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    Fable Legends: Being bad has its benefits

    Morality has been one of the consistent themes of the Fable series. Albion has lots of people to rescue, treasures to loot, and monsters to kill, and you’re often given the latitude to determine what works best for you. Are you greedy, or do you share the wealth? Are you honest? Do you get your kicks by kicking chickens? As the hero of your story, it’s been your call. Fable Legends places a wicked dividing line between good and bad, naughty and nice. Even if you love exploring the gray spaces between the extremes, you’re going to have to pick a side. You’re either one of the heroes in this adventure, or you’re the  villain. And, as I learned, there are plenty of great things about being bad.

    The setup is simple: Four heroes team up to tackle a variety of quests, slaying monsters and earning acclaim along the way. A fifth player joins in with one simple goal: to ruin everything for the other guys. Following the long tradition of big baddies everywhere, the villain doesn’t cause problems in person. Instead, you have a variety of diabolical tools and traps to take on those do-gooders from afar.

    The mission I played is set in a lost village, where a curse has shrunken the party of four heroes down to thumb-sized pests. They scramble through the town, taking on hordes of monsters and doing their best to return to full size. Clearly, that won’t do.

    While the good guys are roaming the world in a traditional third-person view, the bad guy is able to monitor their actions from up on high. Before a quest starts, the villain can survey the level and determine how best to thwart the heroes’ plans. Symbols appear on the world, which represent various mobs, treasures, and hazards. You don’t have to tweak things around at first, but it pays off. Put a chest near a dead end, and you can trap anyone who beelines over to it with a barrier. As they frantically bash the wooden planks, you can drop an area-of-effect attack on them or place an invisible enemy behind them.

    One of the sneakiest combos I saw involved a carefully placed explosive mine and a gate. An unsuspecting hero walks over the fence, which is buried, and it pops up sending the hero into the air, where they land on the bomb. The blow isn’t fatal, but it does a great job of sending them into a paranoid frenzy. Once scattered, you’ll find that heroes aren’t so tough after all.

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