The Wolf Among Us: Episode 1 Review

Genre: Adventure Console: PC, Mac, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 Developer:   Telltale Games Publisher:   Telltale Games Release Date:   October 11, 2013

Genre: Adventure

Console: PC, Mac, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

Developer:   Telltale Games

Publisher:   Telltale Games

Release Date:   October 11, 2013

Damn you Telltale. Once again you reel me in hook, line, and sinker. Once again you tease me with the carrot just to give me the stick. I don’t know what I was thinking. After you beat and dragged my emotions through the dirt with The Walking Dead, I don’t know why I came crawling back to you asking for more. But, here we are. This time your chosen torture device is The Wolf Among Us, the video game adaptation of Bill Willingham's critically acclaimed comic series based upon a twisted take of all our childhood fables.

Bill Willingham’s world is ingenious. Every fable you could think of is living in, what looks like, a crime noire era Los Angeles called Fabletown. Each has lived out their story to completion and is now attempting to live a normal life, with all the dirt and grime that that entails. Fairy tale princes and princesses living their lives out in a not so happily ever after manner alongside other heroes and villains just going through the motions of life after the fairy tale ends. Considering the subject material, this is an incredibly dark and depressing game.

In The Wolf Among Us, you play as Bigsby Wolf, a dick, as in a private investigator for Fabletown. You also play a dick, as in nobody likes you—but what can you expect with you being the big bad wolf and all? In true crime noire, and fairy tale, fashion, there is a damsel in distress and a murder that must be solved.

Just like its predecessor, The Walking Dead, The Wolf Among Us is a QTE (quick time event) heavy point-and-click adventure game that emphasizes story and characters over anything else. Telltale really stepped up their game for this… game, taking what made The Walking Dead great up to eleven. There is true emotion seeping out of every character—made truly impressive by the anthropomorphic nature of most of the citizens of Fabletown.

It is clear that this game was never meant to be a challenge for its participants, unfortunately. It is understandable in a lot of senses (why would Telltale want to discourage anyone from experiencing their story?), but it is rather disheartening. The most player intensive moments in the game are QTE fights and/or chase scenes that have you hitting a button and a direction in order to execute the event, but even failing a few will not lose you the game. I felt like I was much more a witness to events, rather than a participant, than I ever was during my play through of The Walking Dead.

This feeling of non-effect is something that could easily disappear as the game progresses. This is an episodic game, the first episode of which clocks in right around two hours, which promises that your decisions will have real impact throughout the journey. There was even a moment that they managed to put into the first episode that emphasized that your choices do really have weight, but you’ll just have to experience that moment for yourself because I won’t spoil it.

The ending is where the episodic games truly shine compared to their single installment brethren. Just like your favorite television show (I’m looking at you Walter White!), The Wolf Among Us leaves you with the most gut wrenching cliff hanger that will have you dying to see what happens next.

Pros:

+ Beautiful/stylized world

+ Source material is unique

+ Builds upon Telltale's The Walking Dead

Cons:

- Easy

- Player input is difficult to trace 

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If you liked The Walking Dead, it is in your best interest to pick this one up. The music is amazing, the colors are gorgeous, and the story is sublime. Just don’t blame me when you are jonesing for the next episode to get here. I can’t wait to see where this game takes me!

 

Mike Hewitt