Much like Albion’s industrial transformation from medieval fantasy-land to steam powered empire, video games have witnessed major revolutions over the last decade. It’s sometimes risky to look back.
Anniversary's loyalty to its namesake is often its most admirable strength, but consistently its biggest flaw. While it retains the mechanics and structures Lionhead established in 2004, it also leaves intact its most noticeable problems. Where Fable 2 smoothened the melee, range and magic combat, Anniversary sticks with the original game's clumsier controls, which lessens the ability to experiment with all three styles on the fly. There is the option to use Fable 2's control layout, but this doesn't improve the flow of battles. The quest system also feels old fashioned, requiring you to continuously visit the Hero's Guild to seek new things to do.
Thankfully, the game is mostly very easy. There are some instances where the game borders on infuriating – the rock troll stage in the Arena is a key example – but this is due to the sluggish controls making targeting enemies a frequent hassle. For the most part, Albion is wondrous and a joy to inhabit, brought to life with eccentric British humour and its new HD appearance. There’s a ton of stuff to do, including unlocking elusive Demon Doors, collectible silver keys, and even the decent-if-unessential Lost Chapters DLC.
However, Fable now stands alongside Halo as an Anniversary re-release, and the latter stands as the pinnacle of its respective series, while Fable’s sequels surpassed it in almost every way. This may make the trip perhaps less impressive than you may have hoped, and it’s tricky to justify the expensive price tag despite the pretty presentation.
Just be sure to recognise that, while Anniversary may feel like Lionhead is doing a sloppy job in 2014, that isn’t the case; it’s a testament to what an excellent job it did in 2008.
Version tested: Xbox 360. Played for 8 hours – was a shining beacon of Avo.