(This review was posted to my Facebook page on July 9, 2014)
So I recently finished Season 1 of “The Wolf Among Us” by Telltale Games and thought I’d give my opinion.
The Wolf Among Us is based off of the graphic novel series called “Fables” by Bill Willingham. In a way, it’s exactly like “The Walking Dead,” also by Telltale. I’ve not read any of Fables, so I’m afraid I won’t be able to draw any comparisons there.
Just to let people know what they’re getting themselves into, The Wolf Among us is a Point-And-Click adventure game, meaning it’s heavily focused on story, character, and narrative over action. Action still exists in the quick time events, but the more tense moments will be your split decisions that the game forces you to make.
The premise of Fables is that long ago, all of the fictional characters from fables, legends, and folklores were driven out of their world by something called “The Adversary” and his armies. The only place they had to flee to was the normal world inhabited by “Mundies” (The game’s term for normal people, like Muggles in Harry Potter). Unfortunately, many of the more monstrous or strange looking fables wouldn’t be able to fit in to the normal world, and as such, their witches developed spells called Glamours which would disguise fables so that they could live in the human world in relatively low profile, so long as they didn’t do anything to stand out.
The Wolf Among Us takes place in modern-day Manhattan, in a community of fables called Fabletown. You play the sheriff of this community: Bigby Wolf (Voiced by Adam Harrington). As the name implies, Bigby is the Big Bad Wolf, who, since relocating to Fable town, has turned a new leaf. However, whether or not he sticks to those morals is up to your choices. After answering a disturbance in which a fable named Woody (AKA The Woodsman) is arguing with a hooker, which Bigby manages to break up. Later that night, however, the hooker’s head shows up on Bigby’s doorstep, and he sets out to find the murderer. Along the way, Bigby teams up with numerous other fables, including Snow White, Ichabod Crane, and Bluebeard while crossing paths with many others, including Tiny Tim, Bloody Mary, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, Beauty and the Beast, The Jersey Devil, The Little Mermaid, and many more.
Strangely enough, there doesn’t seem to be much of a pattern to which fables appear. At first, I figured it was just sticking to well-known fairy tales, such as Red Riding Hood and Snow White. Even more obscure fairy tales like Donkeyskin seemed to fit, though once folk lore (Bloody Mary) and regular fiction (Tiny Tim) came into play, I knew that all bets were off.
It’s hard to really talk about the game without giving much away, it really is just something you need to experience. I’ve heard some say that they’d much rather just watch someone play The Wolf Among Us or The Walking Dead on Youtube to avoid paying the price, since it’s like watching a show anyways. In my opinion, that is exactly the WRONG way to experience this game. The sheer tension of some of the split decisions that the game forces you to make is worth experiencing. They may not be quite as tense as in The Walking Dead, but with a much larger community at stake, the weight of the decisions help make up for it.
Bigby can be portrayed as either a sympathetic character, regretting all of the awful things he did in his past and legitimately trying to make a difference, or still the cold villain he always was, simply using his position to feed his bloodlust from a different side. The two separate paths can paint a completely different story and alter the outcome considerably.
The supporting cast is also fantastic. Snow White is a no-nonsense business woman who clearly has a history with Bigby that allows her to be more trusting of him, Ichabod Crane is the crotchety old man who is distrustful of everyone, Bloody Mary is utterly terrifying, Bufkin is a laugh and a half, Beauty and The Beast have a complex relationship that develops as you play, and has you rooting for it to work out in the end, and everything just draws you in to a very fun, immerse experience.
Since the season finale was just released, I have no idea when to expect Season 2 (Especially with Telltale working on The Walking Dead Season 2 and Tales from the Borderlands), but pick up Wolf Among us and take a walk in the shoes of The Big Bad Wolf; you won’t regret it. I wish I could talk more about the plot but… well, “These lips are sealed.”