Fable 2 Knothole Island DLC Review

Fable 2 Knothole Island DLC Review by Fincheyboy

A means to enact our own will upon the outcome of a game. That is what we as gamers were effectively promised by Peter Molyneux before the release of Fable II. As great a game as Fable II is, it is debatable whether his team really achieved this. While the crisp, colourful, slightly cartoon-styled graphics of the game set a humorous tone for the game, its story was an epic tale of a boy (or girl)’s quest for revenge. At the time of release, way back in October, Fable II brought its refreshing formula back to the stage, and once again gave gamers the opportunity to have them hailed as a heart-warming hero, or feared as a terrifying tyrant. Three months down the line, the game, which was once cemented firmly in our disk trays (and in some cases the cause of a major malfunction), is now buried at the bottom of old-games mountain, trapped in played/finished purgatory, if you will. Is the newly released Downloadable Content, Knothole Island, a reason to rescue Fable II from such an inconsequential fate? Well, the answer is yes…for a while.

Reopening the metaphorical old tome of a case and dusting off the ol’ girl, I slide Fable II into the disk drawer and after applying the recent patch and being greeted with a hefty sum of money, reflecting the time I’d spent away, a small, unassuming notification alerted me to the fact that I had a new quest: Knothole Island’s Big Freeze. Brushing with renewed excitement for the game, I hurry to the quest area. After all, I can’t let the people of Knothole freeze, can I?

Dashing to Bowerstone’s river, expecting to see a ship of great grandeur to sail me away to distant, faraway lands, I am slightly disconcerted with the presence of a submarine that wouldn’t look out of place in the Bowerstone Inn, where my girl made her millions all those months ago. But enough of the story, I don’t want to give the game away. (Or deprive Lionhead and Microsoft of the millions that they will make from this just-over-500MB download, regardless of its gameplay value.)

The first visuals of Knothole Island you are met with would have been much better appreciated were the game released for its original intended release date. They are, to say the least, festive. With Christmas long gone, the content has missed its mark with the festive aspect. The graphical styling is snowy and wintry as you look out over a sigh-inducing frozen lake ripped directly from every film with winter as a theme.

Embarking on your first quest, as set by the snooty chieftain of Knothole Island, you engage in some relatively easy fighting, flit-switching and it is soon realised that the expansion is about the extremes of nature and the elements, as after the first stage of the quest is completed, Knothole Island becomes a heat-stricken, arid environment complete with a convincing heat wave. It is important to note here that the dog was used to dig up a key in one part of the quest, so I was left to wonder what would have happened if I had chosen one of the other two options at the end of the previous storyline.

The missions, although new and different to the ones featured in the retail game, are nothing to write home about and the rewards offered are rather pitiful compared to the dizzying heights of Castle Fairfax achieved by many players.
The varied types of achievements, which in the retail game were extremely entertaining to attain and proved a challenge for more than a few gamers, have not made it through to Knothole Island, in which the achievements are fairly mundane, offering only 100GS for their completion.

Annoyances such as a lack of a map on the start menu, having to leave the island to receive the detail for the next quest and the throwaway littering of treasure and dig spots (which devalue the bounty they bring) restrain this add-on from being as great as it could have been. But aside from these small and ineffectual niggles, the content will give a few extra hours of gameplay and add some story background for fans. If this were a retail game, it would definitely be a rental, but as Downloadable Content I would say it is worth it if you are looking for a reason to break out Fable II for a last hurrah, but if you are looking for a long and enduring few weeks of play then you would have to look elsewhere. A further deterrent from the purchase of the content is its price, which in at least one humble gamers’ opinion has been set more than a little too steep. At 400 MS points, this would have been a steal, but the 800 points mark detracts from its value.

– Varied Environments
– More Fable II
– There’s practically a yellow submarine

– Relatively high price
– Short Lifespan
– Appears rushed with an array of minor niggles.

Score: 61%

Sam Finch

Sam has been unable to peel his bloodshot eyes and RSI-ridden wrists from the world of gaming since he was first introduced to it, like all good junkies, by his Grandad. From those early days of MegaDrive sweetness, bashing through the throngs of enemies on Shining Force II, his love of all things games has extended upwards and outwards onto a variety of platforms. You can either believe that spiel, or get the real scoop and know that his spaceship actually crashed here some years ago and he is currently incognito as a games writer for Console Monster.

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