|System: Xbox 360|
|Dev: Lionhead Studios|
|Release: February 4, 2014|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Blood and Gore, Language, Sexual Content, Use of Alcoho, Violence|
by Angelo M. D’Argenio
Nostalgia is a powerful force. The more things change and get more complicated, the more we pine for the days when things were simple and easy to get into. This is the case with Fable, which has basically been the Xbox console line’s star RPG since the original Xbox came out with its fat hamburger controllers.
Fable has kind of taken a hard left turn from its traditional RPG roots. The end of Fable 3 was kind of like an incredibly frustrating hybrid of Sim City and a fetch quest. The last Fable game, Fable: The Journey, was an on rails shooter for the Kinect. All these gimmicks and attempts to reinvent the franchise have amounted to a lot of frustration and a lot more disappointment. That’s why it’s such a breath of fresh air to get back to basics with the recent release of Fable Anniversary.
Fable Anniversary is a pretty standard HD remake. Gameplay-wise, you aren’t going to see much difference from the original here. The story and side quests are basically identical to 2005’s Fable: The Lost Chapters. The music is supposedly remastered but sounds incredibly similar to the original score. Heck, even the voice acting was ripped straight from the original titles. If you are the type of gamer who likes new characters, new quests, and other sorts of new content in his HD remakes, then Fable Anniversary will probably disappoint you. This is basically a nostalgia cash-in, nothing more.
That being said, if you are OK with nostalgia cash-ins then you could do a lot worse than Fable Anniversary. The graphics are great. All too often HD Remakes really just mean texture upgrades, but Fable Anniversary has done a lot more than that. The environments alone look like they were designed for the Xbox 360, easily comparable to Fable 3. The game also has a new lighting engine, which goes a long way toward making the game look appropriately HD.
Character models are a bit dicier. While they certainly look updated and detailed, they don’t act like it. The animation routines are still the same ones that we saw in the original Fable, which was made back in the days of canned animation loops. Characters will speak emphatically with their hands, over exaggerate their every movement, and trace classic RPG walking patterns that have been phased out in more modern day RPG productions like Skyrim. It’s a bit jarring but it doesn’t hinder your enjoyment of the game that much.
Fable Anniversary does introduce a new control scheme based on later titles in the Fable franchise, and if you are only familiar with Fable 3, you might want to try it out. However, any experienced RPG player will likely want to avoid it. Fable was made back before RPGs were uber-simplified so the modern control scheme really doesn’t fit well. It’s a cool little addition but will likely be looked over by anyone who has already played the original, if only to be able to better control their magic.
Another big alteration is the menu system which has also received a facelift. It looks nicer than the original menu system, but it’s incredibly finicky. Whether or not this is a good addition to the game is debatable. Personally I liked the original better.
Perhaps the greatest new addition to Fable Anniversary is the ability to save anywhere. Fable players that were big into the mod scene might have fiddled with an old PC version of the game to get this capability. It makes the game a lot easier to play, if only because it makes it easier to put down. You don’t get drawn into those big hour long quest chains like you used to, which actually gives the game a better sense of pacing. It’s actually quite astounding how much better a game can become just by changing the way it’s save system works. The fact that the game is basically littered with auto-save points helps a lot as well.