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Eric, Erdrick. Potato, Pot-at-o!

  • Chilly
  • 06/23/2016 06:02 PM
  • 1932 views
I remember reading a magazine review for Final Fantasy VII that heralded the game as being the rallying cry of a new era. Within that review, the writer took a stab at classic RPGs for some of their cliches. Specifically, it mentioned fighting slimes for base experience points, which I now interpret as being a dig at the Dragon Quest series. I imagine that Fable of Heroes I: Legendary Edition would not be that reviewer's cup of tea, but I found a reasonable amount of what satisfies my classical RPGing drives here.

Plot/Storyline: What begins as a father wanting his son to get out of the house and go explore
ends up evolving into a quest to protect the world from an unknown threat that eventually reveals to be a powerful sorceress who gets high off of cruelly destroying human life. Eventually, a little more is revealed about this character, but I would rather save that for if/when you play the game.
Like a classic DQ or FF title, there is a slow build-up as to why the characters should loath the villain to the extent that they in particular should be the ones to risk their lives with confrontation. This is a gradual build-up, and I imagine players of more modern, cinematic titles will lose their patience while others will feel quite at home.

At the end of the day, FoH's plot is strictly linear, and serves as a mechanism of moving the game along moreso than as an end in and of itself. Given that the game's a tribute to the '8 bit' days of RPGing, it feels comfortable, even if some of the characters' motives and feelings are so briefly explained and archetypal of that era that some players will feel out of sorts.

Sound/Music: This game's soundtrack is largely borrowed from critically acclaimed commercial titles--particularly, the NES-era Dragon Quest games--and traditional RPG Maker 2003 fare. The word I would use to describe this assorted soundtrack is appropriate: for example, a small, care-free village has a happy-go-lucky tune with a poppy little melody, and the desert town has an expected Arabic feel. FoH's audio is strictly by the book, but it works.

Visuals/Mapping: The chipsets, battlebacks, character facesets, etc... this is RPG Maker 2k3 RTP, with the occasional classic DQ battler thrown in for good measure. Even the names of characters (Eric, Alec... well, that is one letter removed from Alex...) are representative of RPGM system defaults.

The good news is that the size of the maps is spot on: towns are large enough to be breaks from the action without chewing up your time, dungeons give you alternate paths to treasure without causing you to forget which way you came from, and even though there is no item you can acquire that displays the map of the overworld (at least not from what I have seen), the world is easy enough to navigate around, whether by land, air or sea.

Gameplay: Battles are default, turn-based fare. I found the encounter rate to be generally appropriate, but given that grinding is a must and battles usually involve spamming attack, there are plenty of times that I escaped from fights that I could've won without too much effort, simply because I wanted to go do something else. Given that equipment can be expensive later in the game, I found myself hoping that selling off items would get me whatever weaponry/armor I needed to face the next foes up.

What makes the flow of the game work is what I previously mentioned about mapping: by the time you might feel exhausted of a location you are in, it's off to the next screen. With that said, I should address the 500-pound gorilla in the room: there is no dash in this game, and that has turned a lot of players off. I was sometimes unbothered by it because of how appropriate the size of areas are, and in this particular game, I believe that there are moments in which the lack of a dash might re-enforce to the player that they should take their time to go through things and feel a part of whatever they're up to--whether it's exploring a town for hidden items, leveling up or dungeon crawling. Of course, when I went to revisit towns for treasure or to satisfy quests, not being able to move faster was a tad bothersome. (I would argue that a dash should be mandatory in games in which dungeons branch way out and towns feature more than several quests to explore.)

FoH doesn't keep track of time, but I would guess that the 10 hour estimation is appropriate (this includes a few sidequests that are mostly quick enough to satisfy--but there are a few longer and more challenging ones, including a superboss that I'm preferring not to approach. These add a needed touch of choice to a largely linear title.) Toward the end of the game, my characters are leveled at around 40.

Final Word: The question of whether Fable of Heroes I: Legendary Edition belongs in your collection is a matter of why you play RPGs. Do you like random encounters (and can you tolerate the few dungeons in which the rate seems turned up claustrophobically high?), the possibility of getting an unavoidable game over simply because you wandered off to an area that you don't belong in yet (or because your party got hit with a sudden death spell...), the challenge of level grinding against foes that aren't quite a cakewalk in order to take on more advanced villains, wandering a traditional overworld to get from Town A to Town B, searching out inns to restore your health and magic points because you haven't been allowed to save in awhile, chasing a megalomaniac around the world in order to save the planet from a typical (by this genre's classical standards) hostile fate, and the use of romance and retribution as devices to advance a loose plot, rather than the dialog being so thorough and compelling that it could work on its own as a novel? If these classic JRPGs mechanisms intrinsically motivate you to want to play, then Fable of Heroes I: Legendary Edition bends without breaking well enough to be regarded as a solid, and worthy, tribute to the genre's past.

Posts

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Wow, to me, this review is too difficult to read... Are you a professional writer or someone like an RPGing scholar? Glad to see an another review on this game, anyway! XD
Wow, thanks man... I didnt think people still played this one. I'm working on Fable of Heroes 3 right now. Thanks for playing my game.
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