Fable Anniversary (Video Game Review)

Fable Anniversary is an improved remake for the classic 2004 release of Fable on the original Xbox. The new Xbox 360 holds many important improvements for the game including revamped controls, additional content not seen in the first release of the game and overhauled graphics and enhanced lighting that makes the game a pleasure to play again in HD. The game still has its flaws, most of which arise from outdated menus, user interface or aged game design, but Fable Anniversary is still a thrill even nearly 10 years after it was first released and players got their first taste of the humorous world of Albion.

It's not surprising that many gamers never got to enjoy the original 2004 release of Fable on the original Xbox, since most gamers were gearing up for the release of the Xbox 360 by the time the game was reaching the height of its popularity. Fable Anniversary features the same great storyline that allows gamers to enter the magical world of Albion for the first time ever. The game featured the first nameless hero that was trained at a special guild and helped introduce many characters and mechanics that would stick around for the entire series. The game is full of humor and British accents, and players will affect the storyline with their in-game actions and experience several plot twists over the 10-20 hours journey.

Fable Anniversary sees the return of a great battle system that started it all. Players that has ever played a release in the series will be able to easily pick up the system that focuses on melee, ranged and magic attacks to deal damage and defeat a variety of different foes. Experience are earned based on how players perform in battle and can be placed into passive upgrades, new skill moves or magic attacks. Leveling up is completed from the guild, so players will often need to quick travel and sit through some loading screens to strengthen their hero, while new weapons can be acquired to deal more damage as well. Navigating the in-game menus can be a mess, but it isn't something that should keep players from enjoying the new release.

Combat in the game feels aged for players that has enjoyed the other releases in the series, but it isn't terrible. Players will utilize one of three different attacks, though melee attacks is far and away the most preferred way to take down enemies. The game features a lock-on mechanic to keep focused on a specific enemy with all attacks, though it does often follow the wrong enemy that is further away from the player or not a major threat when a large group of enemies are on the screen at one time. The game boasts a new control scheme that helps alleviate some of the problems with the games controls including less attack buttons to simplify combat and lower the amount of mistakes that players will make while fighting. The game much similar to the other Xbox 360 release than the original Xbox's Fable, and it's almost a necessary improvement for gamers that haven't played the first game in a very long time.

Of course, Fable Anniversary isn't all about combat and completing main story missions. There is plenty to do and see in the world of Albion including side quests to earn additional experience points and items. The citizens of Albion are as bizarre and humorous as the other releases in the series, and nearly all can be interacted with, whether players choose to be cruel bullies, altruistic saints or promiscuous lovers. Players can even find characters in the game and marry them if they so choose, though the older game doesn't include as many features for marriages and other social quests to experience at leisure. There are also plenty of mini-games included in the release such as chicken kicking, bar games and brothels, if you're into those sorts of things.

Fable: The Lost Chapters released in September 2005 for Xbox and PC, so even less players were able to experience this content. The Lost Chapters adds a couple of hours of content onto the end of the game. The mission content is varied from strange puzzles to fighting against a powerful new boss enemy. The Lost Chapters is definitely worth experiencing for players that missed it the first time around. Xbox SmartGlass is also integrated in this newest version of Fable that allows players to compare and contrast screenshots of the original game with that of Fable Anniversary, view the game map and how the character moves through the world, look up secret hidden areas and more. The feature isn't necessary, but it does allow gamers looking to 100% complete the release do so easier with guides and secrets available on the second screen content.

The original release of Fable has obviously not aged very well in graphic design, but Fable Anniversary makes major improvements on how the game looks. The game has all new textures that helps the classic take on the world of Albion look better than ever. The game is still pieced together with many loading screens connecting smaller areas, so the world itself hasn't been improved, but trees, water and other parts of the environment are definitely prettier. Additionally, character models have been improved, though animations are mostly unchanged and are more stiff that what players would see in the other releases for the series. Characters also go through more recognizable transformations based on their actions and the good vs. evil morality meter.

The game's lighting has also been improved to make exploring the world more enjoyable. Bright countryside areas glisten while lakes and other bodies of water sparkle in the sunlight. The darker areas of the game are also more dreary with shadows that are cast across the ground by large trees and other parts of the environment. Fable Anniversary looks better than the original, features improved controls over the first release and has new content that adds hours of fun onto Fable to add to an already great presentation seen in the original Xbox release.

Fable Anniversary allows players to experience one of the best RPG games to ever release on the original Xbox with new graphics and feature that make the Xbox 360 version the definitive edition of the game. The Lost Chapters content, SmartGlass integration and other features give players hours of enjoyment they haven't experienced in the series yet, while the original content still features a grand storyline that introduces players to many pivotal characters for the series. Fable was great for the original Xbox, and Fable Anniversary is an even better game on Xbox 360. Fans shouldn't hesitate to add the new release to their collection for numerous reasons. Check out Fable Anniversary on Xbox 360, and don't let the chance to experience this great game pass you by once again.

Fable Anniversary is now available from all major retailers for the MSRP of $39.99 and can be purchased exclusively for Xbox 360. Fable Anniversary is rate M by the ESRB for Blood and Gore, Language, Sexual Content, Use of Alcohol & Violence. For more information on the game, check out the official Fable Anniversary website.

Game Features:
  • Single Player
  • Includes The Lost Chapters Content
  • HD Graphics and Improved Lighting
  • Xbox SmartGlass Support
  • Achievement Support

Game Information:
Developer: Lionhead Studios
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Available exclusively for Xbox 360 (reviewed)
Release Date: February 4, 2014

Score: 9 out of 10
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