Review: Knothole Island (Fable 2 DLC)

(today’s post: 599 words)

Knothole Island is a piece of DLC (downloadable content) for Fable 2. It costs a somewhat-steep 800 Microsoft points ($10.00 USD) for about one-to-three hours of content (I played from 7:15pm until 10:30pm).

Once you’ve downloaded the DLC, a man in a steampunk submarine shows up by the Bowerstone Market and asks you to come with him to snowy Knothole Island. The island’s chieftain wants you to go on a quest to recover an artifact to bring warmth to the land. First you find the key to the temple, then you meander through the temple until you find the artifact. Shortly after using the artifact, however, it’s so warm that all the water is drying up. To fight the drought, the chieftain sends you on a second quest to bring storms to the island. Another key and temple down, and the chieftain wants you to deal with unchecked flooding by returning things to the way they were at the start. That last step completed, the module wraps with you freely distributing the weather-controlling artifacts to the people or taking a bribe to give it to the chieftain alone.

The temples are small dungeons where you have to fight or puzzle (Fable 2 *reaction* puzzles where you attack the flying orb – not to be confused with *thinking* puzzles) your way through a series of doors until you get to the artifact. Anything else? You get some achievement points for completing the module. You also get some achievement points for finding all the books and picking up each of the items at the surprise shop.

Picking Fable 2 up again after a bit of a break was a little less than spectacular. For one, I’m reminded of how easy combat is. Target an opponent with your ranged weapon, focus on his head, and pull the trigger. Dozens of opponents are gone in seconds – even banshee battles end quickly. For a second, I’m reminded at how awful the bloom effect is. That’s a shame because the graphics are really good but there’s this soft blur/fog/glow lighting effect on everything that, for me, detracts from the visuals. For a third, if you play the DLC after beating Fable 2 then you’re not getting anything to help your character. Money? Already had 4 million. What’s a chest with an extra 2,000 coins? Property? I was already making over 14,000 every few minutes. Now it’s over 16,000. Experience? I already have all the abilities at maximum – and 1 or 2 million experience points that I can’t spend.

The island itself was a little lackluster, too. No memorable citizens about town. No new monsters. Nothing story related. No new side plots or new quest types. The only “new” was some different items and potions, clothing, and so forth. So it’s awful. Isn’t it? No. Not at all. The maps for the island and dungeons were put together well. There’s a lot of back-and-forth; areas you can’t get to when it’s icy open up when it’s dry. And? Well… uh… er… Fable 2 is still a great game. And there’s nothing wrong with jumping back in for a few more hours. Or drinking potions that drop you down to the size of a peasant. Though I think I would have been more excited, and satisfied, to start up a new game in Fable 2 and play away at that for a few hours.

All said, I don’t regret the download but I wish there had been some new gameplay mechanic or higher-level skills/opponents to make it more worthwhile. As is, it’s pretty forgetable. And that will leave me thinking twice about the next DLC – if there is anymore on the horizon.

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