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Fable Legends hands-on: Not the Fable you've played before & we love that

Ready for some legends?
Ready for some legends?
Permission to use photo given by Microsoft

Fable is one of the single most beloved franchises in the history of Xbox. It has seen an interesting evolution since the first installment launched in 2004. The first and second Fable games were incredible hits with the third falling a bit short of people's expectations.

Ready for some Legends?
Permission to use photo given by Microsoft

After the trilogy of Fable titles made their way to consoles, Fable: The Journey launched and didn't claim the popularity that developers had hoped. This past February we saw the launch of Fable Anniversary, which was an incredibly gorgeous revisiting of the original game.

Now we sit here anticipating the arrival of Fable Legends, the next chapter in the famed series. You may be sitting there wondering whether or not this is going to be the same wonderful Fable you've come to expect from Lionhead Studios. Well, it's not the same, but it is as much if not more fun than before!

Fable Legends is going to take players to a new world of gameplay. While you will quickly recognize this as a Fable game, the strategies, controls and gameplay tactics will be quite different.

Microsoft has told us that there will be more than 12 playable heroes at the launch of Fable Legends, but right now we only know of four. Those four are Sterling, Rook, Inga and Winter. Each of Fable Legends' heroes will have different abilities that set themselves apart from each other.

It was clear to see from our hands-on time with Fable Legends that each character will need to be played differently. For example, Rook, who is an archer, will need to always be kept at a distance due to his primary attack being executed through the air. When taking on an enormous enemy like an Ogre, getting too close will most likely lead to the demise of Rook, and will damage the overall chances of your team succeeding.

When playing with three other players, it's going to be important to communicate and know each hero's' strengths. If you can successfully implement appropriate tactics and methods, then you'll undoubtedly find success against the villain.

Speaking of the villain, we had the chance to play as the villain and boy was it fun. Fable Legends is certainly onto something with this 4v1 style of gameplay. Playing as the villain is going to become a fan-favorite, I have no doubt about that.

As the villain, you will be able to go through a setup phase prior to each battle to help you execute your best method of attack. During this phase, players will try and anticipate what they believe will happen by picking the creatures they want, where they will be, what traps to use and more.

The creatures we know of right now are Redcaps, Ogres and Goodfellow. More creatures will be announced soon. We learned the specific abilities of each creature, and much like playing with other heroes, villains will need to understand what their creatures can and cannot do. For example, if you have a creature that can corral heroes within a small space with melee attacks, you'll want to send him out and then have your aerial assault creature execute his bomb attack on the group of heroes.

If you just randomly drop your bomb attack, then you'll most likely waste plenty of offensive opportunities. You need to be smart and anticipate the moves you think heroes will make before they make them. Each ability has a cool down to go through, so that will reinforce the amount of thought you put into your attacks.

If you're playing as the villain, Fable Legends' controls will take sometime to harness. Part of what makes them a bit awkward to get use to is that fact that you may not know all of the abilities your creatures possess. Once you do and can immediately think of what they are though, you'll be fine. I need to reiterate though, it will take sometime to get use to.

An encounter between heroes and villains will last a good amount of time. Our combat lasted about 10 minutes, so there is some serious length to a battle. It's an absolute joy to play as the villain. You will feel a strong sense of power as the villain. The top down view you have does a fine job of accentuating that feeling even more.

If you want to play alone, Fable Legends will be supporting that, but co-op is a blast. What doubts I had about this game heading into the hands-on session were quickly washed away with the time I had with it. More of you will be able to see for yourself when Lionhead kicks off the Fable Legends beta later this year. If you don't have Fable Legends on your radar, you may want to update that. Xbox One has yet another incredibly fun game on its way, and it'll be great to see more of Fable Legends later this year.

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