Welcome to The TPS Report, home to video game blogs, mix sets and even the odd piece o' 3D art.

Broke arse student, freelance games reviewer and rambling obsessive that I am, I currently seek work in mags and web sites throughout the world. If you're in a position to make that happen - and like what you see around here - let me know. I've published work with the likes of IGN and Gaming Steve.

-Matt/Diggler

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Just what those wee numbers mean exactly.

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Multi-platform gaming chit chat, along with whatever interesting news and downloads I happen to stumble across amidst the interpipes.

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Future Plans For the Site
28/7/2012 22:31

Preview Time! Games to Look Out For in 2011
8/1/2011 5:54

2010's Games of Shame
6/1/2011 22:47

My Fave Games of 2010!
6/1/2011 20:12

StarCraft II Review - Dig Loveth the RTS!?
7/11/2010 12:48

10 Must-Have iPhone Games
2/6/2010 18:09

A Little Hotlink to An Article I Stuck Up On GiantBomb
21/4/2010 15:01

Aliens Vs Predator is Here! Woo! Oh, Hang On...
6/3/2010 20:58

iPhone Games!
6/3/2010 20:40

WTF? Dig's Getting Hitched!
18/2/2010 23:39

More...

If interested in discussing writing opportunities for on or offline gaming publications - either UK based or abroad - please contact me via E-Mail. Sparkling CV available on request

 

 

A Few Words On PC Fable
Posted by Diggler - 16/10/2005 14:29

Click to enlarge
This new rendition of Fable has a bunch of sweet additions, such as this brothel, which you can even *ahem* use. Apparently
Fable on the Xbox was a somewhat saddening story - much like Doom III - of over-hype and failed promises. It's also one of those titles that split people like nothing else. Going back to my original blurb on that game from last year, I was obviously very much a fan, but for every Diggler there was a whiner.

Now Fable appears on the PC via its new "Lost Chapters" subheader. It's the original Xbox game with spruced up graphics, more quests and a bunch of added subplots. Lionhead Studios apparently continued work on Fable right after the Xbox game came out, and a year later, this is the result.

The Good, the Bad & the Pretty

Right off the bat, it's the graphics which strike you; they're stunning. Fable's got a graphical style very much reminiscent of Warcraft, so expect hyper exaggerated cartoons over razor sharp realism, but it works great, fitting in perfectly with the game's zany humour. With a top range PC and everything chucked up to full, Fable feels oh so much sharper than its console cousin and a million times smoother too. The shadows still falter slightly as before, but it's a small blemish on an otherwise true beaut to look at.

Click to enlarge
Fable looks great, often resembling WoW in terms of style and direction
Unfortunately, while technically it's seen an upgrade, in terms of control and gameplay, I fault Fable for not working quite so well on mouse and keyboard. The lack of gamepad support is also worrying, as it plays nowhere near as well without one. In particular, the lock-on and blocking system are hard to swallow, and took me an awful lot of keymap fiddling before finding something ideal. Perhaps worse of all, I hate the camera in this version, which is very tricky to use when in cramped interiors, and has a lot of wobbly motion sickness to it.

Once you settle in and become accustomed to this stuff though, Fable begins to shine once again, and these problems are really my only complaints whatsoever with this version.

It's also worth noting that the increased length has boosted the gamespan by a good four or five hours, all of which is pure meat, fixing up what must have been the biggest fault of the original; its incredibly short game length.

Fable 101

Click to enlarge
The interaction with the world and characters are what I love about Fable. Like breaking into this house and stealing money
For those who never experienced it console-side, Fable is an adventure game in which you play a recently orphaned young boy. Your village burnt to the ground at the start of the game, you're taken under the wing of the Hero's Guild, who build you up to become a fighter and discover the truth of what happened to your family.

Throughout this story, you both level up and age in a more organic way than in most adventure games and RPGs. Your physical appearance alters depending on what you do, so constantly using magic will turn your hair white and make you look old, helping villagers and making the world a better place will make a faint halo appear above your head, and raping and pillaging the locals will turn your skin veiny and eyes bright red. You also accumulate experience points based solely on the skills you use, so hack away at foes and your strength will improve (and thus your physique), or opt for a more slender archer type and become more adept at speed and guile. Choice is really what Fable's all about.

Click to enlarge
Shoplifting is fun, and can save you some mega-bucks. Just don't get caught...
Replaying the game for a second time, this emphasis on choice is what I exploited the most. This time out I dropped the weaponry and concentrated on magic and thievery - skills I completely avoided last time - and Fable felt like a completely different experience to my first outing. In particular, the shoplifting and lock-picking skills surprised me and increased the interactivity of the world tenfold. Don't wanna splash out 50,000 on a house? Just pick the lock and you're in.

And that's always been my fave aspect of Fable; the sense of a fully realised universe. The central story that runs down the spine of the game is fine, but it's by no means the reason to play this game; what Fable does so well is creating a complete world. The villagers, shops, guards and enemies all act perfectly to their surroundings at all times, whether it be playing in the street, walking to the pub on a summer's evening, opening their shops the next day, or mugging passer's by in the woods. If you hang around some towns in the middle of the night you'll even see some of the local males sneak out and engage in a midnight fight club (which of course, you can enter and win).

Thrown in with the optional side quests - escorting the locals, collecting clues to buried treasure, wooing the local mayor into bed - Fable's universe becomes one of the deeper and more fun to explore, and a far cry from the more two dimensional worlds so often seen in videogaming. Yeah, it's not as epic (or as serious) as the Elder Scrolls titles by any means, but there's so much downright fun content and little easter eggs of joy to uncover, it's actually easy to miss huge chunks of it.

Built-in Sequel

Click to enlarge
The Lost Chapters includes about four hours of additional storyline...a sequel of sorts
In terms of that main quest though, it features everything of the previous version, with a new third act bolted onto the end. Long gone is the abrupt, somewhat anti-climatic feeling of the original, thanks to this.

Now just as you think it's all over, one final and truly epic quest kicks in; one firmly utilising the game's emphasis on choice and morality. It's tied up nicely by a great Lord of the Rings/Mount Doom moment at the very end that results in a much more satisfying conclusion.

This new version is also coming out on Xbox at a reduced price, but despite all this newness, I'm not convinced there are quite enough additions here for owners of the original to justify a repurchase. Grabbing the PC version is a different experience though, one better in some ways, worse in others, and one I recommend.

It's good to be back in Albion.

Untitled Document

The Polynomial. Like playing a rave

Untitled Document

Game
Fallout 3

Enjoying a fully modded out re-visit. Wow

Film
The Road

Pretty much due to the above

Show
Breaking Bad

Already shaping up to be the best season yet

Tune
Explosions in the Sky

Easing the pain of living in a post-Friday Night Lights world

Untitled Document

Forums

The TPS Forum
Official boards for the site

RLLMUK Forum
The old Edge forums gone independent. The busiest and most interesting gaming board around, worthy of multiple visits a day

NTSC-UK Forum
Another exceptional gaming forum, featuring one of the friendliest communities on the net, and up to the minute news

NeoGAF
A more US-centric gaming board, with huge piles of traffic and even the odd famous face

Gaming Shows

The 1up Radio Network
1up.com's collection of weekly gaming podcasts, the pick of which would have to be ListenUP, full of juicy rumors and interesting banter week in, week out

Area 5
Formerly The 1up Show, since losing their jobs the old video editing team have continued doing what they do best, in an independent internet-based TV show, covering whatever upcoming games they can get their hands on, and various other bits and pieces

Fully Ramblomatic
A hysterical gaming blogger posting what he calls "zero punctuation" video reviews that have to be seen - and heard - to be believed

A Life Well Wasted
Freelance journalist Robert Ashley's internet radio show, with a far more interesting and professional demeanor than your typical podcast. Interviews, fast-paced editing and catchy tunes abound

On the Spot
The humongous gaming site known as Gamespot broadcasts a video show each week, in which upcoming games are demoed live on air, and viewers are invited to send in questions to find out more

The Hotspot
Gamespot's audio-based companion to On the Spot, in which site editors cover the week's news while simultaneously poking fun at all that is gaming

Gaming Steve
A more mature podcast, hosted by a long-time games industry professional armed with a ton of insider info and loads of interesting opinions. The Dig's been known to post articles and stories on here from time to time

Consolevania
Quick-fire internet-based TV show with console reviews and comedy sketches. Funny as hell

Major Nelson
An interesting "blogcast" hosted by a Microsoft employee, featuring stacks of exclusive behind the scenes news and interviews relating to all things Xbox 360

The Kojima Productions Report
Official podcast from the team of Hideo Kojima, creator of the much-loved Metal Gear franchise. Full of news and interviews relating to all things Metal Gear, it's probably one for die-hard fans only

Pure Pwnage
Mockumentary series on the life of a pro gamer. Episode five is possibly the funniest thing on the internet

Other Sites

Kotaku
What you could call gaming's homepage. Constantly updated news and links on the entire industry, from minute breaking headlines, to funny arse viral vids

Game Trailers
Easy to use multimedia-rich web site offering official trailers, video demos and sneak peaks at all the upcoming releases

Game Videos
Sister site to 1up.com, focusing on game trailers, video interviews and even the odd documentary

Gamespot
The Gamespot front-end, and the gaming equivalent of the Internet Movie Database. Includes detailed reviews and extensive video features on pretty much all systems and games ever made

Giant Bomb
Speaking of Gamespot, the controversial "letting go" of editor Jeff Gerstmann resulted in him starting up this new venture with fellow former writers of the site. Great podcast in particular

1up.com
Discounting the audio and video shows mentioned earlier, 1up's main site is also worth a visit in its own right. Not only bustling with quality gaming articles and extensive developers' blogs, it also doubles up as a massive friends network, ideal for meeting fellow gamers and joining like-minded communities

Live Marketplace Feed
The most up to date and reliable way to keep track of all the new Xbox Live Marketplace content, from new weapons and map packs, to movie trailers and game demos

Xbox Reloaded
360 backwards compatibility can be a minefield. This blog attempts to shed some light on the issue by playing original Xbox games for you and reporting back the results

GameFAQs
The ultimate resource for walkthroughs and cheats

Disposable Media
A wonderful (and free) E-zine, full of reviews and articles on gaming, movies, music and TV. Puts most high street mags to shame

X-Fire
A must-have for all PC gamers, X-Fire is a buddy list and communications tool that keeps constant tabs on what games both you and all your mates are playing, on or offline

Steam
A contender to the X-Fire throne that has pretty much overtaken it straight out of the gate. Valve's Steam client contains friends lists, downloadable games, Live-style achievements and plenty more to sink your teeth into

MyGamerCard.net
Convert your Xbox Live gamercard into an image, for use on forums and web sites for free. That's mine further down

Ain't it Cool News
The latest news, gossip and spy reports from the world of movies, TV and (occasionally) video games

Smodcast
Writer, director and actor Kevin Smith - he of Clerks fame - records a monthly podcast in which he and fellow pals discuss everything from trying to felate oneself, to the time his dog got covered in ejaculate. Riveting stuff

 

Matt Robinson, 2011

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