Does Fable Fortune Have Success In The Cards?
With Magic: The Gathering Online and Hearthstone, the CCG market on the PC really seems as though it can’t get any better than it already is. Nevertheless, Mediatonic and Flaming Fowl Studios are giving it a shot, and with a title like Fable flavoring the theme behind their foray into the genre, they might just be able to pull this one off.
Let’s not get excited yet, though. It needs to be stated that my first impressions of Fable Fortune was that it’s a little rough around the edges. Animations aren’t always smooth, a few graphics have a tendency to stick on screen, the HUD could use some adjusting, and there’s little to no voice acting or music thus far in the game. Now, all of these things are rather small in scope and may be fixed upon the full release, however I couldn’t help but notice that despite all of this in the end Fable Fortune was…well, it’s a little dull.
Mechanical issues aside for the moment, there’s just not a lot of flair to the game. I hate to keep comparing Fable Fortune to Hearthstone, but I’m afraid I must when talking about what a good, modern CCG is. Also, with only a few weeks until the game’s release there’s a notable distinction between the two that may prove crucial to the game’s success: atmosphere.
Hearthstone opens with a tavern-like setting, a rich medley of background noise, and a boisterous voice over welcoming you to the game. Fable Fortune offers almost none of that, and the near-silence is more than a little oppressive.
Let’s Get It Started!
Flash aside, the game is fairly fun and seems to promise a lot by means of CCG gaming. Three different events will be available to the player at anytime. These include a PVP session, a Co-Op challenge, and what was only detailed as “Get Rich Quicker” in the event menu. Unfortunately I was only able to experience Co-Op once. Due to a lack of a player community in it’s pre-release status, this and most of the other events were more or less unavailable to me. Thus I was stuck mostly experiencing the different playable classes in the Training module.
This bothered me a little because the training arena doesn’t actually (currently) train you on how to play the game. Fortunately, Fable Fortune plays so similarly to Hearthstone that I was a quick study, given that I put a decent amount of time into the latter back when it first debuted.
When you’re ready to play you must first pick your event and difficulty settings. After that, you pick your deck class. Those choices go as follows: Alchemist, Gravedigger, Knight, Merchant, Prophet, and Shapeshifter. I sampled all of them and I have to say that I was surprised to find Knight and Merchant to be among my favorites. Gravedigger came in at a close second, but she seems to have issues combatting the Guard mechanic, which is something a player can apply once per turn indefinitely in Fable Fortune.
Decks on Decks on Decks
One thing that intrigued me was the ability to craft cards. It seems that there are pre-set recipes to make better cards that players can then incorporate into custom decks for use. Sadly this was another aspect of the game that I wasn’t able to experience yet given its pre-release status, but I’m excited to see how players can manage this crafting system in the full release come July.
For anyone who wants to build their own deck, finding that the premade class decks are dissatisfying, that is an option. I, like most others I’m sure, prefer a custom deck over those given to you in the game for two reasons. One being the most obvious: it’s a CCG. Making your own deck is kind of the point. Second, it generally means that I have to take the time to best understand both my preferred playing style and the synergy between cards. This usually means I’m changing decks as I go to make tweaks. Fable Fortune makes this process easy and enjoyable. Since there isn’t a massive amount of cards at first, the player isn’t going to get overwhelmed. Players can pick and choose as they please without worrying about screwing their deck up too much during gameplay.
Packs can also be bought either with in-game currency (earned through plays and wins) or, of course, with cold hard cash. Packs are surprisingly pricey though, running at $9.99 for seven and increasing drastically from there. Still, if this is your preferred method of obtaining cards, the option is there.
Good Or Bad, Play To Win
One mechanic that intrigued me was the morale system that’s tied into Fable Fortune. I suppose this makes sense given how morality was such a core aspect of the original Fable series. It isn’t crucial here, but it certainly adds a small kick to gameplay if you like that kind of thing. Depending on your choice (which you can change each time the option comes up – a total of three per game) you are offered two varying one time morality choices. It will also change the appearance of your selected class icon over the course of that session.
The choice is yours and has no permanent effect on your game. Go for whatever option gives you the best chance of winning, but be careful! The in game timer doesn’t pause when the option pops up, so there isn’t a lot of time for you to digest your decision.
The overall effects aren’t going to grant you a win or cause a loss on their own however, so if you want to go back and forth to find that one option that just works better overall, don’t be afraid. It seems like it’s meant to be played with and changed frequently.
It’s How You Play Your Hand
All in all, Fable Fortune might be hard pressed to compete with other collectible card games. However, if you’re a Fable fan or a CCG fan and want something new to play, Fable Fortune looks as though it’s aiming to add some flavor to the genre at the very least. The game will be out this July. Hopefully we’ll be able to experience the full game by then.
The Steam tags state that it will be Free to Play. That means that, so far, the only costs accrued by players will seemingly be that of purchasing new card packs, which isn’t terrible. Hopefully Fable Fortune will flesh out into being a CCG worth it’s time. It’s already looking promising despite the hiccups.