Fable’s famous quirkiness is very present throughout the game’s journey and it’s also refreshingly light hearted (are those puppets in the background of almost every stage really naked?). All of the levels are based on familiar Fable locales so fans of the series will enjoy the homage Fable Heroes pays to past titles.
Collecting coins is the main goal of Fable Heroes and competing against friends to see who can grab the most by the end of a level is fun for a short period. Using an RPG-like system these coins can be exchanged for new characters and abilities, upgrades to powers and items in the upcoming Kinect-based Fable Journey.
The player can’t select the ability they want to upgrade though. They first need to roll a die across a game board and hope for a useful ability (that rarely happened for me). Upgrading your powers and purchasing new abilities doesn’t change your character as much as it probably should—I didn’t notice much of a difference in performance as I progressed through the game.
Fable Heroes’ characters control rather sluggishly. When using the game’s range-based character, I felt there was a slight delay between pressing the controller button and the arrow shooting across the screen. I had the same issue with characters that use melee weapons. I would have liked to have seen more variety in character control. A character wielding an axe shouldn’t feel the same a character using a sword.
Graphically Fable Heroes has a unique feel. It adopts a cell shaded style that makes it stand out from other games, but I’m not a big fan of its motion blur effect. It makes the game’s action even more confusing than its shoddy camera system does.
The fact that Fable Heroes’ camera zooms out ridiculously far when playing with four players in couch co-op mode makes following its action extremely difficult. Even when the camera is zoomed in, it’s hard to tell players apart. There are no visual of which player you’re controlling.
When a barrage of enemies is thrown into the mix, it’s even harder to tell who’s who. A number of times I thought I was controlling one player when I was actually controlling a totally different character on the other side of the screen.
My main issue with Fable Heroes is that there isn’t much to its game mechanics. You travel from the beginning to the end of a level, mashing away at the attack button, destroying wave after wave of generic enemies. At the end of each stage, there is a frustratingly quick time button mashing race in an effort to shake up the dreary formula. These Mario Party-like mini-games aren’t fun and become increasingly annoying as the game progresses.
All of Fable Heroes’ issues make me question the game’s 800 Microsoft Points Xbox Live Arcade price tag. Sure, it’s fun for the three hours it takes to battle through its levels, but there’s very little to do once you’ve finished the game (you are able to play through the game again at a much higher difficulty). Also, because its gameplay is so repetitive, most people won’t want to continue playing.
Fable Heroes is also riddled with slow down issues, especially when playing with four players. When there are a number of enemies on the screen and magical attacks are blasting in every direction, expect Fable Heros to start lagging. Also, playing the game alone isn’t much fun at all, so sitting down with a few friends for some couch co-op is the best way to play. Online multiplayer is also available.
Fable Heroes’ overly simple gameplay is outdated. The side scrolling hack-and-slash brawler is a 90′s genre that isn’t much fun today. The title offers entertaining gameplay for a very short period of time, but the enjoyment doesn’t last long due to boring mechanics and technical issues.
This story was also featured on Canada.com.
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