Telltale Games has once again worked its magic to transport you to a compelling universe with a convincing atmosphere in The Wolf Among Us.
The Wolf Among Us is based on a Vertigo comic book called “Fables.” I haven’t read “Fables” but it isn’t required reading for playing the game. The Wolf Among Us is a prequel to the “Fables” comic.
In The Wolf Among Us, an evil event has forced fairy-tales characters (called Fables) from their homeland into modern day New York. The more humanoid Fables can get by using a magic glamour to appear human, while the rest must live in The Farm outside New York. You play as Bigby (The Big Bad Wolf), the now reformed Sheriff of Fabletown. Your job is to keep the peace, though this becomes difficult when a brutal murder of a Fable upsets the community.
The first episode has you investigating the murder and navigating the often-complicated world of Fabletown. It is intriguing to see these fairy-tale characters having real-world problems. For example, Beauty and the Beast have relationship issues, and Buffkin, the flying monkey from Oz, is an alcoholic. But the story doesn’t forget character lore either. One of the Three Little Pigs is still mad at Bigby for blowing his house down and eating his brother.
Gameplay is a mix of excellent branching dialogue, crime-scene investigation, and action. Much like Telltale’s The Walking Dead game series, you are faced with multiple options and sometimes split second decisions with devastating consequences. Characters remember if you were mean or nice to them and this affects their behavior towards you further into the story. Being the first episode in the series it is impossible to tell how much these choices impact events, but it is off to a strong start.
Telltale has instilled an almost surprising amount of intense action into the game. These sequences are thrilling and often violent, with multiple choices during combat. For example, I could ram a man into a sink or bookshelf, and later choose to walk away or throw him out a window. I’m normally not a fan of quick-time events or split second choices, but I found they worked splendidly here and fit with the character and story. We get a peek at Bigby’s literal inner-beast a few times, though he is not supposed to fully transform.
The Wolf Among Us has a very stylish presentation. Starting with the main menu, to cut scenes, camera angles, or lighting effects, everything immerses you in this brooding and gritty story. The graphics won’t blow you away, but they are very good. Animations are convincing and the voice acting is top notch. Music most definitely deserves a special mention for being perfectly tuned to what’s happening on screen.
I very much enjoyed playing as Bigby, a rough and tough antihero with a lot of potential. The game strikes a perfect balance between the different elements of dialogue, investigation and action, rounding out to offer a very solid two hours of gameplay. Given the variable options throughout it gives you a strong sense of creating your own story and character development. We won’t know the full scope of the story until the series has ended, but for now I cannot wait for the next episode.
Telltale has the makings of another masterpiece on their hands with The Wolf Among Us. Riveting storytelling and a mature twist on familiar characters make for excellent gameplay. Don’t miss the start of this dark and thrilling modern day fable.
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