Knothole Island

The Knothole Island downloadable content expansion for Fable 2 on the XBOX 360 released today.  This is the first additional content available for Fable 2.

Knothole Island contains one new region for Fable 2 expanding the game from thirteen to fourteen regions.  The region contains three new quests and many new items for the player to collect.  Knothole Island does not contain any additional gargoyles or silver keys but it does have its own collectable item, Knothole Island History books of which there are ten to find throughout the region.  Knothole Island also adds one hundred additional achievement points bringing the game total to eleven hundred.  The additional achievement points come in the form of three distinct achievements: fifty points for completing all three Knothole Island themed quests, twenty-five for collecting all ten books and twenty-five for obtaining all of the curiosities in the specialty shop in town.  The village of Knothole Island also has several additional houses and shops in which you are free to invest as well.

I began playing Knothole Island almost as soon as the download became available.  The additional content took me approximately two and a half hours to complete so the size is rather disappointing for the ten dollar price of admission, but for desperate Fable fans it is a highly anticipated addition.

Knothole Island is definitely a beautiful addition to the world of Albion.  My favourite feature of the new content is the innovative weather control system at the center of the plot driving the new quests.  The addition of the weather patterns adds a unique way of expanding the layout of the single region to feel larger.  It also adds more “scenery” than you would normally experience in the single region.  Exploring the Knothole Island region under drought, flood and freezing conditions is very interesting and extremely well done.  The planning that went into the layout of the region is quite impressive.

Each Knothole Island quest involves its own unique dungeon.  The dungeons are not really as impressive as many of the dungeons in the core Fable 2 quests.  The overuse of the lock-disc mechanism as the key to forward momentum at almost every moment within the dungeons is frustrating and boring.  Some additional variety would have been nice.  Some of the lock-disc tasks are extremely simple to figure out but difficult to execute.  Not a fun combination.

Overall the new content is enjoyable and a nice addition to the existing content.  I feel that the new content will work best for players who have not yet completed the main quest in Fable 2 or for players who have not yet started playing Fable 2.  Having the additional content mixed in with the rest of the game would make for a nice break from the rest of the game from time to time and give the player time to make use of the additional items that are only available in Knothole Island.

Playing these quests after having completing Fable 2, though, makes them extremely easy.  The new plot and content does not feel connected to the rest of Albion and almost feels as if you have left the game to go into a separate mini-game somewhere.  This effect is magnified by playing all of Knothole Island at one time without mixing it into the rest of the content.

Knothole Island contains some neat innovations, beautiful scenery and some interesting new content.  The downsides are that it is short, some of the dungeons are tedious and the integration into the Fable 2 universe is not as good as it might have been.  Serious Fable 2 fans definitley want to partake of the content but more casual players may want to save their money until Knothole Island is made part of the standard content (similar to Fable: The Lost Chapters) as it is bound to do in the future.

I am looking forward to additional downloadable content from Lionhead Studios for Fable II.  I really hope that future content will involve expansions to the main storyline or an intersting arc that expands the known Albion regions.

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