Following their surprise hit: The Walking Dead, Telltale Studios has garnered a reputation for interesting and heartwarming (and heart wrenching) stories and character development in their episodic game series. The Wolf Among Us, having just finished it’s 5 episode run is what we’ll be looking at today, and it certainly is an interesting (and awesome) take on Telltale’s usual story focused point and click adventure games. The Wolf Among Us is based on the Fables comic book series by Bill Willingham. The story focuses on the everyday lives of fairy tale creatures and characters in a modern New York setting. After being forced from their homes by a mysterious invading force known only as “The Adversary” these creatures disguise themselves as humans when needed with magical spells called “glamours. The game focuses on Sheriff Big B. (Bigby, for short) Wolf and his attempts to apprehend a Fable murderer who has just recently arisen in Fabletown. As such, The Wolf Among Us takes more of a noir/mystery approach to its story-line, but with a ton of style thrown on top from the unique UI and soundtrack, colorful yet gritty visuals, and most of all, it’s interesting setting with a plethora of source material to choose from. You’ll be seeing a lot of familiar faces from Snow White, to Ichabod Crane, and even Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee. The fairy tale characters add a layer of charm to the setting and also provide their own back stories. Here Snow White is the kindhearted but stern secretary of Fabletown’s deputy mayor and The Woodsman is a life in the gutter, abusive drunk who garners sympathy (at least from me). These are just two (of many) of my favorite characters in the game. This approach is actually quite ingenious, as it allows the writers to work off of the Fables’ already established stories and take them in new, emotional, and interesting directions.
The game-play follows Telltale’s usual formula of searching areas and looking for items and clues, talking to characters and making dialogue choices which will affect the outcome of the story to a degree. There are also QTE sequences where Bigby must fight or chase certain characters. The game-play is handled well but is less of a mystery than it initially seems. The game will still follow the same story line regardless of the choices you make, the only differences being seeing more or less of certain scenes, or how the characters end up viewing Bigby. While this is somewhat disappointing, it is still handled well, and the story and mystery is engaging all the way through. I also found Bigby’s character to be quite likable from his no-nonsense attitude towards his job, to his desire to break free from his typecasting as “The Big Bad Wolf” and show that he has a softer and more caring side to him. This is of course just how my Bigby developed, and depending on player choices, it’s possible to play up the more violent and wild sides of Bigby should you so choose.
The story line itself is handled somewhat well in the way that the mystery is never readily apparent and it keeps you guessing till the end. The solution to the mystery, however, was a bit disappointing in the way that the culprit ended up being the most obvious answer, and the twist ending is the result of other factors. As I said before, the story is still linear and your choices do not affect its course much, but more how your Bigby develops and is involved in the story. I personally enjoy the way Telltale does this, and it can definitely have an effect on how you view the story and Bigby’s place in it. Did your Bigby solve the murder and bring justice and order to Fabletown? Or did he solve the murder at the expense of other people’s lives, and truly live up to his name as “The Big Bad Wolf”? Or perhaps he did a combination of the two, it’s yours to decide. There’s also more incentive to replay The Wolf Among Us multiple times in order to obtain all the optional “Book of Fables” entries, some of which can only be obtained by choosing a particular side of dialogue choices. These entries help to even further flesh out the back-stories and events that were introduced in the comic book series. Telltale has also made this much easier than ever before by allowing you to reload saves at multiple points in an episode and only rewind an episode’s choices partway.
Overall, I’d say The Wolf Among Us was a success. While not personally as emotionally affecting as The Walking Dead was, it still hits great story points, has great character developments, and has made me want to pick up some of the Fables graphic novels. If you’re a fan of creative and interesting stories, The Wolf Among Us will not disappoint.
The Wolf Among Us for PC, PS3, PS4, XB360, XBone, and PSVITA gets an 8/10.