Fable Heroes Review
These aren’t the puppets you’re looking for.
Just as Fable Pub Games tried to lure you into spending $10 with the promise of carrying gold forward into Fable 2, Fable Heroes is here to lead you into Fable: The Journey with a bit of gold in your pockets. Again. For another $10. You do get a bit more of a game this time as Fable Heroes is a kidded-out version of a four-player beat ‘em up but the premise is the same; minimal effort and minimal tie-in value in an attempt to cash in on the name.
Fable Heroes could have been a great game if it had only given you any reason to keep playing past the first level. There is no loot, the upgrade system is random, basic and annoying and there isn’t an ounce of fun anywhere in the game. The name of a few of the enemies is the only thing tying this game to Fable in any way. There is no story to speak of, there is only the mashing of button(s).
Players choose one of four puppet versions of fantasy hero archetypes and each level plays out in a completely linear fashion save for one choice of direction in each level. Combat involves hitting the X button to attack with your primary weapon, then pressing it again and again. Flourish attacks, which are just strong, slow attacks, are mapped to the Y button but they are so slow to execute you’ll rarely be able to complete one amid the great numbers of enemies that come at you. Players can also dodge-roll and spend one heart of your life to execute an area of effect attack that suffers from the same issue as the Flourish attack.
Killing enemies causes them to explode in a shower of gold coins that must be picked up manually and often scatter themselves far from the enemy you’ve killed so the person with the most coins is not necessarily the person who kills the most enemies. Bonus abilities can be acquired, for a short time, from chests scattered about the levels but these rarely offer anything interesting.
The aforementioned decision points in each level will send you to one of two endings for each level. Sometimes this is a boss fight, others it is a race or survival challenge. The races are a pathetic effort that requires no steering, you simply press a button repeatedly to go faster. These could have been a lot of fun but they are short and require no strategy at all.
At the end of each level you’ll be presented with a Monopoly style board and each of your characters will roll dice to determine their place on the board. Each place offers different types of upgrades such as weapon damage, character customization or gold drop increases. I really felt this was needlessly random as you still had to pay for each upgrade out of your available cash. If you wanted to upgrade a particular area but didn’t land on the tile you’re simply forced to try again next time. Annoying.
Fable Heroes offers four player online or local co-op play throughout the whole game and joining games is fairly easy and seamless. So, it has that going for it.
There isn’t really anything broken in Fable Heroes, it’s simply an exercise in apathy. It’s obvious that nobody at Lionhead Studios cared about this game in any way. It works, and kids might enjoy the visual style and gameplay for a short time, but there isn’t any reason for anyone to play Fable Heroes. Everyone will quickly forget this one and move on.