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Fable Anniversary | review | game | Lollipop
(Microsoft for Xbox 360)
By Mike Delano
It's funny that Fable Anniversary, an HD remaster and reworking of the 2004 action RPG, is being released within a week of the latest entry in the Final Fantasy XIII saga. The two games couldn't be any more different in the way they approach the business of role-playing. Whereas the Final Fantasy XIII games are focused on sleek, cutting edge graphics, an endlessly opaque storyline, and stone-faced philosophy, Fable prides itself on its somewhat goofy visuals, straightforward fantasy plot, and prevalence of fart jokes.
There's more than enough room in the world for both approaches, of course, but it's easy to root for Fable Anniversary's underdog status since the game seems to be having so much fun playing the scrappy underachiever. You play as a young boy who watches as his village and his family is destroyed, and who embarks on a quest for justice and to rid the land of Albion from evil. In addition to its emphasis on customization - your character must be aware of how he looks and acts since it affects how others in the world will react to him - the real defining characteristic of the game is its humor and pervasive lighthearted tone. Villagers will giggle at your character's handlebar moustache, wistful ghost pirates will assign you quests, and your character will belch and Cossack dance in order to make someone vomit up a useful item.
With so many games striving for more elaborate set pieces or ever-larger open worlds, it's refreshing to play a game that feels confident in its rather modest size and presentation. Fable Anniversary seems willing to bet that you'll be won over by its vibrant locales and quirky denizens, so much so that you'll search every nook and explore every outcome. It's a safe bet to make.