The Fable games are a bit of a mixed bag for many. The brain-child of legendary British developer and renowned over-hyper Peter Molyneux, the series is part genius part over-ambitious under-performer. They are games that tick all the boxes for fun and excitement, but still leave some players wanting.
Xbox Live gold subscribers may have recently picked up the glorious-looking third part of the series as part of Microsoft’s Games for Gold endeavour. Others may have played the similarly beautiful Fable II.
Originally released on PC and the original Xbox, the first Fable game has not aged well. Firing up the Xbox version of the game in an Xbox 360 results in a rather horrible visual experience. It’s not much better on the PC, either. Whilst the story and game-play remains fun and quirky - even after ten years, the graphics do not compare with modern offerings.
Microsoft Studios has acknowledged the original Fable’s greatness and given it the HD treatment it deserves with Fable Anniversary. They've not just updated the textures, either. The entire visual experience has been upgraded to Xbox 360 graphical standards.
Fable Anniversary is a fantasy role-playing game that follows a young hero as he seeks revenge on those that destroyed his village and took his family from him as a young boy. As well as quests that advance the main story there are plenty of other optional missions that can be undertaken for gold and rewards.
The main element of the game which separates it from the multitude of other open-world RPGs out there is the effect that the player’s decisions have on their character. Carrying out good deeds increases the hero’s good alignment, whilst evil deeds edge him closer to the dark side. Killing monsters and saving towns is good, but killing innocents and causing trouble is bad.
Your alignment is reflected in your character's visual appearance. A good character looks clean-cut and smartly dressed, whilst a bad character ends up looking decidedly demonic. Try as I might (as with all the games in the series) I just couldn’t resist being naughty and thus developed a suitably nasty-looking character.
As well as the upgraded original Xbox game, Fable Anniversary also includes The Lost Chapters - content originally included in the special Fable: The Lost Chapters re-release. The game’s presentation has been given a boost bringing it in line with the menu style of Fable II and Fable III. The audio has been remastered and the save system has also been reworked to allow players to save anywhere.
Gamers that have been playing with Microsoft’s Xbox 360 SmartGlass app will be pleased to know that the Fable Anniversary makes full use of the technology, extending the Fable experience on to player’s portable devices.
It was great to return to Albion and revisit this classic RPG. Players that have enjoyed Fable II and III on their Xbox 360s really owe it to themselves to give this one a go as well.