As a child I was crazy about videogames, I spent all my free time playing Fable, Fable 2… Fable 3… OK, I was a huge nerd for the franchise. It wasn’t […]
As a child I was crazy about videogames, I spent all my free time playing Fable, Fable 2… Fable 3… OK, I was a huge nerd for the franchise. It wasn’t until I grew up that I saw all the negative reviews revolving around Fable 3 specifically which persuaded me to play the game once again at the age of 18 – was the game as captivating as I remembered it being?
No. But the DLC was.
Fable 3 itself was a decent game, I did enjoy playing it, although I felt as though it lacked something the previous two games had – maybe it was because I was a child playing through the game originally but I never noticed how easy the quests were, I don’t think I was knocked out once the entire time and, if you want to save Albion as well as its people, all you need to do for the good ending is buy every property and rent them out (which, whilst tedious, is relatively simple). I found myself wanting more from the game, and that’s when I discovered the Traitor’s Keep DLC.
The DLC takes place after the hero saves, or fails to save, Albion from the terror caused by The Crawler; beginning in Bowerstone Castle’s royal treasury, you must speak to Hobson about the daily royal agenda.
The next cutscene entails a lot of action. Bored by Hobson’s rambling, we see our hero falling asleep on the throne all whilst a deadly unnamed assassin sneaks into the castle, killing 5 royal guards along the way. Once in the throne room, the assassin attempts to kill the hero which then breaks out into a huge dual. 5 minutes into the DLC I already felt challenged, for the first time in Fable 3 I was knocked down, not just once but twice and this was just what looked like, a pesky bandit – although, you could argue that I was not expecting the sudden change in difficulty whatsoever. Hobson cowers behind the throne, whilst the few guards in the room quickly come to your protection but die with one slash of the assassin’s blade. After a truly hard battle, a guard runs into the throne room and alerts the hero about an enemy ship parking at the Bowerstone Docks.
Upon the hero’s arrival, 6 elite guards come out of the ship and stand to attention and the Commander, Commander Milton, draws his sword and bows down to the King/Queen. During a conversation about the identity of the assassin and his purpose in killing you, we find out that Logan kept yet another dark secret that would, once again, almost kill the hero – a keep, or secure prison, for “traitor’s” (Logan’s enemies) in a village named Ravenscar. The hero then agrees to go with the Commander in attempt to stop whatever havoc is taking place there.
Once in Ravenscar, the player is given a proper introduction to General Turner – the ex-soldier, and leader of Logan’s armies, who is responsible for the assassination attempt. However, we are quick to find out that during the Commander’s absence, the prisoners have started a riot – he soon realises that the assassination was an attempt to lure him away from the Keep so that General Turner’s true plan can commence. All main entries to the prison have been blocked off by the rioters but the sewer remains vacant; Milton takes you into the prison through the sewage passage and discovers that the prisoners have begun to attack the guards working there. Milton and the player will have to defeat the prisoners, who have a similar skill level to the common bandit, in order to reach the cells of the three most notorious, and dangerous, prisoners in the Keep: Professor Faraday, Mary Godwin (aka Witchcraft Mary) and, of course, General Turner. It is soon revealed that Milton’s absence as well as the riots allowed Turner to escape – it is now the hero’s mission to find these 3 inmates and return them to Ravenscar.
Hobson, who offers to gather more information on the three escaped inmates discovers that Faraday was responsible for the technological advances in Albion but lost all his assets after being imprisoned. He owns a tourist attraction by the name of Clockwork Island – Milton suggests that it was once a bright, happy island that made children’s dreams come true and after seeing the destruction both Reaver and Logan caused the attraction, its likely that as the player you already begin to feel for Faraday. When Milton and the hero arrived at the island they are greeted by a friendly robot by the name of Huxley, although, a vengeful Faraday quickly becomes aware of their presence and the robots become hostile.
At this moment I was really impressed with the DLC, the bigger challenge had been impressive enough, but I hadn’t seen anything like Faraday’s inventions before, in fact I believe the same set of enemies have been recycled in every addition to the franchise and so it was refreshing to finally come up against a different type of opponent, and a lot stronger one at that. At that point I had almost died several times as well as used up a few health potions I had saved from the main quest, which, again, proves that this DLC seemed to have something that the main story lacked… difficulty!
Once we reach Faraday, he admits that Logan tried to force him into leaving Clockwork Island and creating a robotic army to which he refuses and as a result gets sent to Ravenscar to be imprisoned – I spent the time collecting the diary entries left by Faraday and my heart broke for him. I don’t tend to really empathise with characters that have such a small presence, but his story genuinely made me feel sorry for him despite him… you know… actively trying to kill me. We learn that Faraday was a successful inventor, making families happy on the island in which he created for them – he learns that King Logan wishes to speak with him and is optimistic in what he could want to discuss, whether that be the happiness he has spread throughout Logan’s kingdom or how great his creations are but instead was met with great disappointment. Logan wanted Faraday to create an army for him, to which he refused after stating that it goes against his belief – his robots were created with the intention to make people happy and bring peace to the world, not to cause harm. As a result of his decision, Faraday was sent to a violent keep and had his most prized possession stripped away from him: his creations.
Since Faraday’s first thoughts upon the hero’s arrival is that they want to misuse his creations just like their brother did, he becomes hostile, and a huge fight unleashes. My initial thoughts centred around just how cool Faraday looked, he had a robotic suit like his creations in which had the appearance of an old diving suit. It was very futuristic looking for a Fable game but really bought a fresh feel to the franchise; it really didn’t feel like I was playing Fable 3 at all but in the best way possible. The suit gave Faraday the ability to fly, super-strength and both lighting and fire powers – all of which making him a terrifying opponent, compared to the final boss fight against a possessed Walter in the main quest, this actually felt incredibly challenging.
The player is then given the choice to save Faraday or kill him upon his defeat – if you save him, Faraday is returned to the Keep but shortly released after his injuries have been treated, we can only imagine Faraday gets his island back and continues to invent creations (or so I hope).
On our return to the Keep, Hobson shares his findings regarding Witchcraft Mary. Mary was from a rich family but took great interest in alchemy, she soon began to experiment but was quickly accused of witchery and sent to Ravenscar. From the information gathered, Hobson was able to point the hero and Milton to Mary’s potential location – her family home, Godwin Estate.
A small detail I found exciting is the zoo in which is briefly spoken about within the Godwin Estate, the animals kept there are unique to the Godwin Estate as they, most likely, are Mary’s experiments. Within the zoo is said to be “corpse moths, celibate rabbits, predator squirrel, calmer chameleons, invisible chickens, a topiary swan, a Deepwood Devil Hamster, Shapeshifting Giraffes, and Northern Combustible Monkeys” – although only few can be seen. Why might you ask? The monkeys combust upon the sight of strangers, the chickens are invisible, and the shape-shifting giraffes have been said to have taken on the form of a clock and a coat rack during your appearance. Absolutely hilarious writing.
Upon our arrival, we are quickly faced against balverines in which have been kept as pets by the Godwin’s. As we progress through the estate, we are introduced to a familiar enemy – hollowmen. However, these aren’t regular hollowmen, these are hollowmen that have been experimented on by Mary making them a much larger threat to us; they can only be defeated when in light and have fire powers, as opposed to the usual lighting. Even having that small twist on a traditional enemy made it so much more exciting, I had been fighting the same hollowman for years and with those few advancements, it felt like I was experiencing a whole new game – its something I loved so much that I wished they incorporated such changes to the main game.
We soon reach a tunnel in which we are met with more of Mary’s experiments – coloured Hobbes. These I found really cool, in order to defeat them you must do damage to them but instead of dying, they begin to multiply into smaller Hobbes. At this point I was excited, wondering what weird and wonderful creation was I going to discover next?
Once again, through Mary’s diary entries found within the Godwin Estate, I was able to understand her character a lot better as well as feel for her. Mary was a kind soul, fascinated by nature and saw the beauty and purity within even the evil of Albion. She believed that the creatures of Albion such as Hollowmen and Balverines were just misunderstood – she loved the monsters in which she experimented on and wanted to avenge the cruelty that humanity inflicted upon them. In other words, another warm-hearted person falsely imprisoned under Logan’s reign.
We then reach a chamber-like room in which the balverines had been experimented on, this was by far my favourite adaption of any enemy within the entire DLC – poisonous balverines. These were incredibly strong and if you allowed them to hit you the camera would shake, your vision, as well as the audio, becomes distorted; it was an incredibly eerie atmosphere this combination of things created.
After the fight with the balverines, we finally find Mary. We watch as she performs her final experiment – using a shock machine, she collects the essence of a Hobbe, Hollowman and Balverine, creating a potion to be the embodiment of all three of those creatures combined. During the battle with Mary, she first transforms into a fire powered hollowman, one which you can only defeat in light – an army of hollowmen will also arrive to help her defeat you. Once defeated, she then transforms into a coloured Hobbe, again, with an army of Hobbes to help kill the hero. Upon her final transformation, she becomes a poisonous Balverine, these being the most dangerous enemy by far with their strength and huge amounts of health and mobility. Once Mary is defeated, she explains that she wanted to become one of the creatures she found so beautiful and escape from the cruel humanity she was born into – you are once again faced with the decision of whether to kill or spare Mary, if you save her, she will be taken to a facility in which helps her with her mentality.
We then return to Ravenscar in hopes that Hobson has found some information regarding Turner’s whereabouts, only to find Milton knocked out in the study – no sign of Hobson. We soon discover that Turner never left the Keep and instead hid within the secret passageways of the prison. According to Milton, Turner ambushed him within the study and kidnapped Hobson as means to bait the hero into his trap. We are led down the secret passageway that holds the criminally insane of the prison in attempts to save Hobson and stop Turner, however, the doors keeping these madmen locked away are opened and the player must defeat these enemies before doing so. Milton is injured and orders the hero to continue the fight without him – the hero continues their quest and we soon find Hobson in the electrical torture device introduced to us by Milton earlier in the DLC. The King/Queen begins to free Hobson whilst Hobson frantically tells us the truth about what’s really happening at Ravenscar’s Keep; there was never a third escapee prisoner, this was a part of Milton’s scheme the entire time.
Major plot twist!
At this point, I was utterly shocked. This was one of few times a game has surprised me… usually, I’m great at predicting this kind of thing but I was taken back this time. All I could think was “WHAT?? MILTON IS THE VILLAIN??” – in fact, that’s exactly what’s in my notes whilst I was playing through the DLC.
Before the hero gets a chance to react Milton appears, flipping the switch that turns on the device which, of course, knocks the hero out. When we awake, we, like Hobson, are now stuck within one of the three electrical torture devices, giving Milton the chance to explain his story. During Turner’s stay at the Keep, Milton and he bonded – he began to understand his anti-monarchy ideology as well as the idea that a government should have rule over Albion instead. He believed in Turner so much in fact that 6 months after his death, Milton decided he would carry out Turner’s schemes – which were exactly this.
And if that plot twist wasn’t enough for you, here is an even greater one.
Milton then reveals that the device in which the hero is strapped into is a creation by none other than Witchcraft Mary, who used it to capture the essence of the three creatures. Milton uses this on the hero and begins to drain the hero of their essence, the power in which what makes our hero THE hero of Albion – like Mary, Milton turns the essence into a potion and drinks it. We then watch him transform into a spitting image of us, yes us, with the exact same abilities and powers except with the opposite morality (which, if you got all 48 chests within Road to Rule proves an insanely powerful opponent).
Yes, you read that right. The player must essentially defeat themselves.
Now, my favourite part, after Milton attacks the hero’s dog, he/she furiously exclaims “Leave. My. Dog. Alone.” Which, for some apparent reason, I found hysterical. Betray me, kidnap and torture my assistant, try to kill me for all I care… but DO NOT touch my dog.
Anyway, after this moment of pure fury, the hero breaks free out of the device and challenges Milton, or evil you depending on how you see it. Milton reveals his plan to kill the hero and pose as them as leader of Albion; he has been observing the hero’s mannerisms the entirety of their travels together in order to take on the role as King/Queen perfectly. Sort of… creepy?
The two then begin to battle. Once again, I found this final boss fight significantly harder than any fight within the entire main story. I was knocked out three times and used several potions throughout, but it was a challenge and a great change as opposed to what we were given in Fable 3. After a hard battle, the hero prevails and defeats a powerful Milton. In his last breath, Milton expresses how great the power felt and begins to question whether he would have been able to handle it. He swears that one day there wouldn’t be one leader of Albion but a government of people, allowing the people who reside to have just as much power over the decisions that impact their daily lives.
And that’s it. I was pleasantly surprised by just how incredible the DLC was. I had an incredible time playing through it and enjoyed every aspect of what it had to offer, even still 10 years later. Let’s hope that Fable 4 will be just as captivating as this add-on.