Picked up the premium Knothole Island DLC pack for Fable II last night around 2A.M. (oops!) and got to play around for a good hour, hour and a half before I had to make myself go to bed, so far I like what I've seen. Gordon (your NPC liaison to Knothole Island) fits the world of Fable II perfectly, from his skewed view of Modern Albion to his awkwardly memorized introduction. After he butters you up with a few goodies (a weight loss potion, Assassin's gloves, a book about the history of Knothole Island, and a pair of heavy metal boots you can't dye) you're whisked away to Knothole Island via Gordon's submarine.
Arriving on a snowy dock I was told to go see the Chieftain of the village, the snow effects are a very nice change of pace from what we're used to from Fable II's main game. Upon finding your first Dig Spot on the island you notice Treasure Chests incased in blocks of ice, something distinctly Zelda-ish about this place already. After speaking to the Chieftain you learn that Knothole Island has many Weather Totems the villagers use to control the weather, however they're now housed in dungeons and no one on the island is capable of retrieving them, which is why Gordon was sent to find you in the first place. Initially none of the shops will be open due to extreme me weather conditions (snow blocking trade routes).
Having been tasked with finding the Ice Key in order to open the first dungeon to retrieve the Sun Totem I was off! Gnok (my canine companion) began barking excitedly as we approached a frozen waterfall; no doubt the key was close. Using my trusty shovel I was
able to unearth the Ice Key (more of crest than a key made of ice really) and I was then able to enter the first dungeon. After entering I traveled to the main chamber, memories of Zelda again filled my mind, switched incased in ice with flame spouts around them
that needed to be activated. The main chamber branched off in three paths, two blocked by ice for the time, that just left the one, but in order to open it I'd have to defeat a couple waves of shadow creatures, ranging from Hobbes to those ghostly children banshees summon. I was then off to play a switch puzzle. A switch! It melts an ice block in the main chamber, and the way is clear to a treasure chest, score one pair of 'Bandit Gloves" (they look pretty sweet too, spiked glove on one hand and wrist
wrap on the other). Another wave of shadow monsters cleared and I was off to find more switches, another orb/switch puzzle that I'm none to proud to say took me a few tries (I blame how late it was). At last another switch, more treasure in the main room and.another switch to pull! I know I’ve been comparing it Zelda a lot...not so much in how clever it is, just seems like a nod to Zelda's puzzle system. Melting another ice wall I jump down a pit only to find myself in a magma chamber...how we went from cold to hot so fast escapes me. After a short trek and a few monsters killed I arrived at the Sun Totem's chamber, I walk up and claim my prize.
Exiting to Knothole Island directly, a few things are different. The snow is all gone, there are heat waves coming up from the ground and the river, once frozen solid, is now a few pathetic puddles in a ditch. Maybe this Sun Totem worked a little too well eh? The Chieftain quickly takes credit for restoring sun to the island and offers you the opportunity to stay on the island and spend your gold. At this point a few of the shops opened up; the stylist and the Box of Secrets shop. Knothole Island's stylist offers many things you can't find on mainland Albion, weight potions (both fat and thin, though both add corruption), height potions (again a corruption increase), more realistic hair dyes, and new dyes for your clothes.
Box of Secrets is probably the most interesting shop on the island (I'm not sure as not all of them are unlocked yet, but I've got a hunch), though it doesn't use gold as currency. The shop contains several boxes, with names like 'Attractive Outfit' 'Intimidating Clothes' etc to give you a vague idea of what may be inside. Walking up to each box you see what it will cost you to buy, again the Box of Secrets doesn't take gold for their goods, each box must be traded for, items include certain foods or books from mainland Albion.
It's important to note for this part, that I was playing on a relatively new character (completed
rebuilding the bridge to Bowerstone but not recruiting Hammer), my quest log told me to speak to the Chieftain again, only he was no where to be found and the glowing trail was not present. I had read from the Fable II dev blog that if you're about half through the game you can complete Knothole Island, so this may be an issue of Renown, either way I was unable to continue my Knothole adventure and called it a night. My next step is go back with a character that has already completed the main story so I can
see fully what Knothole has to offer.