Fable Heroes Review
Fable Heroes Box Art
System: Xbox 360
Dev: Lionhead Studios
Pub: Microsoft
Release: May 2, 2012
Players: 1-4
Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p Mild Fantasy Violence

The strangest thing about Fable Heroes, to me, is that a series founded on the premise of freedom, of being able to define one's own experience through the course of a grand fantasy adventure, has given birth to a stunted, would-be party game such as this in the downloadable sector.

Fable Heroes Screenshot

That isn't to say that even the Fable games under Molyneux had a particularly good history—Pub Games was pretty atrocious, feeding on the hype surrounding the second Fable to get people interested—but this seems like a real project, like it really wanted to be something interesting and enjoyable. While there are some good concepts here, and each level does branch at the end, either into a minigame or a boss battle (either of which is unlocked on the map upon completion), it feels overly rigid and barren. Its content demands replay if one actually desires completion, since its score requirements for level grades are impossible to achieve without gold-gathering upgrades and the levels must all be replayed at least once if one wishes to see every boss battle and minigame. (Though, the minigames aren't generally worth it, extremely simplistic and rough around the edges. That said, the game does not tell you which path, at level's end, leads to a boss and which leads to a minigame, so you'll probably have to replay at least a few.)

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And, in general, a lack of polish is the takeaway here. It's probably best illustrated in the Gravestone level, in which my co-op buddy and I played through and found the end-level minigame to be an endless survival challenge; last player standing won the top prize (all of the minigames were competitive in the manner, and gold collected during a level is not shared, much like rupees in the Four Swords Zelda spin-offs). After our A.I. partners were knocked out, we spent almost four minutes of dreadful monotony slaying pumpkin-headed Hollow Men until, finally, one of us decided to commit suicide against an exploding pumpkin head. A game should have compelling enough gameplay that a standoff is tense and enjoyable, not dull and monotonous to the point of drudgery.

By
Shelby Reiches
Contributing Writer
@Shelby_Arr
Date: May 1, 2012

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
3.0
Graphics
There's a certain charm to the visuals, even if they're neither technically nor aesthetically spectacular. That said, I still say that the dolls look creepy and the monsters are mostly unrecognizable.
1.7
Control
Sluggish and unresponsive, Fable Heroes is frustrating to play in part because it never feels like one's character responds particularly well to one's inputs.
2.2
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
It feels good when one picks up a stack of coins, but most of the sound effects are either unnoticeable or not present, since there's also little in the way of auditory cues to alert one to what's going on in combat.
1.5
Play Value
It really wants you to play it over and over again, since it offers incentives to do so, but it has so much difficulty maintaining one's interest for even a single playthrough that it's hard to think of someone wanting to do it all again, except for completion's sake.
2.1
Overall Rating - Poor
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
Review Rating Legend
0.1 - 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 3.5 - 3.9 = Good 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair 4.0 - 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • Challenge friends and foes. Pick your favorite hero and join forces with up to four of your friends to defeat your enemies. At the same time, compete with your friends to collect gold coins, which will level up your character and unlock items in "Fable: The Journey" when it launches later this year.
  • Explore a reimagined Albion. "Fable Heroes" was developed by Lionhead employees who have been fans of the franchise from day one. It includes regions, enemies, and characters that fans of the "Fable" franchise will recognize, but with a unique art style that offers a fresh take on the world of Albion.
  • Play again and again. As you progress through the game, you will unlock increasingly difficult levels and minigames that will challenge you to gain new powers, beat your previous score, and climb the leaderboards. In addition, you can set the difficulty from the start, offering a challenge for experts and novices alike.

  • Screenshots / Images
    Fable Heroes Screenshot - click to enlarge Fable Heroes Screenshot - click to enlarge Fable Heroes Screenshot - click to enlarge Fable Heroes Screenshot - click to enlarge Fable Heroes Screenshot - click to enlarge Fable Heroes Screenshot - click to enlarge Fable Heroes Screenshot - click to enlarge Fable Heroes Screenshot - click to enlarge Fable Heroes Screenshot - click to enlarge Fable Heroes Screenshot - click to enlarge

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