Price: 800 MSP ($10)
Fable: Heroes Review
When we put Fable: Heroes on our list of games that we were worried about in May, we had good reason. Putting a cartoony, 4 player co-op spin on an already established M-rated, single-player series was a risky move and we were worried that it wouldn’t pay off. Sadly, we were right.
To understand just what Fable: Heroes is, you have to completely forget everything you know about the Fable universe. Sure, there will be familiar city names and enemies, but that’s it. This game is not a fully immersive 3D adventure that has you starting as a child and slowly levelling into an adult. Instead, the game is a 4-player hack ‘n slash, similar to Castle Crashers, played in very linear and narrow corridors throughout a very short adventure.
Just how short? In order to simply get to the credits of the game, you need to only beat 6 levels that last 10-15 minutes on the overly easy ‘normal’ mode. Sure, each level has two different areas where you can choose to finish off each of them in (either a boss or mini-game), which does increase replay value, but I never wanted to revisit any of the environments of the game and you really don’t have to because of Dark Albion.
Upon beating the credits level (yes, it’s actually a level), Dark Albion unlocks and it is the exact same thing as regular Albion, just dark. There aren’t any new levels or anything, just tougher versions of the previous levels. Enemies will appear in greater number and have tougher attacks, yet even with that, the game is still a cake walk on the hardest difficulty as long as your teammates are competent. Because Dark Albion is a carbon copy of Albion, you can easily choose the level ending you missed the first time, but it is the same boss battle with a different enemy (he stays put, you dodge his attacks) and mini-game that have you racing a car or boat (just hit X or A really fast) every single time.
As you travel through all of the levels, you will notice just how tedious and boring the gameplay is. It never evolves past anything other than a basic hack ‘n slash and while you can choose between various puppets who can cast magic, swing a sword, or wield a hammer, you only have three attacks per character. Your basic weak attack, a very slow stronger attack, and an area attack that will take away one heart from your small heart health bar. Aside from very crowded enemy areas, I never used the area attack because being punished for using something that doesn’t do a ton of damage is just wrong.
When you do finally kill the enemies, coins will pop up, ready for anyone of the up to 4 players to snatch. Only problem is, the coins disappear very quickly, meaning that you have to roll around the battlefield and collect coins, while getting yelled at by the other people playing with you because you ‘stole their coins’. After beating the level and banking your coins, you then use them to level up your character in a very random power-up screen.
Instead of just being able to select what you want to increase on your character, you have to travel around a board, roll a die, and hope you land on a good square. If not, well too bad. Play another level and hope for the best. It truly was frustrating to miss a square you needed because of a bad dice roll and what’s worse is that you have to unlock more board pieces by completing achievements. So, in order to increase the size of the small board, you have to go out of your way to beat certain mini-games in a specific amount of time.
Despite all of the issues of Fable: Heroes, it is a fully functional online/offline 4 player co-op experience that younger audiences will get some fun out of, if only for the bright graphics and catchy music. For everyone else though, those problems will be too frustrating and I suggest picking up the far superior Castle Crashers, or if you want a little bit of tower defense, nab the insanely fun Dungeon Defenders.
Fable: Heroes was reviewed with a copy provided by Microsoft.