We’ve all heard of the Fable series. It is the lovely line of games whose marketing promises end up being fables, as well. Mentions of Peter Molyneux’s name may remind you of that bad taste in your mouth that the past few games may have left you, but fear not; for, I come bearing good news: There was a time, long ago, in a console generation far, far away, where Albion was a world of swords, sorcery, bow-and-arrow, trademark British humor (or humour) and death of heroes.
You see, Fable Anniversary brings us back to the original Fable game, which was set to rival other RPG’s of the time, such as Morrowind. While not nearly as detailed or expansive as its competition, Fable had a heart (and a fart and a belch) that just had to be loved. So, without further adieu, here is the review of the vehicle that takes us back to the Old Kingdom with goggles that are more rose-tinted than, well, regular rose-tinted goggles.
Fans of the original Fable or Fable: The Lost Chapters will be pleased to know that the game is, largely, untouched. The most drastic change lies within the graphics. Most of the visuals have been completely revamped and updated. As a person who enjoyed the original all those years ago, I found myself stunned by the utter beauty of the world, lighting and textures. I felt as though I had never played this game before. Aside from the visuals, just about everything about the game should feel familiar to those returning to the Old Kingdom of Albion.
Veteran players will also be very pleased to find that the UI has been completely updated. The menus are very smooth and easy to navigate, and the loading screens, while brief, present the player with a more lively world map to view, compared to the static, dull map of the original. Perhaps the most welcome change will be the revamped save system. Now, you are able to save anytime, anywhere, and it autosaves, as well. So, while saving may not have been the largest issue in the original game, I feel that the developers were really trying to look out for us, the players, when they did this.
Now that we know the major changes from the original, here are some of the aspects that were kept. First of all, the sounds, from the music to the voice acting to the sound effects, are all kept from the original. While I, personally, was expecting more of a change, I was still very pleased to hear the “Twader” at the beginning of the game. The music is precisely what you remember. The soft menu tunes live together in harmony with the raging battle music in the same way that we all remember. Not to mention, the story remains, largely, the same, as are most of the camera angles and the wonderful, totally-not-annoying “Your health is low!” message.
So what does all of this mean? Well, this game is a fantastic addition to any Fable fan’s collection and definitely holds true to the nature and feel of the original game.
But, what about those who have never played the original? Or worse, how about those who have never played Fable at all? This next section is for you.
Fable Anniversary, as the name suggests, is a celebration of an older, dated game that was considered, by some, to be a rival of Morrowind, which was released some time before.
Newcomers to the Fable series will find, in this particular entry, that the gameplay may seem clunky and that the overall presentation (except graphics) may seem uninspired and amateurish. Naturally, this is to be expected, as the game was not rebuilt from scratch and, therefore, reserves almost every aspect and charm from the original game. Unless you are strictly dedicated to learning about and playing the entire Fable series, you may not find much joy in this title, as it does not provide the innovation or production value that is expected of today’s games. But if you are interested in a swords and sorcery title that will keep you laughing with its distinct charm and Union Flag, as well as compel you with an interesting story and the ability to be good or evil, then you may, also, want to give this one a shot.
The final point that I will discuss is regarding technical issues.
Disclaimer: these may or may not be isolated, but this is what I, personally, experienced.
-While playing, my Xbox 360 has frozen completely a total of 3 times during Fable Anniversary; so save often.
-I have noticed, at times, that some lines of speech did not come across in the audio.
-Finally, I do not know if this was intended or if we were just not supposed to notice, but when you are leveling up your skills, many (if not all) of the previews for the abilities do not boast the new graphics and, instead, look like the original Fable.
The verdict stands as follows:
Fable Anniversary is a must-have for any Fable fan, die-hard and casual alike. It will, no doubt, bring back fond memories of the Old Kingdom and will add prestige (use that term loosely) to your collection of Fable games.
For those looking for a new game to play, you may either want to rent this one or see if one of your friends has a copy of the original that you can play to see if it is worth the buy for you.
Either way, Fable Anniversary may not be for everyone, but it can be enjoyed by anyone.