Published on August 19th, 2014 | by Alecs Pillik
The Wolf Among Us – more sensational storytelling from Telltale
I’m a massive fan of Telltale Game’s ‘The Walking Dead, The Game’. Everything about it is amazing; the art style, the story, the characters, the gameplay. For me, it’s the perfect gamification of a franchise that I adore. Telltale have set a fantastic precedence with this game, so much so that it convinced me to try ‘The Wolf Among Us’. Now, before I purchased the game, I wasn’t aware of DC Comic’s graphic novel series ‘Fables’, so I didn’t really know what to expect from the episodic series. I knew that if it was anything like The Walking Dead, I was in for a treat… and I wasn’t disappointed.
The game is set in a fictional town, Fable Town, to be precise, and it’s based around the premise of the graphic novels. Fable Town is inhabited by slightly mythical beings called Fables, the majority of which you will remember from your favourite stories growing up; Snow White, The Big Bad Wolf, Beast, Beauty… you know the lot. The ‘Fables’ have come to the real world, cast out of their fictitious universe to live amongst the ‘Mundys’, what they call you and I. With the help of ‘glamours’ the Fables are able to take the form of human beings, and integrate within normal society… kind of. In ‘The Wolf Among Us’, you play as the town’s sheriff, Bigby Wolf (otherwise known as The Big Bad Wolf… get it… Big B Wolf?), who has been entrusted with protecting Fable Town and keeping its residents in order. Bigby has very few friends in Fable Town, which isn’t surprising considering his love for blowing down houses and eating old ladies, but he still makes a respectable, and fearsome, law enforcer. Surprisingly enough, there are more than a few strange goings on in Fable Town, so it’s up to you as Bigby to investigate a spate of murders that are far more than meets the eye. The story is full of twists and turns, and it really keeps you on your toes, so Telltale have really transferred their winning formula from TWD over to this episodic gem.
It’s the characters of Fable Town that really make the game. I spent hours guessing which beloved fable characters were featured in the game, and relished the opportunity to research the ones that I didn’t know. The game lets you see these characters in a completely different light, and knowing their backstory as fictional characters is brilliantly juxtaposed against the backdrop of ‘real life’, because it brings a much darker element to the characters that is somewhat lost in the old children’s stories. You get a real sense of the fear that Bigby inspires through your interaction with other Fables, as well as the content that some characters have for his position. The game only gets darker as you play, which really keeps you on the edge of your seat.
The game is full of difficult decisions and you’re fully able to see the impact of each choice as you progress through the game. I wouldn’t say that they’re as tough as TWD, but they’re still pretty hairy at times (see what I did there?). Your actions really impact how the rest of Fable Town see you as the Big Bad Wolf, and in most cases you’re given the opportunity to quash, or live up to, The Wolf’s fearsome reputation. You can take a ‘nothing will get in my way’ approach, which might have Fable Town in tears, but you’ll catch your bad-guy. Or you can be Mr Nice guy, earning the respect of some but alienating yourself from the hierarchy of Fable Town. I personally opted for a nice mix of both, which led to me portraying a very confusing character; the kind of guy that would tear someone’s head of with his bare hands, but then help the guy’s family clear up the mess after.
Not every episode had these difficult decisions, though, and one or two of the episodes received less favourable reviews than the others, namely episodes three and four. I can kind of understand why, episode three was relatively slow, until the very end, and episode four wasn’t exactly action packed. Still, both episodes did a lot for the story. I think that I had a much better idea in playing all five episodes straight through once they’d all been released, rather than playing them one by one as Telltale released them in order. Playing the game in that way meant that it felt more like one long game, rather than separate episodes. So, although episode three and four might have been a tad slow, I wasn’t waiting around for the next episode to come along, so the quiet bits were far less noticeable. If you’re interested by the game at all, I’d really suggest purchasing the first episode and then going for the season pass for the other four; it’s far cheaper and you don’t get the usual downtime between purchases whilst you wait for the downloads.
The Wolf Among Us is a fantastic game, full of twists and turns backed up with an incredible story. The voice-acting is second to none, which is to be expected from a Telltale Games title. There are plenty of reasons to pick up this game, not just including its price. If you’ve got a current-gen console, I’d suggest waiting until Telltale release both this and The Walking Dead on disc for the PS4 and Xbox One. If not, I’d suggest you go and download the first episode demo, which is free to play. If that doesn’t entice you, I don’t know what will!
Summary: The Wolf Among Us is another work of art from Telltale. The engrossing story, fantastic voice-acting, meaningful character development and, as always, unique visuals all combine to make a fantastically engaging game.