Fable 2: Pub Games Review

Info

Gamble away your gold and time in the taverns of Albion. The Fable II Pub Games include three exciting casino-style games set in the world of Lionheads award-winning Fable series. The games include Fortunes Tower, Keystone, and Spinnerbox. When you get the retail version of Fable II, you can transfer gold and unique items that youve won in these pub games to your characters in the world of Albion.

No of Players: 1
Released:2008

Review August 2008 by Jamie Davies.

With Lionhead Studio’s launching Fable 2 later this year, Pub Games is a stand alone Live Arcade release of the games available in the taverns throughout the fantasy realm of Albion. Rather than being based on things like darts or skittles, Pub Games is all about table-top games of luck.

Each game requires the player to bet some of their money before playing and there are three different types; Tower, Keystone and Spinner.

Tower is card based, with the player being dealt lines of cards which increase in number from one to eight as they go. Each line is dealt one at a time and the idea is to hopefully avoid getting a card of the same number adjoining one in the next row. If this `Misfortune` happens it will end the game, unless the player is lucky enough to be dealt a Hero card in that row to save them, or the hidden card they were initially dealt is of a different number and can be used as a one-off substitute. After each successful row the player has to decide whether to cut and run with their gold or push on in a bid to get more.

Cornerstone involves a number of stones arranged in an arch, with the player being required to roll three dice to decide which stone is removed. Bets can be placed on which will be the crucial one that makes the arch collapse.

Spinner is the easiest of the three to get to grips with and uses a triangular board with a varying number of spinning discs. Rewards are handed out whenever combinations of matching images are obtained.

This is a rather simplistic run-down of the three and there are various intricacies involved with each. Naturally these invite the player to risk gambling more gold in the chance of obtaining a greater reward.

Each game is well crafted and thought out; the problem being that their dependence on pure luck means there is very little skill involved. There’s a simple enough reason for this – Pub Games allows the player to fold their characters winnings in to their character in the main game of Fable 2 when it’s released. In other words, any gold earned in Pub Games can then be spent in the world of Albion.

This luck emphasis is designed to prevent people Gold farming and starting the game with vast reserves of cash. However, taking the games outside of the main event of Fable 2 and leaving them as a stand alone release, means there’s very little to keep the player entertained for any real length of time. The lack of multiplayer also doesn’t help.

You could luck out and win a fortune but even then it’s incredibly easy to end up thousands of gold coins in the hole within the space of a few short games. Since you can just keep borrowing money from the house reserves indefinitely (the payback doesnt come until youre actually in-game in Fable 2) there’s very little to stop you just tossing away the character and starting a new one if they become too much of a debt-ridden liability. And there’s very little reason to fold your character in to the main game if they’re heavily in debt unless you have a penchant for debt collectors and broken knee caps. While the game does allow you to unlock certain Fable 2 items which you may be reluctant to loose, theres nothing to suggest that these are unique to Pub Games players and cant be bought elsewhere in the full retail release.

While Fable 2: Pub Games is a nice idea with some unique games, and there is no question that it’s an inventive use of the Live Arcade system, it offers fleeting entertainment. Because it’s intended as a small side dish to a bigger meal, unless you’re achievement crazy then there’s not enough to justify the asking price for something which will be included in the full title anyway.