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Fable Anniversary Review


Game Details

Game Scores


Kirsten Kearney

Can’t hold out another year for Fable Legends? You can return to Albion right now with this HD update of the original title. Find out just how sharp it is in our Fable Anniversary review.


Published on Feb 3, 2014

Awww, we missed Arseface. In fact we missed the whole cosy, silly, medieval hero fantasy experience.

A decade ago games in which your choices mattered, where everything you did affected how you were treated by others and where you could choose to have people refer to you as Arseface, well… there weren’t any basically.

As we enter a new videogame era, bouncing up and down with anticipation, it feels somehow like the perfect time to return to a previous era when our expectations were also at an all-time high.

Fable sadly never fulfilled our hopes and dreams.

Fable Anniversary - Hero Of Gameplay

Creator, Peter Molyneux, was tripping balls in every interview he did in the run up to release in 2004 and made all kinds of crazy promises he couldn’t keep but as always he still managed to pull an awesome game out his arse in the end.

For those who never played it or who aren’t willing to wait another year for Fable Legends on Xbox One for a chance to return to Albion’s sword and sorcery roleplaying across rolling green hills, Fable Anniversary does what all the best HD remakes do – it plays the way you remember it through your rose tinted gaming glasses, not the way it actually was, which was blocky and a bit clumsy.

A full team at Lionhead Studios has been working flat out on Fable Anniversary for 15 months.

This is no simple upscaling of assets to smooth out the faces of farmers and stone statues on dungeon doors.

Using the Unreal 3 engine the entire game with the Lost Chapters content included has been reworked, introducing a new lighting system, particle effects and dynamic shadows. 

These would be little use if the models were as basic as in the original Fable. Instead every model has be remade – trees, rivers, home furnishings, potions, characters, weapons; everything has been replaced.

Fable Anniversary - Hero Of Remastering

Specular mapping on the warped glass of tavern windows and the chainmail of a chest plate gives surfaces shape and shine.

Bigger textures, wide screen and long draw distances mean that Albion looks as rambling, beautiful and ambitiously open for exploration as Lionhead dreamed of back on the original Xbox.

Any less that 1080p is not enough p’s for gamers these days and it’s hard to really appreciate just how much has been done to bring Fable closer to the look and feel of its sequels.

Comparison screens to the original though are genuinely shocking and serve to show just what a technical marvel this remaster is.

Reminding you just how spiffy Fable now looks, screenshots of the original game are doted around in the Xbox SmartGlass App.

The map you can open through SmartGlass really heralds the future of second screen use in games. It serves as a customisable walkthrough, using information from the Prima guide showing hidden chests and silver keys all in real time as you move around.

You can switch off anything you’d rather find by yourself, too.

The interface and inventory have been reworked and a control scheme in keeping with Fable 2 and Fable 3’s handling allows for much more intuitive combat allowing you to switch quickly between firing arrows, swinging your sword and letting off a spectacular spell. 

Fans of the original will also be relieved to hear that a checkpointing system is now in place and you can equip items you pick up immediately like anew mace or pair of boots rather than having to rifle through your inventory.

Fable Anniversary Review

There are a few elements of Fable Anniversary that serve as a reminder that this isn’t a new game. The camera is still a little shonky, always playing catch up with you. Despite some speeding up in load times, there are still notable pauses when moving from one area to the next. 

Most incongruous with the now-times is that while you’re free to develop your character, his abilities, marry, divorce and otherwise delight and piss off everyone around you - shoving a rose or fart in their face - there’s still no option to be the heroine of Albion.

Fable Anniversary is an outstanding version of the original game. If the new console generation can live up to the ambition and imagination this title showed a decade ago then everything is going to be aaalright.


Score Breakdown
9.0 / 10
8.0 / 10
9.0 / 10
8.5 / 10
N/A / 10
9.0 / 10
Final Verdict
A heroic remastering of the decade old Fable shows the new generation has a lot to live up to. Definitely worth a play to see gaming’s modern heritage at its sharpest and brightest, with extensive remodelling and cleverly integrated new controls and gameplay additions.

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Game Details
Xbox 360
Release Date:
Lionhead Studios
No. of players:
9.0 /10
Fable’s ambition set a new standard for RPG’s 10 years back. This HD version sets a new standard for HD versions.
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