By: Robert Workman
It’s hard to believe that it’s almost been ten years since Peter Molyneux and his team at Lionhead Studios introduced us to the stunning world of Albion with the Fable series. Indeed, this is one of Microsoft’s standout franchises from the original Xbox days, mainly because there’s so much to take in when you’re experiencing it for the first time. Being able to guide your own destiny, talents and even your outlook depending on your actions is really something, and the game plays out much differently than typical role-playing adventures, with a sense of humor that someone like Molyneux can deliver.
To celebrate the release – kind of like it did for Halo’s anniversary a while back –Microsoft has revisited the original game for Fable Anniversary, offering a number of touch-ups, while keeping the main adventure we’ve come to expect intact. This is both a good and bad thing, and it really depends on how deeply you’ve gotten into the first game.
If this is your first time around with Fable, pull up a chair. The game features hours’ worth of quests to complete, as well as various side duties and the ability to create something extraordinary with your character. Whether you prefer letting enemies have it with battle tactics or some magical spells, there’s a lot you can do here, along the same lines of deciding a good or evil fate ala Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. (But obviously without Jedis.)
The combat can be slippery at times with its targeting, but it’s certainly satisfying, and the many encounters you have over the course of the game reward you with experience and new items. It’s worth re-engaging with her, even if some of it will be quite familiar to long-time fans.
Where Fable Anniversary truly shines is in its humorous moments. It’s here that you learn that this isn’t just a typical quest, that there’s actually some personality beneath the surface that’s worth digging into. That feeling is retained here, and for some folks, that may be enough.
Now I said that this game’s release could be a bad thing as well, and that’s mainly because of the treatment of said material. While some of the visuals have been polished up to run on the Xbox 360, they’re not even close to perfect. The game has several bugs that get in the way, and, considering this is a 2014release and not something coming before, say, Fable III, it certainly could’ve looked better.
Also, this almost seemed like a prime opportunity for Microsoft to add more to the game. It is nice to have The Lost Chapters DLC included, don’t get me wrong, but some fresh new quests – or even the ability to interact with players online –would’ve been a great addition. After all, we got the extra maps in the Halo Anniversary game, didn’t we? Why couldn’t Lionhead have gone the extra mile here?
Finally, there’s the price. For $15, Fable Anniversary could’ve been an ideal return back to Albion. Instead, though, it’s at $40, and that’s a bit much to ask considering you can get the superior Fable III for less than half that price. Adventurers may have no problem diving in, but others may be better off just giving it a casual look.
Again, Fable Anniversary isn’t a bad game, and those who have yet to experience it will certainly get their money’s worth. But I can’t help but feel it should’ve been given better treatment, along the same lines that Halo got a couple of years ago. With a bit more polish and a far more reasonable price, this really could’ve been something to celebrate. Instead, only fans and newcomers will dive in to see what it’s all about. And believe me, Albion is a place well worth the visit.
Even if it means beating up a chicken…
- Genuine, humorous style remains intact
- Combat still feels good
- Lots of quests to partake in if you haven't beaten them already
- Graphics aren't as polished as they could be
- No really new content to speak of
- Overpriced at $40