Ten years on, and there hasn’t been (in my opinion) anything quite like the first Fable, and that’s including the sequels. Peter Molyneux has historically been at the cutting edge of game design and exploring new ideas,single handedly (along with his development team) creating the God Sim genre as an example. With Fable he created a fun and entertaining light RPG that allowed for an (at the time) astonishing level of control and interaction with the game world, and now they’ve brought it back.
Release Date: Feb 4, 2014
Console: Xbox 360
Genre / Rating: Action-rpg / T
Fable wasn’t the first to include ‘moral decisions’, ‘persistent world’ and ‘alternate endings’ mechanics, but it put them together in a way we hadn’t seen before in mainstream gaming. After Fable’s release suddenly blockbuster titles started rallying behind the ‘play as you want’ trend that boomed alongside the ‘open world’ game in the early 2000s. In hindsight it was more of a ‘pick bad or good’ sort of game, but it was the first step in that direction.
I loved Fable. I’m a fantasy nerd anyway, but that was the first chance I’d had to interact like that in a game world. The time spent flexing and farting, flirting and barfing or just playing around in the charming and funny realm of Albion sucked me in. Not to mention whole ‘getting revenge for my slain family’ thing and the being recruited into a Hero’s Guild bit. It’s an unabashed, glorified hero’s journey… but then again, it’s an unabashed, glorified hero’s journey. I gobbled it up and enjoyed every last spoonful. They took the formula, refined it successfully and made some solid sequels, but there was magic in that first taste of truly interactive RPG.
It’s no wonder then that folks have wanted a true remake, so here it is. For those of us who are keenly interested in kicking up our heels in the nostalgic fields of Albion the delay is cause for hearty cheers. Fable: Annivesary is in fact a remake of Fable: The Lost Chapters, the original game with added content, new areas… basically an early example of DLC.
Not content with half measures, Lionhead studios took this thing all the way down to code and completely rebuilt it. Now utilizing Unreal, a little game engine you might have heard of, we have a revitalized experience that genuinely looks great on the Xbox 360. Don’t get me wrong, you will notice its age, but its still hilarious and charming, a combination sweetened by Unreal’s lighting and effects. The design is still 10 years old but it was ahead of its time, so its better than you might expect. I’ve heard it compared to the Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary on a few occasions. I don’t know about you, but as re-releases go that’s a pretty solid water mark.
Lionhead have integrated Xbox Smartglass in a way that’s nifty, if not entirely necessary to enjoy the game. Follow along in a world map (and who doesn’t like having a map?) which displays character position, chest, lets you take screenshots, upload things online… you get the idea.
Fable: Anniversary is a reverential treatment of a landmark title in video game history by the folks who made it in the first place. It’s RPG light, but its guaranteed to put a smile on your face… unless you don’t like smiling that is.