Fable Anniversary is a HD remake of Fable: The Lost Chapters, which in its turn is an improved edition of the masterpiece that was Fable, released in 2004 by Lionhead Studios. Both improved edditions bring a little more content to the original game and try to enhance the original experience, but unlike Lost Chapters, Fable Anniversary has major mistakes that make it viable to be be tagged as a failed PC port.
Fable is the story of a young boy with an unpredictable fate. His home village is raided by bandits and he is saved by Maze, a member of the Heroes Guild and recruited as an apprentice. The young boy eventually becomes a Hero himself and is set free into the world to do as he sees fit. In Fable, every action you do has a consequence and it influences your future. Doing good deeds will make people love and respect you, but you can also become a feared villain by doing bad deeds. You have total control on what your character will become and that is one of the things that make Fable remarcable.
Fable Anniversary was released for Xbox 360 and PC, but the PC version leaves much to be desired. It is true that the game can be played with a controller on PC, but PC gamers usually want to use the classic mouse + keyboard combo and here comes the first and biggest mistake Lionhead commited. Fable Anniversary is just not optimized to be played with a mouse, not at all. Neither the main menu nor the inventory screen browsed with your mouse. Instead, you have to use weird key combinations like A for accept and B for back while going through the main menu. You can’t use Enter or Esc, just A and B. That’s not the biggest menu navigation problem though, the most annoying one is browsing the inventory screen. This is done with the Insert, Delete, Home and End keys and win the award for the worst menu navigation I have ever seen. To top it off, these can’t be remapped and you get stuck with them for the entire playthrough.
Another complaint I have about Fable Anniversary is the graphics. Altough Anniversary is supposed to be a “HD” remake, the game has a general blurred view that can strain your eyes after a few hours of gameplay. Notice the screenshots i have added to the article. They are all at the 1366×768 resolution of my laptop’s screen and have been taken after the game has had all its settings maxed out. Even with the max settings the game shows little improvement over the 9 years old Lost Chapters. It generally looks better, but some of the character models are arguably worse and Lost Chapters didn’t have muddy graphics like Anniversary does.
So what conclusion should we make about Fable Anniversary? Fable is like a good story written in different kinds of books. Would you rather pay 32 Euros for the same story written in a new book whose pages will fall apart and would be very cumbersome to use, or would you pay 9 Euros for the classic, yellowed pages book that delivers the original experience which can hardly be improved. In my opinion, Anniversary is a bitter disappointment, at least for now. If you still haven’t played Lost Chapters, then you should get to it, because it’s still good. As for Anniversary, you can either wait for the big problems to be fixed, or play it on Xbox 360. It feels to me like Lionhead released Anniversary in a hurry and just didn’t care for us PC gamers, bringing to the market yet another cash grab.
What do you guys think? Is Anniversary worth it or will you just stick to Lost Chapters? Leave any thoughts you might have in the comment section below.