Fable Heroes

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6 Overall Score

High nostalgia factor for fans of the Fable Series, cute scenery and characters, coins earned can be saved and used for Fable:The Journey when it releases.

Frustrating co-op play, sluggish controls, boring levels

Written by on May 8, 2012 in [, , , ]

Fable Heroes is the result of Lionhead Studio’s yearly  “Creative Day”, where anyone from their studio can present an idea they have for any of their titles.  If you are a fan of the Fable series of games, as I very much am, you are going to want to definitely check this game out.  You get to play as some of your favorite characters from the entire franchise of Fable games.  They are extra cute because they are in rag doll form, and if you play the games you will remember these in-game collectible dolls showing their adorable little rag faces in Fable II.  Each doll has different abilities and different weapons, though it’s hard to tell the difference as the whole game is just hack, slash, repeat.  Fans of the series will enjoy seeing all their favorite levels and things to kill, from the lovable Hobbes, to the snarling Balvarines.

Fable Heroes boasts “playful competition” so whether you are playing by yourself, online, or at home with others there will always be four of you working together to defeat enemies and collect gold coins. The person that collects the most coins is the winner.  Sounds simple enough, but with four competitive people it can be hard to collect enough coins when everyone else is trying to get to them.  This increases in difficulty because the screen can get rather cluttered with enemies and players, often making it difficult to remember which player you are. Eventually I realized you can tag your character with your name, but even then it’s still easy to get lost in the crowd.

Somewhere the creativity of Lionheart Studio’s Creative Day wore off  and it seems, to me at least, that everything else was rushed to be finished.  The controls are simple, but responsively slow.  Mistpeak is almost impossible to maneuver without getting frustrated.  Yes, I realize the ground is frozen, but slipping all over the place while trying to fight does not add a level of difficulty, just a level of “I’d really love to drop my controller and stop playing because this is total crap”.  Other levels that are void of ice are equally frustrating, trying to get around your other three co-op players is annoying.

Each level is the same as the previous one.  Sure, the scenery is different and each level features a cute cartoon-like version of your favorite levels from the franchise, but the game play is all the same.  You hack and slash through each level, stopping at some point to hack at some large item that spews coins (if you can get to them before the other three players), and then ending with either a battle or a mini game depending on which path you chose.  There are things to smash and collect along the way, and if you want to max out your coins collected and get your name on the leader boards, make sure you investigate everything from the fences to the flowers.

Treasure chests are sprinkled throughout the game, some offering coins, some a snarling “Son of Chesty” to be destroyed, and others give boosts to your character that make absolutely no sense to me.  Boosts like slow-time wear off too quickly, so that by the time you collect it and actually get to a point where you can kill something, it’s already worn off.   There are also good and evil treasure chests.  Choosing evil is the most fun as the players all launch into a game of tag, the last player to get tagged will get hit by lightning, causing a loss of coins each time it strikes.  Stay close by, scoop up their lost coins, and laugh at them lots.  Good is also a random selection thing where a light flashes on each player, eventually stopping on one and giving them a bonus of one of the lame boosts, or coins which rain out of a cloud and can easily be scooped up by the other players.  Again, stay close, steal all the coins, and laugh at the other players.

At the end of each level you choose your own path, either heading to a mini game or a boss battle.  The boss battles are rather lengthy and frustrating.  Each boss has similar moves, popping up to attack, and then going underground as some smaller enemies scurry around attacking, then popping back up after the little ones are killed off.  Once you run out of hearts you die and instantly come back as a ghost of yourself, still able to contribute to the battle, but unable to collect coins until you can find a heart to bring yourself back to life.  I had this happen many times because the controls in the game are so slow to respond.  By the time you get to the boss, he’s doing a power attack and it takes so long to back away that you’re bound to get hit.

The coins you collect can be spent at the end of each level on the upgradable board game.  Here, you can unlock new characters, increase your defense, attacks, and even the percentage of gold you collect.  You’ll have to play through many levels and collect tons of gold coins in order to unlock everything.  The board game itself is really dull and where you land on the board is completely left to the roll of the dice.  I would have preferred either a more interesting board game or a shop where I could just buy what I want and be done with it.

With a rating of E 10+, I was excited that there was finally a Fable-type game that my children could play along with me.  The game is simple enough for kids to play, but because of the amount of cooperative playing involved, you really need to make sure your children know how to cooperate.  Mine do not, and we lasted about an hour before there were arguments over hogging hearts, coins, and treasure boosts.  If I haven’t mentioned it before, your hearts are not only your life, but can be used to launch a power move, so they’re a pretty valuable asset in the game.  My dreams of co-op playing with the kids were quickly destroyed as they threw down their controllers and launched into an actual real life fight.  I’ve heard similar stories from some of my married friends who have tried to play with their spouses.  So, I will warn you that this game could ruin entire families, or hopefully teach them all to better cooperate with each other.  Choose who you play with wisely, and make sure you set the game for family play if you want to avoid the fights.

The online aspect of the game can be a blast if you have friends to play with.   Chatting while helping each other earn your achievements and some playful mocking is always fun.  I had horrible luck trying to jump in random matches online through Xbox Live.  The host has the ability to boot people from the game, people are constantly dropping out of the game, and online players are especially greedy when it comes to hogging all the coins and treasure chests.  Just play with your friends, trust me.  Another benefit of the online experience are the leader boards where you can compare your scores with your friends and try to best their scores and times.

It pains me to give this game a low review because I really do love the Fable series and can’t wait to get my hands on the next game.  Even as an avid fan, this game was a huge disappointment to me. If you are eagerly anticipating Fable: The Journey and would enjoy starting the game out with some goodies then you probably still want to give the game a shot.  Collecting coins in Fable Heroes  will help to level up your character and unlock unique items in “Fable: The Journey” when it launches later this year. The gold earn in Heroes can be transferred over to get your new character started on his or her journey.  This benefit is similar to the Fable II Pub Games which you could play prior to the launch of Fable II.  Coins earned and items unlocked carried over into the games, and the pub games played were the same ones you could play in Fable II, giving you the added advantage of having months of practicing on your side to up your odds in the games.

So, if you still want to give the game a shot, you try the demo for free here before you purchase it for 800MS Points ($10 US).  You can also purchase lots of cute Fable Heroes avatar doll outfits, accessories, and themes if you’d like.  The game is incredibly cute, simple to play, and will offer the same mediocre fun for all ages. If you have no intention of playing Fable: The Journey I can see no benefit to you bothering with the game.

A copy of Fable: Heroes was provided to The Married Gamers for review.

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Author: Marcia Webb View all posts by

6 Comments on "Fable Heroes"

  1. Farva May 9, 2012 at 1:32 pm - Reply

    I loved the first Fable and really enjoyed Fable II. I didn’t get into Fable III near as much because I watched my room-mate beat it and I didn’t see the point of playing it again. As for Fable: Journeys, this is the first I’ve heard of it. I’ll have to do some research to see if it’s a game that’ll be up my alley, but if it is I’ll be coming back for this. (Probably when they do a price drop before the release of the next game.) Great job, Marcia.

    • Marcia Webb May 9, 2012 at 1:41 pm - Reply

      I believe the new one is supposed to be Kinect enabled which will be interesting to see in a Fable game too.

  2. Melisa Snyder May 9, 2012 at 3:28 pm - Reply

    I am EAGERLY awaiting the release of Fable Journeys. I have loved the games even though I felt the dog was severely gimped in the 3rd installation…. the concept for this seems sound. Allowing the kiddies a chance to get hooked on the franchise early on. A shame that it seems they did not give it the proper attention to make it accessible and fun.

    • Marcia Webb May 9, 2012 at 5:06 pm - Reply

      I totally agree about the dog!

  3. Dun1031 May 9, 2012 at 4:45 pm - Reply

    Hmm it sounds like this game was rushed a bit too much and it suffered from it. There is no excuse for sluggish controls from such an experienced studio.

    On the other side of the coin it is nice to see the studio trying something new.

    • Marcia Webb May 9, 2012 at 5:07 pm - Reply

      Thanks for your comment 🙂 I was really excited for this too, and it really hurt me to not be able to praise it as much as I hoped to.

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