Fable Heroes

Fable Heroes Review for Xbox 360

On: Xbox 360

The game sees up to four players team up in a hack and slash adventure, working together as heroes of Albion to defeat familiar foes and new enemies.

Review Verdict Read Review
6Out of 10
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Fable Heroes screenshot
Fable Heroes screenshot

Fable Heroes wants to be fun. This beaming downloadable game effortlessly coos for your attention, as patchwork player puppets spring amusingly around a hobbycraft recreation of Fable's signature outposts. It's a sort of quaint British joy; a mythical Albion that Lionhead can so effortlessly wrap up and package whenever the need arises, mixed together with a touch of the English seaside puppet show. When consumed via screenshots and trailers, Fable Heroes looks like it's going to be positively delightful.

That is, until you play it.

There's definitely something refreshing about the look and feel of Fable Heroes, though, and the idea of strutting my stuff as an avatar of jolly smiles and fluff is always appealing in our industry of hulking bundles of sinew and fury. But it just isn't much fun, with its brief supply of content (you can have this pretty much polished off in just under four hours, and that involves repeating most levels a second time) rarely surmounting to more than just jamming away at the attack button and hoping for the best. There's flourish moves and some powerful pummelling attacks thrown in to give combat the illusion of depth, too, but you'll quickly see past the trick.

Elsewhere, there's a whole laundry list of minor transgressions feeding into the overall melancholy. The camera feels like it's got hammered and decided to film a completely different game, the controls never quite feel precise enough to bother learning anything other than attack-attack-attack-attack and all the monsters, including the bosses, feel identical. It's also surprisingly difficult to play: the screen is often so jam-packed with enemies and other players that you'll regularly lose sight of your character.

But what really killed my enjoyment of Fable Heroes, more than the rest of its problems combined, was that it never manages to feel like a cohesive team experience. It might have tried to stitch together the spirit of Fable with the warm, welcome feel of the LEGO series, but its off-key brand of aimless button-mashing falls far short of the mark.

Again, on paper it sounds like a right old belly laugh - almost everything about Fable Heroes sounds like it would have been an award-winning idea at the conceptual stages - with a bit of cheeky to-and-fro with your gold supplies and a slight competitive element to your co-operative gauntlet running. Whack a few Hobbes, knock down an ice troll and gobble up copious piles of shiny money, occasionally opening a box or launching into a Mario Party mini-game. Still, it doesn't quite come together as a team game. Partially this failure of co-operation is due to the fussy, wonky and distant camera, and the non-existence demands for teamwork in the game itself, but playing Fable Heroes generally feels like four people individually playing the same game as opposed to four people playing together.

Fable Heroes screenshot

Persistence and progression exists, but it's all done on a character-specific basis which ensures you will never, ever switch from the puppet you originally chose. You can choose between knitted versions of series favourites, including Reaver, Jack of Blades and Hammer, each favouring either melee or a mix of basically-almost-melee ranged and magic attacks. Character progression is handled by a Monopoly-style board game, with a standard set of upgrades dotted around an outer edge, with additional upgrades unlocking on the inside edge as you play. You earn dice rolls by harvesting gold within levels, or occasionally when they drop from item boxes, and between rounds you can cross your fingers and hope for lady luck's sweet embrace.

While a nice idea on paper, this board game makes the game go all squiffy almost immediately. Levels in Fable Heroes are designed to be competitive affairs, where the player with the most gold at the end is declared the winner, but this core principle can be quickly destroyed by your mate being fortunate enough to land on the 25 per cent gold multiplier while you're stuck with the ability to punt tiny hobbes - they'll win every level and immediately become super rich, and you'll be left with the unbearably useless ability of being able to kick hobbes. It's hardly the stuff of co-op legend, is it?

Fable Heroes is a bright and bouncy game marred by the fact you'll spend most of your time with it thinking of other, better games. It's one of the most painful types of disappointing game because it's very clear that it could have been something so much better, but this sodden and poor treatment of a co-op baddie-thwacker ensures Fable Heroes never manages to become the fun game it deserves to be.

Version Tested: Xbox 360

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User Comments

Endless's Avatar

Endless@ CheekyLee

I've been trying the demo of Awesomenauts, it needs a bit more of something. Most reviews I've read claim it has hidden depths, which I dont think the demo really allows you to see where this might come from. And I would have liked to have had the chance to see a bit more variation in the levels. Perhaps it's a bit more than follow the droids and blow up the turrets while avoiding enemy players, but There's no way I had the chance to experience any of that in the demo.

So I came away with what I thought was a very shallow experience.

OT: I haven't had chance to play the demo of fable heroes yet, but I cant abide the character designs in any way shape or form. So I am unlikely to do so.
Posted 14:30 on 07 May 2012
CheekyLee's Avatar

CheekyLee@ mamo

I agree.

So do This is Xbox. Did you write that for them?
Posted 07:46 on 07 May 2012
mamo's Avatar

mamo

Fable first came into our lives way back in 2004. It brought with it some refreshing and innovative ideas on how to pump some vigour into the veins of the age old RPG genre, it also sadly never quite managed to deliver the experience you felt the developers so badly wanted it to. The original Xbox never held the power to bring the vision fully to life and even the vastly superior 360 has still seemed to fall short.

Fable is still a success story for Lionhead studios of course but the games have always, at least on a personal level, felt way too shallow and throwaway to compete with the true big hitters of the action/RPG stable. They reached for the stars but ended hanging precariously from the guttering wondering what went wrong.
Posted 07:36 on 07 May 2012
Wido's Avatar

Wido

Well worth the 800MSP. Downloaded today and finished it in one sitting. The Credits level is fantastic! I won't spoil. Reading the review, I don't personally feel as if its giving the game any justice whatsoever, and most reviews from here as of late hasn't been spot on in my opinon.

Working as a team is one thing, but, this game is more about fun than head down communication of team work. Just whack and kick explosive pumpkin and snowmen heads towards the enemies and have a laugh. Nice change of scenery and great laughter.

At least give the trial a whirl.
Posted 22:34 on 05 May 2012
mamo's Avatar

mamo

I like charm and style of Fable.
Posted 07:33 on 03 May 2012
CheekyLee's Avatar

CheekyLee@ Endless

No love for Awesomenauts?
Posted 19:37 on 01 May 2012
Endless's Avatar

Endless@ pblive

Battleblock Theatre is looking to be the next good 'party' game imo.
Posted 13:43 on 01 May 2012
pblive's Avatar

pblive

oh, I really wanted this to be good. More points saved towards Minecraft then.
Posted 10:54 on 01 May 2012
Clockpunk's Avatar

Clockpunk@ dudester

As seen with pretty much any title as of late... unfortunately.
Posted 18:07 on 30 April 2012
dudester's Avatar

dudester

one mans enjoyment is another mans disappointment. :)
Posted 18:01 on 30 April 2012
Clockpunk's Avatar

Clockpunk@ dudester

'could do better' encapsulates 99% of games, lets be honest. No need to single out the enjoyable Fable franchise.
Posted 17:59 on 30 April 2012
dudester's Avatar

dudester

6/10 could do better pretty much encapsulates the whole fable series really.
Posted 17:52 on 30 April 2012
Clockpunk's Avatar

Clockpunk

Boo-urns. This sounds like could easily have been a fun little Mario Party-esque crossed with Castle Crashers title with a little more developmental focus.

THAT would have been good to see.


Still - nice review, Martin.
Posted 17:10 on 30 April 2012
TomPearson's Avatar

TomPearson

That's no way for a "Hero" to act.
Posted 17:09 on 30 April 2012
squidman's Avatar

squidman

I'll miss you Pearson
Posted 17:08 on 30 April 2012

Game Stats

Technical Specs
Fable Heroes
6
Out of 10
Fable Heroes
  • Lovely aesthetic
  • Bit tedious
  • Short
  • Not much variety
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 02/05/2012
Platform: Xbox 360
Developer: Lionhead
Publisher: Microsoft
Genre: Action
No. Players: 1-4
Rating: PEGI 7+
Site Rank: 4,346 10
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