Fable has always been a franchise that has never been as good as it could have been. Overpromised features and watered down gameplay saw to that, but the franchise is now entering a new age at Microsoft. And for the first time in quite a while, I found myself enjoying a Fable title.
Much like every other big game announced at E3 this year, the big hook for Fable Legends was on co-op action. On the surface, it doesn’t sound like a bad idea. Four adventurers, plenty of monsters and a few health potions to keep your party alive sound pretty decent. Decent, but not exceptional.
What actually made Fable Legends one of the biggest surprises at E3 however, was the addition of a tactical element where a fifth player could grab a controller and assume the role of a villain who could torment the heroes.
That fifth dastardly player (This handsome bastard in the hands-on demo that we got to try out in this case) gets a top down view reminiscent of classic strategy games and can control his troops in real-time while the heroes battle it out. As Lionhead explained to me, my goal was to essentially keep chucking minions at the players until they ran out of health and were down for the count. In other words, Zapp Brannigan tactics.
One thing that was stressed to me however, was that Lionhead wanted to to make the control scheme as intuitive as possible. And their efforts have paid off. Each face button controls a specific class of minion, while holding in the right trigger allowed to me to initiate special attacks on the heroes.
It felt simple, became second nature quickly enough and it was rather satisfying to hear one of the journalists behind me curse my name as he went down to another Ogre poison fart attack when I controlled the battlefield and cordoned him off from his allies. I could throw down smoke bombs, send in stealth minions and lay down mortar fire, while the screens behind me exploded with my actions and more cursing.
It’s a remarkably simple yet addictive system. And if this is the direction that Fable is going in now, then I’d gladly want to play more.
Last Updated: June 17, 2014