Recently two pieces of downloadable content have been placed on Xbox Live Marketplace for the big selling title Fable 2. One is priced at 800 Microsoft points (around $10) and the other is free. Both of these are titled Knothole Island, are listed as a game addon and weigh in at 531mb each which could be confusing for many people. We spent some time with both and have detailed exactly what you get.
The free download is rather disappointing as it is a mixture of small items to basically peak your interest into downloading the full package for 800 points. You aren’t able for instance to access Knothole Island and initiate the campaigns and quests even though it is strangely named “Knothole Island”. Even more confusingly you do have to download the free pack if you wish to play Fable II co-op with anyone else who has downloaded either of the packs. To play cooperatively through the Knothole Island quests both players must have purchased the 800 point Microsoft pack.
The items that are supplied with the free download bundle are Solar Shielding Spectacles, Knothole Island Vol 1, Knothole Knight Boots, Assassin Gloves and Burned Calorie Potion. This is really a taster pack for the paid for Knothole Island premium bundle.
The premium version is obviously the more interesting pack and after installation you will find a new quest has been automatically added to your book. Travelling to Bowerstone Market and then heading down to the river’s edge under the bridge, means you will meet up with Gordon who then takes you to the new island. The weather in Knothole Island is very hostile and the beautiful landscape has been transformed into a icy, barren wasteland. Gordon has been looking for a hero on the mainland to save the land from frozen doom.
Once you reach Knothole Island there are three primary objectives to complete which is signified by the three new achievements once the download completes. These three achievements award 100 points, bringing the total number of points that Fable 2 offers to 1,100.
Here are the new missions:
The Collector – 25 points: Collect all of the mystery items in the Box Of Secrets shop, or talk to another Hero to do so.
The Bibliophile – 25 points: Find all of the books which depict the history of Knothole Island, or help another Hero to do so for you.
The Meteorologist – 50 points: Get all of Knothole Island’s weather issues under control, or help another hero to do so.
Obviously the last mission listed here is the main one for the new island. Things get interesting when the game throws other weather elements at you caused by your character adjusting the weather too far in another direction. This means you have to deal with a drought and a storm, which is a nice touch to extend and expand upon the primary goal. Every time you complete one of these objectives, you witness some drastic weather changes. These dramatic alterations to the weather system mean that previously locked areas become unlocked, giving you access to new parts of the environment.
The stores on Knothole Island also continually improve their stock as the game progresses through the main story line. You get access to new potions to alter your body weight as well as your height and muscular tone. There are also new weapon augmentations which can be purchased and a tool also becomes available to remove any existing augments you no longer wish to keep. There is even a skin based potion which lets you remove war scars – which is a pretty cool option.
Of special mention is the Box of Secrets shop which has a plethora of presents laid out laid out on a series of tables and more appear as you progress through the Meteorologist set of missions. These can be traded for with items in your inventory and some of them are inventive and creative. Unfortunately some of them also require you to have some rather specialist items in your backpack. If you manage to wangle all of the presents from the shop then you get one of three new achievements.
The final achievement is basically a simple fetch quest – your task is to find a series of 10 glowing books throughout Knothole Island. This really doesn’t bear much analysis as it is rather straightforward, but for the achievement junkies out there it is a nice addition.
Knothole Island is a great download and I had a lot of fun across a few days finding as many items as I could and completing the new quests which are varied and entertaining. The only issue I can forsee is the rather steep asking price. To be fair however there has been a lot of thought and development time creating the 3 quests and all the subtexts and I had a blast playing with the new options to allow for character adjustments. The tongue in cheek setting that Lionhead Studios achieved with the main game has carried over into this expansion pack perfectly. Is it worth the money? well if you judge the $10 against any other form of entertainment that would last several days then this ends up pretty good value.