Fable has been a franchise that has entertained me endlessly, but it has only been recently that I have been able to play the first game in the series.
Fable is a persistent-world RPG. It was released along with the Lost Chapters DLC. The key to enjoying this game is to jump in to it as a new game and not as a fable game. Keep in mind that things were changed between the games for a reason, so I definitely had to keep an open mind with some of the game mechanics that frustrated me.
Like the other fable games, Fable Anniversary follows the growth of a youth who is of the the descendant of a Hero, or one who has a special bloodline. This game in particular follows a young boy’s search for his family. Along the way he finds out the truth behind the Heroes’ Guild, his own special bloodline, his mother’s true identity, and why the mysterious Jack of Blades always seems to be watching him.
The story itself took me about 15 hours, although I don’t profess to be a speed runner, so many people could finish it in much less time. The game doesn’t have as many side quests as the other Fable games so you can finish the game before you’ve had your fill.
You can’t expect realistic graphics from the game, but why would you want it? Part of the charm of this franchise is the cartoonish nature of the side quests and the humorous actions of the NPC’s and the antagonist. The surrounding looks slightly cell shaded and can be quite detailed for the cartoonish appearance. The sand looks like individual grains and even the ground moves in chunks when the undead arise from their graves (don’t worry, they are wimpy monsters).
The entire map is actually quite massive giving a considerable area per location, of which there are many. The map does make you go through a load screen to travel to any location, as do the other fable games, but the load time is minimal.
The gameplay itself was very natural if you have played any RPG and anything not given in the tutorial can be easily figured out without much trouble. Interacting with NPC’s is pretty easy. If you are interacting with a store owner or a quest-prompting NPC, the game will clearly tell you to talk to them using the A button. Any other NPC will prompt you to use an expression when you walk up to them.
The battle system can be split into three parts: ranged combat, melee combat, and magic combat. Each one is extremely useful and can win any battle if used correctly. Melee combat is the easiest to use and can deal the most damage in the least amount of time. Throughout the game you will find better swords and can level up your strength, or damage you can deal with one swing, using experience gained from slain foes. The advantage to this is the ability to break an enemy’s defenses by holding down the attack button, also called Flourishing. The ranged combat is extremely powerful and is able to strike enemies from a distance without allowing enemies to damage you. The best use of this is to strike bosses from a distance where they can’t reach you or block your arrows. The magic skill is very diversified. You can shoot flames in a circle around you to target a group, or you an create streams of constant damage. In my experience, taking out groups of enemies is easy when you have the right magic spell. This is, of course, governed by your mana bar which can be filled with potions that you both buy and find.
The only big problem with the gameplay is the ease with which you can accidentally injure civilians. Sometimes the game will not lock on to the nearest enemy when you press the aim button, but will instead lock onto the nearest living thing. This is especially annoying when shooting consistent streams of magic which will automatically lock onto the nearest NPC when the enemy around them is killed.
Verdict: 8 out of 10
This game was pretty awesome and I definitely had a lot of fun playing it. The game mechanics were easy to understand, especially since I had played the other Fable games extensively. The graphics were beautiful and picaresque; plus the battle system was easy to use and fun to utilize. Like I said, the game has some minor problems like the slight lack of extensive side quests which decrease the amount of time you can play the game and the facility with which you can murder people you’ve never met in cold blood. All in all, I would play this game again, so I will give it praise. It is a great game that I would definitely recommend to any fans of RPG’s.