XBLA Review: Fable Heroes

From Hero to Zero?

The Fable series has had its ups and downs. The main games have been good, but never really delivered on their promises by Peter Molyneux and Lionhead. Fable Heroes is a spin-off hack-n-slash adventure that tries to bring a family experience to the table by collecting coins, fighting enemies and playing mini-games. But does it deserve to use the Fable name?

Fable Heroes is ultimately a letdown. It doesn’t really know what it wants to be, you’ll play with 3 other players either AI or online friends going round locations inspired by Fable like Millfields, Bowerstone and so on. Unfortunately the combat is mindless button-bashing and becomes repetitive quickly, you’ll open bonus chests which will grant the player temporary powers like being really tall or slowing time down.

As you progress through the level, you’ll come to a crossroads which will lead to either a boss fight or a mini-game for more coins. The mini-games are pretty awful, while the boss battles are probably the most memorable moments of the main game, which doesn’t last too long. After completing a level, you’ll have to play a pointless board game to level up your abilities and it’s incredibly boring, but it also takes forever to do. I don’t know why they added it in; this is no Mario Party by any stretch of the imagination.

The characters look like Lionhead’s take on Sackboy from LittleBigPlanet, which doesn’t really fit the Fable universe that well. In truth, Fable Heroes just loses all its identity and while there are some good ideas floating around under the surface, it’s never capitalised on. In terms of visuals, Fable Heroes looks a little bland and rough around the edges, it does have a little charm to it…but it doesn’t feel right. The music is decent, but the sound effects do become annoying after a while.

The Verdict

Fable Heroes is a major disappointment. Its ideas are good, but the combat is repetitive and unfulfilling, the AI isn’t the smartest, the board game is pointless and the mini-games are terrible. I don’t know how Lionhead got it so wrong, but maybe this is why Molyneux left….