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Review: Fable II Pub Games - Xbox 360

by Steven Williamson on 27 August 2008, 13:32

Tags: Xbox 360, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Xbox 360, Puzzle

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Ye Olde Pub games for the Fable II masses

I don’t know what exactly I was expecting when I downloaded Fable II Pub Games on the Xbox live arcade, but it certainly wasn’t what I got, far from it.

The fact that the name of the sequel to the quite brilliant role-playing game, Fable II, is used in the game’s title insinuates that it may possess some of the qualities of the Fable franchise, perhaps offering a glimpse at the town of Albion, or an insight into some of the colourful characters that we can expect to meet when the proper game arrives this October. At the very least it should offer a smidgen of the personality of the Fable series.

Unfortunately, the only way of knowing that Fable II Pub Games is related to Lionhead Studio’s fantasy creation is solely because its name is (mis)used in the title.

Okay, so you are treated to some of the haunting melodies and background chatter that you’d associate with visiting a quaint inn in the likes of Bowness, but that is about as close as you get to feeling the atmosphere that was so expertly created in the original Fable world. Other than that, you’d be forgiven for thinking that a newly-formed third party developer had haphazardly released a half-arsed, inexplicably poor attempt at a set of gambling mini-games.

Fable II Pub Games is all about the money, quite literally. You start of your Fable II experience by wasting your money buying it (unless you pre-order that is, in which case you get it free), and then you gamble money in-game on a variety of pub games. The lure of winning bags full of gold is that you can bring your earnings across to your character when the proper Fable II game launches. Way to sell a few copies, eh?

Lionhead Studios isn’t entirely to blame for this uninspiring Xbox live arcade game, though it did apparently oversee Carbonated Games during the development cycle. The developer behind Fable II Pub Games is the team who created addictive titles such as HEXIC HD and the great multiplayer title UNO, so surely they come up with something better than a card game, roulette/craps and a fruit machine simulator, right. Not only did they not do that, but unforgivably, they didn’t even bother to add online or multiplayer functionality!

What I did expect was an exciting, stimulating game, something that would really get me in the mood for the upcoming sequel. Disappointingly though, the three games on offer are monotonous at best. Whether it be in a modern day pub, with the likes of pool or darts, or Ye Olde Inn, playing games such as ‘Push Penny’, any pub game that you play in the real world requires a certain degree of skill to play it well.

Sadly, the only skill that you need to play Fable II Pub Games, is patience...

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