Our first stop during our week in Cologne, Germany was to the Xbox Media Briefing on Tuesday held offsite in the city as the convention centre was not yet open. It was here that our journey with Fable Legends began.
Phil Harrison, Corporate Vice President at Microsoft took to the stage to go through a number of Xbox One exclusive titles which of course included the latest in the Fable franchise from the UK based Lionhead Studios. As well as a new gameplay trailer Phil Harrison also detailed the upcoming Multiplayer BETA which launches on October 16th. You can sign up here: http://www.fablelegends.com/
The news was announced alongside a gameplay trailer, which showcases the multiplayer battle system. Hero characters are available in multiple classes, while villains will be able to set traps using a top-down perspective. Watch the Fable Legends trailer below and keep reading to see what we thought after we go hands on with this new multiplayer mode.
Over the coming days I managed to get hands on with Fable Legends twice ensuring that I played as both the Villain and a Hero. Playing as the Villain is unique and incredibly more fun than I initially thought it would be. Unlike playing as a Hero, the villain is played via an overhead view of the action so you can see the multiple units and traps at your disposal. As the villain it was my job to harm, annoy and kill the heroes before they made it to the end of the map securing themselves victory.
In the map we were playing I had 4 special units/minions under my command. I had archers who could lay smoke traps as a special ability, a ranged bomber type minion who could fire large single explosives in the path of my enemies, The Puck who could stealth behind units and take out those that become separated from the rest of the group, and finally some generic melee units. I also had time at the beginning of each map to set up mines and other traps including raising or lowering gates to protect my units or force the heroes down a particular path. What was pleasantly surprising was how easy and intuitive it was to move around and control my minions considering the many different factors and events happening on the field of battle at any one time.
As the heroes progress through each stage, a new area opens up with new minions and traps to set up. There were 3 stages to the map we played on. Once the final area is reached and cleared I have a special unit unlock, a big Ogre whose special ability is farting… a big poison cloud attack. I was doing well by this stage and all the heroes has run out of healing potions long before the Ogre entered the battle. Using my Puck and Archers to support the Ogre, I was quickly able to finish off the 4 heroes and win the game.
When I later return to the game (during the Xbox Aftershow Party) I got to play as Sterling, the dashing Rogue who has little health but speed and dexterity on his side. Fable Legends plays as you would expect when playing as a hero, you need to keep close to one another and support your team mates. If a fellow hero falls then you need to revive them, watching out for dangers of your own. Sterling was quick, he has a ranged knife throw attack and a slap which stuns opponents allowing you to follow up with his higher damage special strike attack. As the heroes we made it through to the final area with the Ogre, unfortunately all my teammates were down and out and I was alone with the Ogre, a Puck and a couple of archers. I lasted a good few minutes using the evade ability but the odds were stacked too highly against me and eventually the gamer playing as the villain won the day.
Fable Legends proved to be an extremely popular title at Gamescom with queues building up within minutes of the event opening each day and some queues as long as 3 hours. The booth staff were fantastically engaged with everyone, and when they work 12+ hour days constantly on their feet, this goes to show how much passion and love the Lionhead team really do have for their game.
We loved Fable Legends and what we got to see and play during Gamescom 2014. We’ll keep you updated on news as we approach the release date and in the meantime, don’t forget to register for the Multiplayer BETA here.