Fable II Pub Games Review
Fable II Pub Games box art
System: X360 (XBLA) Review Rating Legend
Dev: Carbonated Games 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Microsoft 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Aug. 13, 2008 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

The final game is Spinnerbox, essentially a glorified version of slots. You bet, symbols spin, and if you match a pair of symbols, you get a payout. However, the inclusion of symbols instead of numbers is strange. If numbers were used, you could quickly tell when you had a matching pair and the payout. For example, a pair of twos would have a payout of four; simple, right? But, since the game uses strange symbols, you constantly have to bring up a menu to figure out payouts. The first time you see two houses you would never guess it equals a payout of twenty. Numbers must have been disregarded in favor of symbols for graphical variety, but it ends up being counterintuitive.

Fable II Pub Games screenshot

All three games can be played in single play or tournament mode. Single play allows you to build points and increase your gambling level, unlocking games with bigger payoffs. Tournament mode throws you into games against computer-controlled opponents, but most of them are too difficult and time consuming. For example, a Spinnerbox tournament requires 100 spins before it's over, and since most of it is based on simply betting and spinning (hitting the A button), it's really just a luck affair and not much fun to play. Trying to defeat the computer in the other games is also hard. There always seems to be one A.I. opponent who never loses a hand, meaning you have to play flawlessly. The tough-as-nails A.I. could be offset by Xbox LIVE play with friends, but Pub Games is missing this vital component. It seems like a strange thing to omit; surely a card game doesn't have issues with lag? Playing any of the games over-and-over again unlocks new "games," but they aren't really new. Instead, they add new rules to the current three, such as increasing the minimum bet or the number of spinners in Spinnerbox.

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Presentation isn't Pub Games' strong suit. The music selection is a looping track that seems like it was taken from the first Fable game, and the only sound effects you'll hear are the roll of the die, cards shuffling, and the occasional cheer of a crowd after a good game. The graphics don't fare much better. There are no 3D models of the gamblers, instead you just see a name next to a stack of chips.

Pub Games is really a half-game aimed at those that want to get a jump start on building their Fable II loot. Those looking for a good standalone title are out of luck - far from scoring a jackpot, Pub Games is a complete bust.

By Jason Lauritzen
CCC Freelance Writer

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
3.5
Graphics
For what the developers have to work with (playing cards and chips) they did an admirable job. Nothing really stands out as excellent, but the overall presentation is above average.
3.0
Control
The controls work as they should (you mainly hit A and move the left analog stick), but it feels like the developer could have done more to make the actual playing of the games a little more engaging.
2.0
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
It's pretty bare bones. Aside from ambient bar noise and cheers from an off-camera crowd, there's just one track that loops in the background.
2.0
Play Value
For those with Fable II pre-orders there's some incentive here, but as a standalone title, Pub Games under-delivers.
2.6
Overall Rating - Average
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Gold transfer to Fable II: Earn gold playing the Pub Games weeks before the Fable II release, and then transfer the gold into the world of Albion for a head start.
  • In-game unlockables: The Pub Games allow you to unlock game variants based on the amount your play regardless of wins or losses.
  • Bust out options: You have several options when you bust out. Participate in free tournaments (paying off gold for time mirroring FII jobs), or utilize the credit system based on meta game's star rating.
  • Tournaments: Win 15 unique Fable II items in the Pub Games via tournaments. You can even unlock new Fable II concept art, a first taste of Fable II for the hardcore.
  • Screen Resolution: Up to 1080p (Full HDTV, Widescreen).


  • Screenshots / Images
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