Fable Anniversary: taking a trip back into Albion

Fable was a groundbreaking game for Microsoft, providing another key exclusive for the Xbox platform. It was a game that celebrated choice, offering "good or evil" decisions every step of the way. As it did with Halo, Microsoft has chosen to revisit Fable for an anniversary release on Xbox 360 with spruced-up visuals and new SmartGlass support.

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The spiffy, humorous writing of the original has managed to maintain its charm, still offering a fresh take on what could be an otherwise formulaic genre. The gameplay has also managed to hold up well over the years. Fable's regarded freedom is still novel; yes, you can beat up chickens and kill your spouse if that suits your fancy. The adventurous soundtrack, humorous voice work, and fart sounds are all intact, making for an instant nostalgic trip to the past.

SmartGlass support is easily one of Fable Anniversary's most noteworthy features. This provides access to an overworld map where a player can check their progress and objectives at any time, with a simple click of their character. Those feeling nostalgic can also click on camera icons located over the course of the map, which shows what that area of the game looked like back on the original Xbox. While not as fancy as instantly switching between "past" and "present" views in Halo Anniversary, this is a nice touch.

On top of that, players can also use SmartGlass to locate treasure chests that are located in the area. Tapping on them explains what's inside, so if the player isn't really in the mood for, say, an alternative outfit, they can keep going and hunt after goods that really matter.

Fable Anniversary has also gone through some visual changes in its transition to the Xbox 360, and it's about on par with Fable 3. The world design is impressive, and character animations and lighting really go a long way into making it flourish even more. However, there are occasional glitches that get in the way, including bugs that caused the game to crash a couple of times. Thankfully, Lionhead is working on a patch to fix these.

Molyneux's classic adventure could've been a little bit better visually, and an option to switch between "then-and-now" views like Halo Anniversary would've made it even better. As it stands, though, Fable Anniversary is still an enthralling adventure that's worth taking, both to those who never experienced the original and veterans feeling nostalgic enough to step back into Albion.


This review is based on retail Xbox 360 code provided by the publisher. Fable Anniversary is now available on Xbox 360 for $39.99. The game is rated T.