Ordinarily, when you’re planning for a strategy guide, you need to account for some pre-release pain. That’s the inevitable and nightmarish task of attempting to piece together top-tier tactical know-how from a half finished build of a game. There’s nothing quite as hair-raising (and computer-tossingly frustrating) as encountering an inescapable dead end or save-wiping bug when you are thundering through your dozens of play-throughs of a particular game.

Working on the official Fable Anniversary strategy guide has been something of a dream. After all, Fable: The Lost Chapters has existed in complete, working form for almost a decade.  To get started all we needed was a functioning Xbox and a strong mug of coffee!

One surprise side-effect of playing through the original game again was remembering just how ahead of its time Fable was. It is a rich little beast, with some of the best examples of world-building ever committed to code. There’s still nothing quite like Albion in the world of video games. What’s more, the original art design is so strong that it still holds up immensely well today.

It’s rare to revisit a ten year old game and not feel like your memories have betrayed you, but that’s the case with the original Fable. The talented teams at Lionhead and Big Blue Box poured six years of their lives into Project Ego (as it was originally known), and it shows. Of course, when you suddenly realize the game you’re writing a guide for is ACTUALLY a classic, the pressure to deliver something really special piles on. This is particularly true when the Fable Anniversary team at Lionhead is equally invested in delivering an update that finesses the original experience while ensuring none of that original magic is lost, whether though fancy new graphics, subtly updated controls or a welcome checkpoint-based save system.

Yet another problem with writing a strategy guide for a game that has effectively been out for a decade: lots of dedicated fans have already picked it to pieces and offered up their own walkthroughs elsewhere. So that got us at Prima thinking about what HASN’T been said about the original Fable.  After a bit of a brain storm, we had a rather lengthy list of items that, despite the intervening years, still hadn’t quite been explored. After all, while Fable might APPEAR relatively straightforward, the game is packed with a bewildering array of secret systems that have managed to baffle fans right up to this day. So, we reasoned, seeing as Lionhead was picking through the code again for Anniversary, we should find out what makes the game really tick.

One great example of this is the fabled Chapel of Skorm. Adventurers with an Evil streak can earn the Legendary Skorm’s Bow by sacrificing a sufficient quantity of souls to Skorm (although the exact criteria are somewhat more mysterious than that). Have a glance around the internet and you’ll find solutions ranging from scanning your Alignment bars and performing complex mathematics to closing your eyes and hoping for the best. Finally though, with some considerable (and very much appreciated) effort from the team at Lionhead, the correct, guaranteed way to score Skorm’s Bow has now been revealed for the first time. Of course, I’m not going to tell you what it is here because I want you to buy the guide.

That thoroughness applies to the entire guide. Those with a keen memory might recall previous Prima Guides for both Fable and Fable: The Lost Chapters. As great as those were, we managed to eke out a whole bunch of new information with huge help from Lionhead, making for the definitive version of the strategy guide to go with the definitive version of the game. The Fable Anniversary guide was written from the ground up and includes a host of brand-new strategies and supporting material to really make the most of your Fable experience.

We’ve added complete stat breakdowns and strategies for every enemy type, a frankly mind-boggling list of weapons, clothing and style tattoos to peruse. Plus we’ve included details on every item, lots of in-depth information on living a Hero’s life in Albion - from flirting to thievery - and more tables than any right-minded human being could ever possibly need! Then there are full quest walkthroughs, cross-referenced quest lists and some beautiful maps to ensure you can find out exactly where you need to be and what you need to do at any given time. We’ve got complete location and strategy details for every Demon Door, Silver Key and Silver Key chest in the game, and plenty more - 320 pages of more, in fact.

Of course, that’s just the original stuff. Fable Anniversary goes the extra mile and adds an eye-watering number of ingenious Achievements to the mix—not just story Achievements, but challenge based tasks too. A huge number of these offer a choice as to how you complete them, with a stamp rewarded for each successfully completed objective. Best of all, completists can earn all available stamps for their collection by playing through the game multiple times and by altering their approach to adventuring. With this game there are a lot of possibilities! We’ve pieced together everything you need to know to score each one successfully; we’ve even gone the extra mile and highlighted important areas of the walkthrough when an Achievement opportunity is incoming, letting you know what to expect and how to react.

Not only is the guide packed with incredibly useful strategy, but it is a book meant to appeal to fans’ aesthetic sensibilities as well. This hardcover, limited edition book with gilded pages and foiled cover is designed to look like the in-game book. In addition, it comes with a free code giving you access to the Sword of Strategia in-game DLC, and includes a code for the complete SmartGlass-enabled version!

So, yes, there’s a lot to enjoy in the Fable Anniversary guide. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Matt Wales is the author of the Fable Anniversary Limited Edition Strategy Guide.

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