Fable Fortune is a welcome return to the lore of an almost lost universe

by on July 25, 2017

When Lionhead Studios closed its doors earlier this year, many thought they’d seen the last of Fable, and whilst this may not be the sequel fans had hoped for, Fable Fortune has taken a lot of the whimsy, black comedy, and a wealthy dose of fantasy we all find rather familiar and filled this game to the brim with it. You may not get to walk the streets of Albion, but the feel of those games are present here, and whilst it may be a card game, it’s bloody good to be back in the Fable universe.

This is heavily down to the fact that some of the surviving members of Lionshead formed Flaming Fowl Studios, one of the teams behind Fortune, along with Mediatonic. It’s a rather welcoming game, and once you’ve worked out what you actually need to do (there is no obvious tutorial or guide in the game), it’s a hell of a lot of fun. There are two modes, and both feature multiplayer of sorts, and after spending a bit of time in the Training section of the game, I headed into battle online.

Before you begin a game, you must select one of the six heroes. Each of the heroes have special abilities you can call upon at any time (provided you have enough Gold), but they also have a playing style that differs greatly from the next, and learning which one suits you is half the fun. After playing with Sand the Prophet (he keeps you and your units topped up with health, allowing you to last longer in battle) and Temple the Gravedigger (she’s a ruthless necromancer that summons an army of dead to flood the playing field), I settled upon Crimson. Crimson is a Shapeshifter – a ferocious and cunning hero, whom unleashes large amounts of damage through her spells and beastly units.

Fable Fortune offers you a chance to build your deck out of the cards you purchase from the store, or unlock through playing the game and levelling up your hero. There’s also a great crafting mechanic, which isn’t too complex, however, you need to be careful. Ink is required to craft, and you can gain it in game, but it’ll also come into your posession when Salvaging your own cards (breaking them down). Doing this will result in losing the cards you Salvage, so make sure you know exactly what you’re doing. I enjoyed crafting quite a bit, mainly because it gives you something to do far beyond just playing, and it gave me much more control on the deck I wanted to build, removing luck and creating more tactical deck-building elements.

Once you’ve built your deck, it’s time to take to the battlefield. There’s a great pace in Fable Fortune, and you never have to wait a long time for your opposition to play. This is mainly down to the layout of the board and the sheer amount of attacking options you’ve got. You’ll start with a small amount of Gold (essentially your currency for using your unit cards’ attacks, your spells, and your Hero or Guard powers), and how you use it will be the key to your success.

Although this is a strategy card battle game, there are quests you can choose from, and by completing them, you’ll unlock special abilities or extra items to help you win. For example, if you pick the ‘Albion’s Got Magic’ quest and manage to use 3 spells over 1 point or more, you’ll get the Brandish award (gives a unit +1 health). You’ll also be given a choice as to whether you side with good or evil, with both having some great affects on your game (extra attacking or defensive points for example), just like the good old days.

When you’ve settled on your starting cards, it’s time to enjoy the flow of play. Even though there’s a lot going on, you’re constantly on watch, making sure you’ve got a plan to wipe out your opposition’s units and Hero. Each Unit Card has an attack and defense rating. The more Gold you spend, the better the card, but you’re not going to be able to choose say, a Rock Troll or Harbinger until later in the game – this is where tactics play a roll in the game. You’ll also draw Spell Cards which do a number of things, and knowing when to use them can take some time to work out. It’s all about combos and learning the opposition’s weakness.

Using all of your Gold to go on the offense can result on leaving your units and Hero without any defense. Making sure you use your Guard power is vital, as is making sure any spells you’ve got to disorientate the enemy or increase your defence rating are always in your hand. There’s a lot to learn, but the only way you’re going to get Fable Fortune is by playing. The Training mode is a simple choice of playing a game in Normal or Hard mode, but it’ll help you perfect your game before you head out into the real competition. Co-op is pretty cool, seeing you and a friend take on bosses from the Fable Universe, still allowing you to take on Quests like in the PvP, but each of you taking turns to succeed, sharing health to make things that little bit trickier.

Fable Fortune is a lovely reminder of how great the Fable lore is, and how Lionshead Studios were a talented bunch of folks. Thankfully, if you’re a fan of card battle games and the Fable universe, this game is going to appeal to you. Of course, it’s launching into early Access today, so the omission of a single player game will hopefully be rectified, but in terms of playing Fable Fortune, there’s a great game to be had, and they’ve got a strong start. And who knows, maybe we’ll see a return to Albion in other forms as time goes on, and people realise just how important Fable is to video games.

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