One of the games that helped define the original Xbox console was Lionhead Studios' Fable, a role-playing adventure much different from others in the genre. For one, it had the full support of the legendary Peter Molyneux. For another, it actually let you grow with your character over time, changing his destiny.
Since that time, the series has seen a number of sequels and spin-offs, including the Kinect-powered Fable: The Journey and the side-scrolling action game Fable Heroes. However, Lionhead didn't forget the original, so it will revisit it once more with the release of Fable Anniversary for Xbox 360 next month.
The game follows your character from a young age, who starts out as a "Chicken Chaser" but eventually gains rankings and skills throughout the adventure. Eventually he'll become a main player in the city of Albion, but how his journey goes depends on you. Will you be a hero looking to free the land from tyranny, or dip your heart into the root of evil and plummet it into darkness? Part of the fun is seeing just where your destiny lies.
No matter which route you take, cosmetic changes will affect your character. For instance, if he takes the good route, he'll have a halo emerge around his head, with butterflies surrounding him. Become a bad boy, however, and he'll grow horns and flash red eyes at everyone.
These aren't the only items you can affect when it comes to appearance. You're able to gain weight if you eat too much, drink excessively (which leads to in-game vomiting) and interact with characters in various ways – maybe even marry someone, then bump them off after growing tired of him or her.
In addition, customization plays a key part in the game, as you can change hairstyles, facial hair, tattoos and more. You can also increase overall strength and learn new spells, becoming someone to fear or praise.
Along with the visual upgrades – the game now plays in 1080p with improved lighting and special effects – Fable Anniversary also went through a number of gameplay tweaks. You'll no longer have to worry about wandering too long on a journey, as Lionhead Studios made the controls more fluid when it comes to exploration and battle. You'll also be able to go through a much quicker interface when you want to select something, such as seeing where your next destination lies or changing your appearance.
Gameplay will once again concentrate on a mixture of awesome battling and finding new items to improve your character during the course of your journey. The original controls remain intact, which is good news for both fans of the classic Xbox game and those playing it for the first time. You can also switch to optional control scheme from Fable 2 or Fable 3, if you prefer.
When you're not taking part in a quest, you can blow off some steam in Arenas, battling waves of enemies to improve your techniques and become a better overall warrior. Being able to mix up combat skills, including spell-casting, will make you better overall in the field – not to mention the fact you'll now net Achievements for completing certain tasks in the game, like clearing out all eight rounds in an Arena battle without taking any time off.
Fable Anniversary will also utilize SmartGlass, for those who want to use their tablet as a secondary screen. Here, you'll be able to get a better view of the overworld map, seeing where objectives are in a much easier setting than the on-screen indicators. You can also find secret locations better than you could wandering about, if you're seeking certain treasures or challenges. The Prima Fable Anniversary guide comes with an enhanced SmartGlass experience (stay tuned for more details).
Despite all the high-tech bells and whistles that Fable Anniversary has obtained, the general quest remains the same – and it's really something how you grow with it, and how even the simplest of choices can affect your overall destiny. You can see how the final game fares when it releases on Xbox 360 February 4th. Be sure to check back for strategies that will help you with the game, and be sure to pre-order your hardcover, official Fable Anniversary guide with free "Sword of Strategia" DLC, enhanced SmartGlass experience, and more!