the latest patch)
+ true widescreen (unrestricted resolution with appropriate field-of-view; V-Sync caps the game at 60 FPS but disabling it will allow your PC to run the game at whatever FPS it can manage)
+ textures and “character updates” mostly look decent (although some will prefer the old look)
+ the new lighting system + particle effects, better facial animations and improved lip-sync are all great
+ audio quality has noticeably improved and surround sound is now supported
+ controllers are fully supported (I used a keyboard for the majority of my playthroughs though)
+ new control schemes (one control scheme is inspired by Fable II and III which is neat)
+ new Heroic difficulty mode is fun and surprisingly challenging
+ most bugs, exploits, balancing issues and major complaints from the original game have been addressed (e.g. you now age 50% slower and scar less from combat unlike the original game)
+ Steamworks integration (cloud, achievements and workshop) and Steam trading cards
+ a few new outfits and weapons that weren't in the original game (these are free DLC from the Xbox 360 version)
+ free modding DLC (this didn't take off though and you only have clothes and animations to work with)NEUTRAL
+/- severe lack of Steam workshop mods
+/- 2 pricey DLC packs that bundle together DLC from the Xbox 360 version (both are optional and give you additional weapons and outfits that weren't in the original game)CONS
- the $35 price tag (for new players it's okay but I can understand why owners of the original game would feel it's a bit too much when the original game is great and still holds up well)
- the near-perfect UI from the original game has been swapped in exchange for one that feels more orientated for controller users (it’s clunky but still serviceable and feels less cluttered)
- the Hero of Oakvale’s face for all ages was changed (this visual update might frustrate some people as some of the faces in the original game looked better)
- some minor bugs still remain unfixed
- a few old animations that stand out nowadays
- no mouse sensitivity option (mouse-related options can be tweaked externally though)TL;DR -
It's always hard to recommend a remaster because of the new-game price tag but if you really enjoyed the original Fable or are new to Fable altogether: I can recommend this title. For those who own the game already... there may or may not be enough to justify purchasing this game. Some who liked the original game may even prefer Fable: The Lost Chapters over this and that's fine. Indeed, Anniversary contains a lot of changes that can be noted as both good and bad but if you expected a remaster and just a remaster -- it should deliver for the most part.