After beating the crap out of the original game, and doing every minute detail I could take my Champion Hammer to, I was rather excited about the new DLC, Understone Quest Pack.
Although I am a huge fan-girl, Fable 3 didn’t really get me as excited and immersed as the previous two titles did. Saying this, I still threw myself into it as much as I could, and came out the other end slightly disappointed but still got my Fable fix for the time being. When told there would be DLC for the game, I wasn’t exactly shocked. The storyline didn’t take very long in the main game, and it seemed lacking in special features, so DLC felt like a very welcome prospect, if not a slightly obvious move to take.
The Understone pack took no time at all to download, as it is rather a small addition, so I set to work on the quests. There wasn’t much to choose from when entering my game. Please note from hereon this is pretty much a spoiler zone as I can talk for hours about Fable.
I decided to head straight for what seemed the smallest quest on the list, being only 5 experience points as a reward. You head to the Mercenary Camp, where previously you have only had one main mission in the storyline. They have opened the area up as a visiting spot for travellers, but there is nothing to report in the way of purchasing new shops, items or real estate. My favourite experience while entering this location was the close-up image of a male whore’s banana hammock. After meeting him, I found out his name was Lenny, and had a very lovely moustache. As you make your way up through the camp you find they have opened a shooting range, similar to that in Fable 2. The idea is straightforward; shoot as much as you can in the allocated time and score points as you go. Headshots are worth considerably more, and after a bit of practice you can win one of two guns: The Money Shot (which gives you gil when you kill something), and the Black Dragon, which is supposed to be scary or something to that effect.
While visiting the sanctuary, where my John Cleese cameo butler is still mute, I noticed I had presents. Not too unusual I know, but these were from Lionhead, which were I suspect to say thank you for the purchase of the download. These packages included The Full Monty, and the Marksman 500 guns. Very nice indeed, although I will stick with my fully upgraded rifle.
I then went for the quest of revisiting Reaver’s manor, to play with his Wheel of Misfortune again. This time round you are on your own, not that Page really did much good previously. This did not take much to overthrow, and again with a high score comes prizes. For 75000 points you can win Dead Ned’s Revolver (cough*Red Dead*cough), and for 90000 you get Dirty Harriet. I beat the top score by an awful lot, and I cant say it was that hard either…
Onwards now to the main point of the download, and the namesake, Understone. This comes in the form of a quest called The Voice, in which a factory owner believes his establishment is haunted due to weird announcements being heard. Taking to the cellar, you set off through yet more caves, as if there weren’t enough to visit in the main game, and fight your way through various corpse enemies. Throughout your journey you hear a voice over a tannoy system. This was reminiscent of my time down in Rapture during the Bioshock series, in which Andrew Ryan spouts propaganda slogans at the residents, or that of the Vaults in Fallout. As you get to the end of the tunnel you find a village, hidden deep underground. The inhabitants have grown up here, never seeing the light of day, as fear mongering messages about the outside world are issued to their ears. You learn the town is controlled by one crazy dude in a big house, so after fighting yet more foes to reach him, you enter his domain. After a cut-scene you have the choice to either release the town, or keep them as a working machine. Playing as a nice guy, it is obvious what my answer was. A tunnel opens, which looks distinctly like a vault door (again playing on Fallout), and the people are allowed to wander in and out of the town as they please…
… and that’s it. That is the whole download complete. Sure you can go back to Understone, buy the houses and three stalls that materialize, and sure it’s a pretty village (if you save them), but this isn’t really anything special. The only thing fascinating about the new location is the house called The Sandgoose Museum. Its set out as a pie shop, with a barber’s shop upstairs… sound familiar? It took me an hour, from the time I announced I was playing it on Twitter, to the time I declared the DLC finished. There are no new achievements to go after, and there is no advancement to the storyline. After the kick in the teeth, which was the lack of hints towards Theresa and the Spire, I would have thought something would have been included.
I am disappointed; it’s as simple as that. We have a lovely new town to look at for all of five minutes, and some new people to massacre, and that sums it up. For 400msp this is lacking in content, and took a lot less time than the DLCs we grew used to in Fable 2. I’m still not entirely sure why this couldn’t have just been in the game to begin with. The whole game, for me, has never been quite up to standard, and this is much of the same. I still enjoy the idea, but the love just wasn’t in it from Lionhead’s side.