Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Fable Heroes Review

If you look on the internet then it would appear that I'm in the minority when it comes to the Fable franchise. Ever since the original game it has been one of my favourite RPG series and the only one I can proudly say that I've finished every single title. The RPG's are casual and provide a fun light hearted adventure with memorable characters and locations which I can still picture. The world of Albion has changed over the years and even jumping into Fable III brought back nostalgia from remnants of the past areas that have disappeared in future iterations. That said, going into Fable Heroes this isn't a RPG that I will enjoy like past titles. Instead it has taken on the casual hack n slash market that is strong especially with XBLA titles. Games like Castle Crashers are the best in the genre anywhere and Fable Heroes faces stiff competition. The thing is, does a memorable trip to a cartoon Albion with cartoon characters match these more unknown franchises?


Now the Fable universe has always had the slight lighthearted theme to it. The graphics, while looking good, have always had that cartoon polish that directs the user to the casual side of the game. You could always tell that Fable wasn't the game that would have you undertaking serious quests killing heaps of foes but followed the fun nature of mystical creatures and the odd fart at local villagers. Fable Heroes has run with this fun natured experience but upped the ante but taking the most memorable portions of Albion and its inhabitants and mashed it all into a complete cartoon world. Rich colours and fine detail condenses the world into a brilliant little 'best of' package that perfectly mixes into the XBLA universe.

Those who know the areas and characters of Fable will enjoy this game. Making your way through Millfields or encountering the clumsy yet pesky Hobbes has always been fun and continues here. Animations in the game have you plodding around but can unleash some ferocious effects once you engage in combat. You will find coins flying around the screen as you defeat foes and that doesn't even include some of the awesome power ups found throughout the game. Even though it is a linear path, the art direction and amount of Albion incorporated into the background is excellent. This game makes sure it takes advantage of peoples familiarity of the series as much as possible.

The main protagonists in Fable are heroes of few words and that is exactly the same here. In replace of that we have the iconic score that has been filling Albion since the original game. As with the graphics, they aren't the best and most outstanding out there, but it is that familiarity with the series that will have you craving every single moment of the action.


For a beautiful game rich in Albion lore, it somewhat falls short as a complete package. The game is fairly repetitive and those who aren't liking what they have after one level won't see much of an improvement during the course of the game. This is all about the button mashing as a true hack 'n' slash game that really requires three more friends to become a fun experience. While having three CPU characters along for the ride will help you out, at times, you find yourself doing the bulk of the work that should be equally shared between four able bodied players. This is especially true for Dark Albion which requires teamwork once the difficulty ramps up.

The game progresses in a familiar way. You travel down a linear path coming across swarms of enemies from the Fable universe that you must kill. You do this repeatedly, sometimes using special power ups from chests that affect the hero just like they did in the main franchise, before coming to a crossroad. You can then choose one of two paths which will determine the final boss or mini game. These can be quite fun or boring depending on what they are. Boss fights are usually just larger counterparts of creatures that require constant mashing of the attack button, yet mini games such as running away from exploding chickens is a fun way to end the level. Kicking an exploding chicken at your friend and watching them die is hilarious and something you just won't experience anywhere else.

After the game ends you earn dice, which are then rolled and depending on what you land on, will offer the ability to buy power ups and new characters. Replaying levels is a must to experience both endings but ultimately its the will to do so that will be your downfall. Levels are all the same at the core and without that human communication these seem tiresome and daunting tasks that need to be merely grinded through. Playing through as my major protagonist from the series was great and as an arcade game it is good but not brilliant. The developers didn't seem to push themselves to create an experience to blow us away, instead merely trying to quench our thirst before Fable: The Journey.


I love the Fable universe and jumping into the setting once more in a completely cartoon setting is brilliant. As great as the graphics are however, this game is too repetitive and simple for my liking. Not enough variation in skill is required and linear levels become a drag to play. Having friends along for the friend greatly enhance the experience and some of the mini games available are a ball to play. That being said though, too much of the game is the same and doesn't completely utilise all of the weird and wonderful quirks that make Albion so unique. I went in expecting amazing things and only found a decent game. This game is good, not great, and I was really hoping for more.

Graphics - 9/10 
Sound - 6.5/10 
Gameplay - 5/10 
Overall - 6.5/10