I was going to buy the original Fable game but I ran into a few problems. One, I don’t own an Xbox. Two, my laptop sucks at running games, holy horses the lag is terrible. Three, it’s been remade for the Xbox 360, might as well just buy the anniversary version. I know, hard-core retro gaming out the window, I hope you can forgive me. Technically, it has been out for about ten years, this is just the rehash.
The difference with Fable Anniversary is that it has been combined with the extra content of The Lost Chapters. Remember Scythe or Briar Rose from the first game? No, because I was too being annoyed by Whisper and her obnoxiously muscled brother, Thunder. Anniversary and Lost Chapters expands the roles of certain characters such as Briar Rose. She was interesting in a hipster Harry Potter sort of way. Anyway, on with the game!
Doing spells before it was cool.
Unlike Fable 2 & 3, the player does not have the option of being a girl or boy. Of course, it’s a nostalgia trip not a ‘let’s remakes the whole game’. The game begins with the player being wholly unprepared for his sisters birthday. His father, Brom, promises him gold coins each time he does a good deed in order to pay for a present. This is the first introduction of the good vs bad actions of the Fable games.
For example, the player is asked by a crate carrier to take care of some boxes whilst he goes to the toilet. The player must guard the boxes whilst another child from the village coaxes you to destroy them in order to see what is inside. Either you can be a bit of dick and massacre the crates or ignore the kid. However, the player needs the gold coins in order to progress in the game.
My thoughts whilst playing was ‘might as well do the good thing to progress quicker’. It isn’t until after you give your sister present does morality matter. Once those tasks are done, bandits attack Oakvale and slaughter everything in sight including the player’s family. Then Batman is born! Ok, maybe not Batman but tragic enough for the main character to train to become a hero. Found by Maze the Wizard, the boy is taken to the hero guild where everyone from the Guildmaster to Whisper apparently think you aren’t up to the task. It’s not like you just witnessed a massacre or anything.
‘I’m better than you’ ‘I just beat you…’ ‘I still better!’
And then the true game begins! After the training the Guild of course, proving to Whisper that she shouldn’t be so damn stuck up. Yes, I have annoyed feelings about this character. I’m pretty sure shes in love with the Hero of Oakvale but it’s never addressed in game. Every time she calls you Farm-Boy, I repress the urge to yell ‘As you wish’.
The game evolves into the player trying to find the last remaining members of the hero’s family. Although his sister did not die, she had the pleasant experience of having her eyes cut out. On the plus side, she can now see the future. The hero’s mother has been locked by Jack of Blades (the bad guy) and you have to rescue her from a delightfully creepy dungeon.
Now, like all Fable games, you can either be a goody two-shoes or an absolute bastard. You are given quests such as slaughtering travelling salesman or choosing the opposite affect and protecting them. In the Area out in Witchwood, you can kill Whisper at the end of the fight or save her. This determines whether you receive a halo or horns.
‘So, how you doing?’ ‘Please don’t kill me?’
The fighting system is a bit different too. The player is given the option of Light or Heavy weapons. However, the player cannot wield heavy weapons until your strength is built up. I found this vaguely annoying as the bad guys can have better weapons than you. Until the player has built up enough points, you’re stuck being slightly inferior to everyone else. There is also the stun affect, where you hit the bad guy so hard it stuns them but they don’t die. If I hit an unarmoured man with a huge bloody hammer, I’m going to assume that caved his skull in. When its takes twenty strikes to do so, I wonder whether they are heroes too.
Hit me again, bitch, I love it.
And of course, the mechanic that aggravated me the most as a young teenager, the aging. Whilst everyone else skips around with youthful complexions, the player is given about three days before they look like old leather. I never understood the developer’s choice then and I don’t understand now. There is little point in having the main guy age faster than everyone else. Either the hero has a disease or a curse since no one else appears to change. I understand that the game isn’t a reworking of the original but LionHead could have at least gotten rid of that small thing.
‘Is that you Whisper? Its been so long?’ ‘I saw you two days ago’
The villain of the piece is Jack of Blades, a sadistic, mask-wearing crazy guy who has been trying to kill the hero’s family. It is revealed that the hero belongs to an ancient bloodline that can wield a powerful item known as the Sword of Aeons. For a villain, I found Jack quite generic. Don’t me wrong, he looks fairly fabulous and has an air of menace.
But for someone who has a big role in your life, it isn’t until the middle of the game I start to take him seriously. He has a lot of hype but not enough clout that makes him a threat. I was more surprised by (spoilers) Maze’s betrayal as he has been with the Hero for years. As villains go, Jack had his one goal, worked towards it and failed.
Bitch, I’m still fabulous!
One of my favourite things in the game is the different areas. Each of them are fun and have something new to offer. There are the dark, dank areas with creepy music and shadowy people ready to stab you. Apparently that was based on Essex. Knothole is constantly raining, populated by Balverines and Northern people. So, it’s basically Lancashire. No matter where you went, there is always something to challenge the player.
Travelling around like an awesome hero I am!
I was really excited when I heard about the re-release, the younger me remembering the days of travelling across old Albion and stabbing things. However this is the one game I have gone back too and been slightly disappointed with it. Sometimes there is the risk of memories not being up to scratch. I didn’t hate the game; I just didn’t spend three days straight refusing to speak to anyone as I played.
I will probably go back and play occasionally, which means there are things still things I like. For instance, the monsters are always imaginative and ready to kick my butt. Despite the mediocre villain, there were twists like Maze being a betraying bastard or about half your family still being alive or travelling through creepy, creepy roads. Next time, I’ll be going over Donkey Kong Country.
By the way, your health is low.