Originally Published: May 18, 2009, on 1050ESPN.com (now ESPNNewYork.com) and Lundberg.me

One of the major selling points for any video game nowadays is its potential beyond the confines of the disc itself. Sequels are usually the first things that come to mind, but what has become increasingly popular have been the map and expansion packs that can keep you immersed in some of your favorite worlds. Whether it is ruined industrial wonders that you find in Gears of War 2, or once immaculate cities left in scarred shambles by nuclear war in Fallout 3, expansions packs have been key in keeping these great titles warm in our systems months after their release.

Continuing along these lines was another of 2008’s highly anticipated sequels and one of the best RPG’s out there, Fable II. With the success of one expansion pack already (Knothole Island), the developers knew that the world of Fable II was still ripe for new wonders to be discovered and explored. Thus, for the meager amount of 560 Microsoft points (roughly $7 American dollars) four new quests along with promises of great things to come for our heroes have been released in the new See the Future expansion pack.

Murgo, the traveling salesman of wonders both exotic and mysterious, and who unknowingly sets you on your fate in the beginning of the game when he sells you a mysterious music box that grants its bearer a wish that usually has unforeseen consequences a la the Monkey’s Paw, has returned to Albion with new magical wares. When the great hero approaches, Murgo realizes that he has found just the customer to help him push a few of his more difficult items. He reveals that he has several items that have been cursed and he needs someone to lift the curses to help his shop prosper.

Along with the cursed items, he also has several new goods to add to the game that you might find interesting including potions to turn your mutt into a pure-breed of a canine of your choosing (I chose the husky) and many new face paints and hairstyles to strike that extra bit of fear into your enemies (or friends).

The first item he sells to you, for the same paltry five gold pieces that he sold the cursed music box to you for, is a snow globe that contains a shrunken village that has been cursed (sounds like something from a Superman comic). Supposedly you can hear tiny screams emanating from the snow globe when you place it against your ear like a sea shell.

With a quick flick of your wrist, the curse is activated and you are instantly teleported to a world similar to your own, but lacking any color. Upon exploration of the black and white Albion look alike, you see blue demons sapping the color and strength of one of the snow globes’ denizens. It is then you realize that your weapons are glowing with the colors of your special abilities, blue is your melee weapon, yellow your skill weapon, and red for your will abilities.

After dispatching the blue demons with only your melee weapon, you realize that you must mix and match your styles as you begin to hunt down these color vampires in order to restore order and vibrancy to the miniature Albion.

Once this mission is complete, for another five gold pieces, Murgo gives you a skull, which when activated, teleports you to a graveyard separate from the rest of Albion. A fallen warrior pleads to you from beyond the grave that his soul has been wrongfully entrapped from an odd tomb that you encounter at the beginning of this mystical mound of death. You then acquire special costumes of some of your more bestial foes in order to mimic statues set about the graveyard opening up new doors and releasing the spirits that keep the fallen warrior entrapped.

Though, after freeing all the spirits, you realize you have been tricked: the fallen warrior is actually a ruthless necromancer who was imprisoned amongst those he conjured as an ironic punishment by benevolent spirits.

After defeating the necromancer and lifting the curse of the skull, Murgo sells you a dark item from your hero’s past; a model of Lucien’s tower. Upon activating the tower, you are teleported to where you had to defeat your greatest foe and are met by Theresa once more. She still keeps guard over the tower and reveals that she had sold the items to Murgo in order to test if you were ready for the visions of the future she was ready to impart to you.

After seeing your future, a final item is given to you. A model of what looks like a great Roman Coliseum where you can test your mettle (and earn fantastic prizes!) against wave after wave of foes. This can be repeated again and again for varying prizes and gold and is a sure fire way to build up you bank account (if you can keep surviving).

This expansion pack was a lot of fun because it encompassed everything that Fable has come to stand for, but if you’re a decent player who has leveled up their hero enough, you can blow through these extra quests in about two hours. So, the question then becomes, is two extra hours of gameplay worth seven dollars?

Considering the small price, I think it is well worth the buy and if you are a Fable-freak then you will definitely love the excuse to go exploring Albion again. The See the Future expansion pack is downloadable now via XBOX Live.

-Ray Carsillo