Imagine, if you will, a world where the hero has the freedom to be as unheroic as possible. In fact, the hero can be so unheroic as to be called the villain. That’s right. We’re not talking about “I saved the world and maybe stabbed a pesky peasant or two along the way”. No, we’re talking “I sent hordes of monsters to kill everyone and DESTROY THE WORLD”. While evil laughter is optional, it would be best to have one inserted here.

Fable Legends takes places centuries before the first game, when the world was still dark and full of terrors. The Heroes’ Guild does not exist yet and people are only just discovering their inner hero, banding together and trying to take on the daunting chore of exploring the world, mapping unknown lands and battling fierce monstrosities… and that’s where you come in.

Fable Legends lets you, for the first time in an RPG, choose how you want to play: you can play as the goody-two-shoes heroes, helping the people and saving blushing maidens. Or you could actually be the villain and for the first time in a Fable game be single-handedly responsible for ending creation. Sounds fun, doesn’t it?

Let’s begin with the heroes. Four new heroes were shown: Glory, your typical arcane spellcaster, teleporter and all sorts of other mage-y gimmicks; Inga, your friendly neighborhood tank, complete with an almost-comically oversized shield; Shroud, the bow-wielding assassin. Last but not least, Leech, who despite the ominous-sounding name is a friendly and benevolent healer. Each of our new heroes has their own backstory and motives – indeed, this is the typical Fable we’ve all come to know and love. When playing as a hero your experience would pretty much be what you have come to expect. Chatting up the peasants, kicking the occasional chicken, maybe doing a sidequest here or there, all in good fun. It is your duty, nay, calling, to destroy the evil plaguing the land. To save everyone and everything, to truly be the hero the land so desparately needs. Yawn.

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When you embark on a quest as a hero, your perspective is a fairly standard third-person, over-the-shoulder camera following you around as you hack and slash your way through minions and traps. Control is even somewhat reminiscent of a typical action game – you switch weapons, activate special skills and dash. On any given quest, your objective remains the same: Destroy the monsters. Once the last goblin falls, you are victorious.

And then there’s the villain. A short disclaimer before we continue: I played the villain. I killed the heroes. Farts were involved. Consider yourselves warned and read on at your own peril.

The Villain, to put it simply, is the malicious force bent on destroying creation. While not much has been revealed in terms of motivation or origin in regards to the villain, that at least is known… But let’s be honest. You’re a villain. You win by killing the heroes. Does it really matter WHY you want their bones to bleach in the sun?

The Villain’s gameplay was quite different from what those who play heroes experience. As the Villain, I got what can best be described as “Fable: RTS Edition”. I had a top-down bird’s eye view that could just as easily have been taken straight out of a Starcraft match, and I suddenly had to manage resources. Do I spend it all on a battalion of cheap (yet easily killable) goblins? How about demonic entities with the power of invisibility? Archers? Or maybe I’m just going to carpet the land with deadly traps and hope the heroes don’t mind the gap? The answer is “All of the above”.

The first wave was a decisive win for Team Heroes. No matter their numbers, my little goblins couldn’t withstand a unified spearhead of heroes. To make matters worse, I had no traps to speak of and the path the heroes took was fairly unobstructed. But no matter! Only by defeating all three waves could the heroes triumph. I was bent on destroying them before that, no matter how many goblins would perish.

Second wave went considerably better. I now had access to traps. I slapped three landmines right at the start of the level hoping some careless hero, excited by their easy victory on the first round, would trip all over them… and they did. The mines went BOOM, the hero went SPLAT and then after a long fight (a lot more goblins lost their lives) the heroes won. Again. Things were getting better, though – by the time the last goblin turned to a smear of red paste on the ground, Team Hero was below 50% of their HP totals. Victory might still be an option, but only if I plan ahead… and plan I have.

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The third and final wave took place on a map that finally favored my minions. Not only were mines available but the route the heroes had to take had gates. Gates were good; gates were the tools with which the heroes would finally be crushed. While unity was definitely their strength, it was with the simple wooden gate that I finally managed to separate them. Alone and isolated, wave after wave of goblins crashed down upon them. My archers filled the sky with arrows and at long last, my plan was working. One hero was down, then another… victory was at hand! It was so close… but alas. The last goblin died and all seemed lost. Then, the ogre came.

As the surviving two heroes were rejoicing in what appeared to be a narrow win, the ogre came rushing at them. Swinging a giant stone club it crushed, it smashed, it spat toxic goo and farted clouds of noxious gas. Of the two remaining heroes, one was overwhelmed almost instantly, victim to a direct hit by a gigantic stone club. The other hero, survived a little longer – it ran around, utilizing its superior speed, confounding my ogre and trying to revive a fallen companion. But this time, I was ready. Time and time again the ogre unleashed deadly fart clouds, blanketing the world in noxious green gasses which drained the life of the last hero. He had no chance and at last, suffocated in a cloud of green fumes. Victory was mine.

In the end, Fable Legends offers something for everyone. You can be the hero, you can be the villain. You can save the world, you can try to destroy it. One thing is certain though: no matter what side of the game you choose, Fable Legends delivers a fresh 4-vs-1 gameplay and a new way to play with your friends.


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