Eric Kelly On February 28, 2014 at 11:54 am

Fable Anniversary cliffside-pathBack in 2004, Fable released on the Xbox, and it was developed by Lionhead Studios (Big Blue Box, specifically) with Peter Molyneux at the helm. It was an ambitious game that promised to be a grand Action RPG adventure, but Molyneux’s habit of overselling his game and then not being able to incorporate them got the better of him. Despite this, the game was moderately successful, and got a Director’s Cut of sorts called The Lost Chapters, with additional content. Fast-forward to today, and on its 10th anniversary, Microsoft saw fit to re-release the game for the Xbox 360, with an HD makeover. But this version of the game is very loosely HD, for better or worse.

Fable is the story of a boy who after getting his sister a birthday gift, tragedy tears his family apart, and with no home to return to, he decides to undergo training to become a hero. The game runs the full length of the hero’s life, and depending on your actions, you can lean to the sides of good or evil, subsequently altering your appearance accordingly. Quests outside of the main story can be taken by looking at the Guild board, which is actually a model of the land. Quests can also have boasts added to them, which increase the challenge to gain extra rewards and renown. Renown will aid in the ability to get along with and potentially marry various NPC’s. They also unlock expressions to further interact with the NPC’s as well.

Combat is handles from a third person perspective, and the game uses a basic lock on system for more accurate hits. You can wield various melee weapons and a bow or crossbow for ranged attacking. There is also lots of spells to use too. Depending on the type of attack used, you will earn experience in that discipline, but there is also general experience that you get from kills and quests. A feature that was introduced to The Lost Chapters was alignment based spells that require a certain number of points in any alignment. Funnily enough, the game’s weight stat affects your characters ability to not be knocked down; all while not affecting their movement speed. Heavy melee weapons do swing slower and take longer to hit the enemy than regular weapons, so keep this in mind.

As for the quality of the HD master and of the game itself: It’s literally the same game, for better or worse. The only notable improvements are the up scaled models, although the models are same as they ever were. The models seem to have an art-style clash between them, with some being more cartoony or realistic than others. So the game doesn’t really have much of a unified design. Music in the game is untouched, but the tunes themselves aren’t really impressive, mainly serving as atmospheric background tracks. The voice acting hasn’t really improved either. The NPC’s often times have silly and annoying voices, so they remain unchanged from the original releases. It’s supposed to be charming, but the execution leaves a bit to be desired. Combat also hasn’t seen many improvements, the targeting issues are still present, where you can accidentally lock on to the wrong target, or fail to lock on them at all. Experience also needs to still be spent at the Hero’s Guild, rather than anytime and anywhere. This is odd since the control scheme from Fable 2 and 3 is present here. The controls now allow for each type of attack are mapped to their own buttons. It’s odd that one feature from those titles were inserted, but others were left out.

It’s also still cumbersome to access your expressions and gift lists. Thankfully you can set shortcuts ahead of time, but it’s barely a real fix. A Ring Menu similar to Mass Effect would have been more efficient. That goes for cycling magic as well. The game also suffers from some crashing bugs, and sometimes the audio for voice acting can drop. The frame-rate also hasn’t improved despite the game essentially remaining unchanged visually. Time could have been spent further optimizing the game, but it seems that proved to much work for the team. At the end of the day, it’s hard to recommend Fable Anniversary. It’s a mostly unchanged game, and unless you can look past its faults and port shortcomings, all that’s here is an improved control scheme and achievements. Otherwise, players might be better served with something more contemporary, like Fable 2. Better yet, something else, as this barely gets by the above average mark.


When the simple combat works, it’s mildly enjoyable. The new control scheme is welcomed.


The environment is a bit touched up, but the game still is pretty much the same as it’s Xbox and PC counterparts.


The music is generic Fantasy stuff. Completely unmemorable.


The music is generic Fantasy stuff. Completely unmemorable.

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