Characterless charactersSkill is taken almost totally out of the equation in Fable II Pub Games, with the majority of the gameplay simply requiring you to press the ‘A’ button repeatedly, whilst staring at the meaningless spinning of the slot machine simulator or the millionth throw of a dice.
The fun and games (well, the games) start when you choose one of six characters, shown on-screen by a pencil-drawn avatar. The character you choose makes no bearing on the game; they have no stats nor can you do anything even vaguely interesting with them, such as customising them with some of the items that you can unlock. They merely act as your characterless character throughout the gambling games.
And characterless the game most certainly is with the three mini-games available offering little in terms of entertainment. You can play them as single player games in an attempt to rack up as much cash or possible or you can take part in a tournament against AI players, where you can unlock items and win big.
If you lose your money, you can simply keep borrowing as much as you like with no consequences. Although, the game tells you that the debt will be carried over to Fable II, if you end up in that boat, you can simply erase the character before you launch the game. Win gold, however, and items such as clothing and accessories are yours to transfer over to your character in Fable II.
The three games are Fortune’s Tower, Keystone and Spinner Box.
The best of a bad bunch is Fortune’s Tower, a card game that takes the shape of a tower, as cards are dealt out to you in rows. After you make an ante of a multiple of fifteen, you are dealt one face down "Gate" card and two face up cards on top of it. you then choose to take the sum value of the row of two cards, or be dealt three new cards on top of the other two. The cycle repeats until an eighth row is created, at which point the player automatically receives a payout. You lose - apart from the first time - if two cards of the same value are dealt in the row above it.
There are a few neat features, such as multipliers and hero cards that allow you to keep progressing should one bget dealt on a row with an adjoining pair and it’s mildly satisfying if you manage to reach the bottom of the tower and hit the jackpot, but there’s little more than luck required to win and simply having the balls to keep on gambling.
If multiplayer had been implemented then Fortune's Tower would probably be quite entertaining, but as it stands, after a few hours, nay minutes, of gameplay, it soon becomes nothing more that an exercise in pressing the 'A' button and hoping for the best.