Hands-On Preview: Fable Legends - Four Times the Chicken Chaser

Darkness has once again come to the world of Albion and it’s going to take more than one Hero to save the day — four to be exact.

Microsoft and Lionhead Studios brought a playable version of Fable Legends on the PAX East Show floor and I had a chance to give the business end to some dumb Ogre.

Before my demo I had to chance to chat with Creative Director David Eckelberry (the guy in the all videos) a bit about the Fable Legends pay model. David also elaborated on the free-to-play model a bit that was announced last week.

The title is following the MOBA approach to unlocking Heroes, as free characters will be on a rotation with the option of paying cash for permanent Heroes. Most of the gear can be unlocked through standard play with the exception of some cosmetic items that can only be purchased through. David made sure to stress the fact that Legends will not be a pay-to-win game.

If you’re not caught up on what’s happening in the world of Albion, players can put together a team of up to four Heroes with various powers and abilities in order to work together for loot and goodies.

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On the flip-side, a Villain character is trying to end the Heroes crusade by raising an army of monsters and setting traps. The Villain’s character, since he’s not represented on the battlefield, has a stable of monsters to choose from and more that can be unlocked through progression.

The Villain’s side of things plays like a real-time strategy and requires you to focus on micromanaging units in order to trounce the Heroes. It’s an interesting risk combining two genres and essentially redefining the direction the Fable franchise will head in.

After some internal debating I decided to play with the ranged character, Shroud. His role is to keep his distance and try to get headshots. Like a MOBA, the other characters fall into different types — the 12 characters to choose from all fall into the support, attack, defense and magic archetypes.

Shroud also had a great multi-shot ability that locks on multiple targets before raining hell. This move works well against large groups that would ambush us; combine this with our tanks spinning sword attack and the Villain’s minions didn’t stand a chance.

My companions and I faced off against a Villain player who stuck with using ranged units like archers and mortar tossers. Some clever placement left us hunting for units as they would pepper us with arrows and bombs. Health potions are scarce and once you use the three that you start off with, they don’t get replenished.

The match turned into a war of attrition for the Villain, hoping that he could do enough damage to the Heroes before they got to the final phase of the battle where health matters.

The level we played had three sections. The first two had our team clearing out a village that’s under siege. I should mention that through magic (obviously) the village that we are trying to save was shrunken so, of course, our Heroes needed to be miniaturized to save the day.

The really neat thing about this set-up was that if you occasionally glance up you’ll see the giant silhouette of the quest giver checking in on your quest.

The final stage gave the Villain some prep time to lay traps and position his minions. Since the Villain can see the entire map on his end he was able to set a number of traps via raising gates to separate our party while hitting us with smoke bombs once the barrier dropped.

We made short work of them until an Ogre was unleashed on the battlefield. We had to focus on his weak spot which was his belly. Unfortunately, his large belt covered the spot but attacking from behind allowed us to break off that piece of armor and together we managed to take down Orge despite his superior power and size.

The Villain put us through the ringer, forcing us to use up all our health potions. I like to think it was because of me but I’m pretty sure my party did all the work while I was getting getting ambushed but some weird invisible goat monster thing. Doesn’t matter, we won. There is no ‘I’ in team after all.

From what I played, Fable Legends feels like it’s going to make some serious waves in the free to play market, considering that games like Warframe have proven that people are willing to invest in cooperative free-to-play titles.

Legends definitely has potential, considering the cross platform play on Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs.  It will be interesting to see how fans of Fable will react to Lionhead’s very risky but equally fun to play endeavor.

Expect Fable Legends to come Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs later this year.

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Jorge Jimenez

Raised under the tutelage of Sonic the Hedgehog and the Gunstars. Jorge came from an age where protagonists never spoke and instruction manuals were over 50 pages long. When Jorge isn't writing about some obscure indie game, he spends his day talking about videogames regardless if anyone is listening or not. Jorge one day dreams of voicing a random npc your main character bumps into and punches in the face.

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