Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Traitor's Keep DLC - Review.

The new DLC is out today and with a quick blast through it, Brennon The Bard of Westcliff's very own Bloody Stump has decided to give you a run down of what you can expect from the pretty damn good new piece of work Lionhead has sent out to us.

As is well known to a lot of you fans of Fable III the DLC starts with your hero threatened with assassination by an unknown assailant. With a very cool intro cinematic an assassin breaches your throne room and attacks you from the rafters. After a short fight ensues where he reveals his intentions (like every good bad guy) you are alerted to the presence of a ship on the horizon. Little do you know how deep the rabbit hole goes as the captain of the guard at Ravenscar reveals that the prison is in tatters and you, the King or Queen have to go and sort out the mess.

From this point on I will be pretty much spoiler free as I think with this DLC in particular you need to not know the rest of the story before you dive in. This is my first point indecently. The story woven into the adventure in this DLC is absolutely fantastically done. It does everything that Lionhead does well. It makes you sad, it makes you laugh, it makes you really think about what your doing and the characters your interacting with. That is all without the twist in the ending, and the final encounters with the 'traitors' of Albion which are all something to behold.

The second big draw to this DLC is the islands you visit themselves. Ravenscar, much like Bargate Prison from the first game is a hell hole filled with the unlucky and the degenerate of society. From fighting through its murky sewer depths, to the Alcatraz style interiors of the upper floors, and even the surrounding grounds itself Ravenscar oozes with character and a darkness that fits in well with the Albion you have created. The devil, as always, is in the detail and there has been no expense spared as you rummage through hidden passageways, dive into pools of water and search through atmospheric graveyards to find all the little secrets that Lionhead has tucked away in the islands depths.

The first island you visit after Ravenscar is Clockwork Island. Home to a 'mad' inventor the island was once a themepark the likes of which Albion had never seen before. With his innovative and witty 'Albion of the Future' attraction Faraday bought in crowds from all over the world and once again Lionhead delivers with this fantastically realised and mournful island. Unlike Ravenscar with its thick stone walls and grim exterior and interior Clockwork Island is filled with colour and a deep sadness throughout it. This contrast highlights the fall of the island and its inventor and as you walk through the grounds looking around the environment brings the story to life. This steampunk-esque vision of Albion is simply breathtaking and hopefully a direction that it will continue in as time goes by.

The last island is The Godwin Estate. Here we have not only a nod to a potential village from Fable II but also the Fable of old. Looking almost like Darkwood from the first Fable, mixed with the fog and shadows of the drowned village of Oakvale atmosphere hangs in the air like a heavy weight and you find yourself cautiously picking your way through the brambles and gravestones before entering the house itself and feeling like you have found the Gray Mansion all over again. Again, the devil is in the details and there is much to see as you wander around the island of the dead and the howlers.

In terms of enemies in the new DLC, the screenshots have shown many of them. We have seen the clockwork enemies of Faraday's island which are innovative and interesting to fight. Explosives robot dogs, massive hulking robot bodyguards and cleaner 'droids' are all intent on ending your life. Added to these are the monsters of Godwin Estate. New Balverines to fight, interesting takes on Hollowmen and a very 'funky' shall we say new Hobbe variant to fight. You certainly will be hitting all the triggers and buttons in this DLC.

Traitor's Keep continues in the vein of many other Lionhead DLC's of the past. It is witty, charming, frightening, morally angled with tough decisions and implications as well as top notch voice acting and general presence over all. The humour is fantastic, and kept to well timed one liners and little easter eggs around the island as to not take away from the over all ending of the story. It's pacing is brilliant and for the points your spending the islands are massive...on par with places like Knothole Isle in their grandeur. By the time you have fought the final traitor you will have found yourself immersed back into the world of Albion...and that can only be a good thing.

Added to all its wit and charm are a lovely set of fantastic clothing (the sand fury set is my favourite), plenty of dig spots and treasure chests and who knows what else hidden away in the locked doors and hidden areas I haven't looked at yet at the time of writing this. If your a fan of the dressing up game in Fable III then you will not be disappointed.

If you were in any doubt about buying the DLC package I would not hesitate. If you are a lover of Albion and want to get back into the world then this DLC will plunge you in at the deep end. Even once the main quest is done there are a smattering of side quests and even more collection to be had...all adding to the depth of the narrative the developers are weaving with this pack. I urge you to give it a go, neigh TELL you to have a go and find out all the secrets Traitor's Keep has to offer.

1 comment:

  1. Bought it yesterday. It was so much better than the first one(which me thinks was locked on the disc; 240mb in a second? don't think so). Would have loved Faraday's tesla armour even if it didn't shoot rockets! Hope there's more like it to come.