Fable Anniversary is a game that I have been looking forward to reviewing because Fable: The Lost Chapters was the game that made me fall in love with games. To me it was like a classic fantasy novel that you could interact with. A game with a phenomenal story, interesting world, charming music, great combat system, and boss fights that made you feel like a god. For those of you who played the original, you’ll be glad to hear that nothing much has changed.
Fable Anniversary begins with you as a happy young boy living in the peaceful little hamlet of Oakvale dreaming of being a Hero. As it happens, it is your sister’s birthday and you need to get her a present. Luckily for you, your good old dad has offered to give you gold for helping out the people of Oakvale, allowing for a brief tutorial in the game’s good and evil system. After doing a few little jobs (or mischief) around town you buy your sister a box of chocolates, but just as to give them to her your town gets attacked by bandits. Your sister tells you to hide, saving you, but then stupidly runs off herself. Through a series of painted murals (a unique storytelling method that is done very well), you hear the story of the bandit raid and find out that the bandits had come to find you. After the raid you run through the now burning village to find your fathers corpse, while crying over his body a mage appears and teleports you to the Heroes Guild where you get some basic training in the three hero disciplines of archery, melee, and magic while training to become a Hero.
Fable Anniversary has a wonderfully fluid combat system that allows you to roll in and out of combat attacking your enemies with melee on second then raining spells and arrows down on them the next. It has a wide variety of weapons including broadswords, katanas, axes, cleavers, maces, longbows, crossbows, and a long list of different spells for both combat and protection allowing you to take on the unique creatures of Albion any way you want. From summoning ghost swords and the undead to fight by your side, to throwing lighting and fire at your enemies. My personal favorite is Divine Fury, is a large area effect spell in which your character causes a large glyph to appear on the ground around him that charges up and sends a beam on energy through every enemy both in and near the glyph causing a massive amount of damage. Fable Anniversary also added a Fable 2 and 3 inspired button layout (where your magic, archery, and melee are placed on its color corresponding button) but don’t worry, they kept the old controls(with one attack button for your sword and bow and pulling the right trigger to reveal four equipped spells) for the traditionalists among us (myself included).
A core concept of the Fable games has always been the good and evil system. As you progress through the game you make good and evil choices. These choices affect the story and how the NPCs react to you. Sadly, the choices don’t effect the story too much and I personally have always felt that the game lacks temptation towards choosing an evil path. For example, there are a few points in the story where your are given a choice to kill someone or let them surrender, in all these instances there is little to no reason to kill them besides being evil for evils sake, and whether or not you kill them you never see them again.
Fable Anniversary offers a beautiful world of ancient ruins, caves, and dark forests filled with strange creatures all bent on killing you while accompanied by sweet fairy-tale like music. These areas are broken up by quaint towns filled with quirky NPCs living a life that mainly consists of carrying boxes and getting drunk at the local tavern. When you are not being amused in town by watching drunk villagers hit on you are also lots of fun mini games such as various tavern games you can wager on, archery competitions, fight clubs, fishing competitions, and of course, chicken kicking.
A few changes were made to Fable Anniversary edition besides just improving the graphics. The Lost Chapters, an expansion that continues the main story and takes you to a snowy area to the north known as the Northern Wastes, that hasn’t been visited by the main land for many years. The menu system has been reformatted for, albeit a less creative, but much cleaner look, and the pause menu has been changed into a storybook. The main character’s face has changed (I personally preferred his previous face) and his will lines have been given a new pattern and are far more noticeable. The aging process was also speeded up, my characters hair was going white by the time I returned to Oakvale, whereas in the previous game that usually didn’t start until after the Arena. The only other change I noticed was that they changed the guild seal to look more like the seal from Fable 3. Thankfully all these changes are small and Fable Anniversary retains the overall feel of the Fable we all remember.
Score: 10 = A fantastic game. Not every game can be on the top of the hill but these games can see the top without even having to squint. The bad points here are so nitpicky they are barely worth spending time over. Some might have these games in their greatest of all time lists.