Fable III: Traitor's Keep Xbox 360 Review

Author: Lydia Sung
Editor: Howard Ha
Publish Date: Thursday, March 3rd, 2011
Originally Published on Neoseeker (http://www.neoseeker.com)
Article Link: http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Games/Reviews/fable3_traitors_keep/
Copyright Neo Era Media, Inc. - please do not redistribute or use for commercial purposes.

While there are certainly a great number of folks out there who purchase downloadable content without much thought, many Fable fans have since grown wary of Lionhead Studios' DLC, which have developed a reputation of being tragically short on content.  And this excludes the ever expanding collection of costumes, dog breeds, and as of Fable III, dyes.

All that changes with the latest quest pack, Traitor's Keep, released only yesterday to Xbox LIVE.  Priced at the Fable standard of 560 Microsoft Points ($7) the newest add-on is unlike any we've seen for Fable since The Lost Chapters expansion, starting with the surprisingly large file size – just under 816 MB and over three times the size of the Understone Quest Pack.

The new pack does include a number of costumes for both guys and gals, plus an amusing Clockwork potion that turns your loyal companion – the dog, not Jasper – into a whimsical robot. The real highlights of this quest pack, however, are the new locations and a story that’s actually relevant to the main plot.

Traitor’s Keep picks up where the base game left off, with your Hero as the ruler of Albion. Purchasing the DLC activates a quest in Bowerstone Castle, and the breadcrumb trail leads back to your treasury, where Hobson has magically reappeared. After a humorous cutscene and an unsuccessful attempt on your Hero’s life, you learn that not all is well in the kingdom, even after the excessive good you’ve presumably done. Seems another revolution had been brewing even before you took to the throne, led by an unknown faction of dissentients. 

Shortly after, Logan’s elite guards show up under the leadership of a Commander Milton, who reveals the existence of a secret prison called “Ravenscar Keep,” which both the Hero of Bowerstone and King Logan made liberal use of during their respective reigns. Milton explains that the assassin was likely sent by General Turner, an ex-military man with a major axe to grind, but when you arrive at Ravescar to investigate, chaos ensues. Oh, look, a prisoner uprising! Fun times ahead, am I right?

Even with all the elite guards running around, it’s up to the Hero King/Queen to fix everyone’s mess, which in this case involves tracking down dangerous convicts now scattered across three islands, including Ravenscar Keep. In addition to the charismatic general, two other brilliant minds imprisoned at the Keep require special attention, having fled off-island to their own remote sanctuaries: Clockwork Island and the Godwin Estate. The main quest will send you to these new locations in preset order, though each has its own collection of sidequests that can be tackled during or after the pressing task at hand. 

Each island boasts a unique design, with plenty of treasures hidden in various nooks and crannies (i.e. dank sewers and dark alleys). The Keep itself is every bit as eerie as you might expect from an Industrial Age prison, complete with lower level psych wards and an electroshock therapy room. Clockwork Island is home to Professor Faraday and feels like a humorous adaptation of Disneyland with an industrial flair, substituting cartoon animals with steampunk robots. The Godwin Estate is where you’ll find Mary Godwin’s laboratory and takes a more gothic route by dropping a mansion at the top of a hill, then surrounding it with crypts, caves, and a menagerie of odd creatures. 

All the while, Milton follows your Hero around like Walter once had, providing commentary for every situation you wind up in. If you find the plot too straightforward, rest assured that the end takes several sharp turns. As always, collectible journals spread across the new environments offer supplementary reading and insight into the troubled minds of these individuals. It becomes obvious very quickly that Lionhead chose a darker course for Traitor’s Keep, but worry not, because you’ll still find that silly Fable humor all around, even a reference to the happenings at Bargate Prison.

My only real complaint is the lack of recurring characters; revisiting your brother’s tyranny would have been the perfect opportunity for Logan to make an appearance, and mention of familiar names like Swift and Beck only make me wonder why the developers couldn’t have worked Ben Finn back in as a temporary sidekick. A lesser complaint is that the prison suffers from an awful case of pop-in textures, where the floor and walls can take several seconds to load. It certainly isn’t game-breaking, as I haven’t plummeted through the ground or up into the skies yet, but the absence of solid surfaces is massively distracting.

I can’t exactly go into too much detail regarding the content without stepping into the realm of spoilers, but suffice to say, Traitor’s Keep is worth every point spent. The new locales are inspiring to look at and a pleasure to explore, inciting an excitement that you won’t have felt since you started Fable III. And unlike Understone, you will probably find yourself paying regular visits to Ravenscar even after the main plotline is completed.

»Neoseeker.com

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