That is right, a review of Fable Anniversary. You may want to grab a drink or something because this will take a little while to read.
Fable was released on September 14th 2004 for the original Xbox, PC and, Mac by Big Blue Box a part of Lionhead Studios. In September 2005 another version with expansion content shipped named Fable: The Lost Chapters for the original Xbox and PC but was alter ported to Mac. This version is considered to many fans to be what was originally intended after having seen certain wholes in the original game filled by The Lost Chapters.
I want to talk about the world this game takes place in the land of Albion. Now you may have heard that name before as it was a name for certain parts of Britain in the King Arthur stories. You may be asking “Why is this important?” Well, when you look at Albion in Fable you will see many similarities between the two. Things like the idea of an ancient king that united the whole land only to have tragedy strike and he disappears, along with the sword in the stone, and more. Lionhead studios, a British developer, did a good job of incorporating things like Arthurian legend, werewolves, and other ancient myths such as the faeries that steal children, and if you know what to look for you will see the game that much more interesting and brilliant.
In Fable, you play a character that everyone simply knows as “Hero”. You start off in the little town of Oakvale as a child. It is your sister’s birthday and you have to get her a present. Well you have no money so your father tells you he will give you a gold coin for each good deed you do. Even from this early on in the game the choices you face become clear you can help people or hurt them, you can watch over stock or destroy it, but more into that later. so after receiving the money and buying a box of chocolates for your sister you talk to her and she tells you about how she knew this would happen because of a dream she had the night before and then the bandits come. These bandits enter the town looking for someone slaughtering all who won’t help. They are looking for you but you are hiding so they kill your family. Walking around after the slaughter you are found by a wizard of The Guild named Maze. He takes you to The Guild where you are trained in the ways of heroes, but after graduating you have a choice be a hero or a villain a savior or a slaughterer.
The Good, The Bad, and The Evil
So now I want to talk about the choices in this game. You can be good or evil or simply just in between but no matter what you are your choices will have consequences. Maybe you have the choice to kill someone and if you don’t later on they may become evil and fight against you or maybe you kill them and down the road a family member comes around to avenge them.
What I feel about this is Fable tells us a larger story one you do not notice at first it may take a couple play-throughs before you figure it out or you may never find it. One thing this game really show us is the state of man. It shows us our depravity. You see Fable has a clear Good and Evil in everything but it makes it a temptation to do certain things. For example in one side quest you have to gather books for the school in Bowerstone. It is really hard to find all the books from traders and shops and if you Google how to do this one online you will get the same answer that you should steal the books from the houses in Oakvale as an adult. It is just so much easier and more convenient that everyone normally does it. Or you can kill people like travelers and townsfolk even the guards can die and all will give you exp. When you kill townsfolk you can buy their houses and shops and rent them out to new people amassing a large amount of gold and land. The thing is it is easy to go down this route “For wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction” but “Narrow is the gate and difficult is the way that leads to righteousness”. Fable really shows this truth you can sin and find ease and comfort or you could walk and righteousness but it will be more difficult.
Also like I said earlier on in Fable there are consequences just like in life things can come back to bite you. I shows every choice has a consequences and sometimes doing the right thing hurts. It show that we are helpless and depraved and all fall into sin. Even if Lionhead didn’t mean to they gave us a story, a game that shows the need for a Savior. I mentioned that this game hails back some to Arthurian legend and if any of you know your King Arthur you know the same is shown. No matter how “good” you are you will fail, you will fall, and you are left to pick up the pieces. This game shows us the essence of John 5: 30 “I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.” It shows we can do nothing good apart from Christ and even in the best of times we fail, that alone can do no good thing, but with a Savior with Christ and with the Father we can our good works are made holy and our sins forgiven.
So although this game will have issues I will describe it has underling themes of the world and our need for Christ. It is truly as the preacher has said”there is nothing new under the son” and because of this the need for Christ will show up in even the most worldly media.
The world of Albion is quite large, well large for when the game was released. Fable was before open world was really possible on any large-scale. It uses that great old technique of loading you in to a new area every time your going to a different spot on the map.It has enough areas that it feels quit large especially when you consider you normally have to fight monsters along the way. It can take quit a while to travel across some points of the map to others so you have a way to do a long-range teleport known as a recall to places with recall stones. you can return to the area you left from by stepping on the stone again. Despite this the world is still quite large. most walkways are enclosed by fences and you are limited to moving around in the area given.
Th controls are fairly simple and easy to use. There are to control schemes you can use the original from Fable: The Lost Chapters and another based off of Fable 2. Both are good and both are easy to use I would not say either is better but if you have not played the original game I recommend you stick to the Fable 2 controls if you have played the original on the Xbox I recommend using the original layout.
The gameplay is very enjoyable and help make this game one of my favorite single player RPGs. You have the abilities to use a melee weapon, a ranged weapon, and magic. The game plays best when all three are employed well with a good strategy. Doing things like slowing down time and then attacking an enemy with your sword so that he can not hit you. There are many different monsters and enemies to fight everything from wasps to trolls to the legendary beasts.There are many quests in this game. You have main quests and side-quests and whats essentially even more of a sidequest. One thing though is you cannot do all the quests as some are opposing quests for example the choice to rad a farm or to protect it. You can do one or the other but not both.
The game is more than just quests and killing though. You can buy a house and rent it out to earn money or trade back and forth between traders. You can gamble with mini-games and you can fish. This game has lots to do but you cannot do it all in one play through. You can get married in this game although you cannot have kids like in later games.You can even go looking around for stuff to just dig up. This game has lots of humor in it many references and things strewn throughout. Heck you can even punt chickens or be in a fist-fighter’s gang if you want.
Also your deeds in the game will be reflected to your character’s appearance. For example dying will cause scars as well as your alignment changing your look. An evil character will have horns, glowing red eyes, flies buzzing about him, and a kind of aura of evil around him. On the other hand a good character will have a halo, white hair, butterflies around you, and a bright aura around you. There are many choices to make things to do and great things about this game.
There are issues though my first time to load it up it did not want to let me press the A button which is the one used to talk and interact. I also bugs out and glitches a lot and at times will freeze up on you requiring you to restart from your last save. These will happen at a moments notice and can become very annoying.
The graphics are definitely better in the game in terms of the color palette, sharpness and the poly count of many shapes. It looks very nice in many ways but in others seems to remove some of the flair and feel of things in the game. It also seems some of that was intentionally removed for example the darkness that shrouded the Sword of Aeons was removed making it feel less of an evil weapon and more of just an everyday item. A few items have improved but for a lot of them the original feeling of them the spirit of them if you will was lost.
Also it does not seem as if they improved as much as they could where as Halo Anniversary by comparison seemed to have a greater graphical improvement. Do not get me wrong it looks a lot better it just does not all seem to be up to par with some of the games out there.
This game is not as black and white on some things as other games. The fact is most of what is an issue for most Christians that is in this game does not even have to be used. For example after your guild training you do not have to use any magic also as a side-note the magic in this game is what I call innate magic it does not come from and demons or gods or anything of the sort it is just there. Thus if you have an issue with it you can avoid it. Just like you could kill travelers and townsfolk but no one forces you to. You can gamble, or get drunk but these are all chooses you make. An evil character has the potential to do some vulgar things but once again it is your choice whether or not to do it. There is really only on area in the game that I would really consider bad and that is the Witchwood Bordello but it also can be avoided entirely. The game is a game of choice and it would not be the same without those choices.
There is blood, some ghosts, and a drug reference or two involving mushrooms. It also has two “gods” in it that in a way or two mimic God and Satan with Avo being benevolent and loving and requiring good works and Skorm wanting sinfulness from man. So it has it issues but in a way I feel it judges you more than the other way around, that it shows those flaws and sins in yourself when you do that on thing or the other you would not normally think about doing. I feel Although the game can be bad it is not inherently bad just as I still can sin but you base your judgement on my by what I do and not as much what I am capable of.
This game has a great story which draws from many myths and legends while staying unique. It is easy to control and has a set up for new players and veterans alike. The game has a great combat system and countless things to do but is offset by glitches and bugs unique to this version. The graphics are improved but not greatly so and have even lost some of the spirit of items and characters by how they were changed. The overall game and story I feel shows the depravity of man and the choices we face in life and although you can make bad decisions and choose sinful paths you are not forced into it. There is magic, blood, deities, vulgarity, and other potential issues but almost everything is a choice and I would not blame a game for my choices I make in it sinful or not. I will say that when I was younger I learned a lesson with the original game that my dad taught me which is “In all you do do in such a way to glorify God.” I think he used this well to teach this lesson that I must follow God’s word through everything. Thus I think a teen gamer with some supervision and boundaries can play this game easily and it is fine for the mature gamer as long as you know where to draw your line. One thing I will add is that if you have a good PC it would most likely be better to play Fable: The Lost Chapters on that than buying Anniversary due to the glitches and bugs.