Fable Heroes is a side-scrolling, four-player co-op hack-and-slash that takes the favorite characters of the Fable series, puppetizes them and sends them traipsing across a board game version of Albion. Heroes begins with only the characters of Hammer, Garth, Reaver, and the Hero King unlocked, but you’ll get more variety along the way. Yet, despite the familiar faces and places, Heroes is lacking in appeal. It’s incredibly short and it’s not really fun enough to warrant more than one playthrough.
Within the side-scrolling levels, your characters battle it out with familiar Fable foes like Hobbes, Beetles, and Hollowmen, but instead of dropping experience points, each enemy drops gold coins. However, just because you were the one to kill the enemy doesn’t mean you get the gold. When an enemy falls, coins scatter and they’re up for grabs. This works out great if you’re playing with a melee character like the Hero King or Hammer because you’re right in the thick of it and coins are just dropping all around you, but it’s not so super if you’re playing a ranged character like Garth or Reaver because you’re simply not close enough to get as many coins. This is a big problem since the game bases the winner off of whoeverhas the most gold at the end of the level and technically a character wouldn’t have to fight much at all, just run around the battlefield, picking up all the coins while the rest of the party does all the slaying. Granted, you probably wouldn’t keep such a player on your team for long, but the chance for exploitation is there. It also doesn’t do much for party diversity, with ranged characters having to work double time to get their due, you’re likely to end up with a party full of melee characters every time simply because that’s where the money’s at.
Once you have completed a level and earned your gold, your party shifts to a separate mini board game where you roll dice to move your character and can buy certain upgrades depending on where you land. Once you’ve purchased your upgrades, your party returns to the main board of the game and continues down the path toward the next level. The mini board game isn’t the greatest way to go about upgrading since it leaves as much up to chance as the amount of gold you spend, but it ultimately just serves to lengthen the game. If you could just go into a menu, buy the upgrades you wanted, and get back to the co-op, you’d be done in no time. The mini board game serves as padding, forcing you to keep playing in hopes of getting the upgrade you wanted.
In fact, Heroes does a lot of things in hopes of keeping you from noticing how short the game really is. Each level has two separate endings, usually a boss and a party challenge, and to do both you have to play through the level twice. And once you’ve finished the game, which is over pretty quickly, you’re offered a ‘more difficult challenge’ which is basically changing all the levels you’ve just played through into versions of themselves infested with the Darkness, an evil tide that threatens to snuff out all light. Admittedly, the change in the graphics is cool, but I’m not entirely sold that I’d replay each level for it. One big reason to play this game though, if you are interested in the upcoming Fable: The Journey, is that you can transfer the gold you earn in Fable Heroes into Fable: The Journey.
The best part of Fable Heroes, however, are the credits, which you can play through like a regular level. All of Fable Heroes should have been like the credits, which makes its way through vignettes from all three Fables. It was nostalgic and fun in a way that was lacking in most of the other levels since they mostly focus on settings from Fable III.
Bottom Line: Fable Heroes is a tolerable, albeit short, game that’ll probably only be worthwhile to Fable fans.
Recommendation: If you’re interested in Fable: The Journey then the gold transfer might be of some use to you, but if not, spend your money elsewhere.[rating=2]
Game: Fable Heroes
Genre: Action Adventure
Developer: Lionhead Studios
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios