Once there was an episodic game, made by Telltale Games, based on a series of comics that once were created by Bill Willingham and published by DC’s Vertigo Comics, about characters that in the olden days lived in familiar lands beyond our own. Ok, now that I have those clichés out of my system, The Wolf Among Us, released over the last few months, just finished its first season (with episode 5 released this week) and I think it’s time to reflect on the season as a whole.
The Wolf Among Us takes place in the world of the Fables graphic novels, and features series mainstays Bigby Wolf and Snow White. The game is actually a prequel to the first volume of these books, so if you’ve never read them (you’re missing out) you can jump in with very little issues in understanding. That said, if you are a fan of the books, there are some interesting tie-ins here, such as the story behind Ichabod Crane, and a chance to visit some old friends from the early volumes of the books. Several characters make appearances, though a majority of the supporting cast are new to the Fables world.
For those not in the know, Fables stars a group of refugee characters from classic tales. After fleeing the empire of “the Adversary” in the old days, these characters found their way here, only to find that our world echoed all of their worlds, and that they now possessed both an extremely long life and some fame among the locals. Now settled in one hidden block of New York City and one farm upstate, these fables live among the “mundys,” dealing with problems both magical and mundane. In The Wolf Among Us, you control Bigby Wolf, once big and bad, and son of the north wind. In the first episode, you respond to a domestic disturbance, only to find yourself involved in something much larger.
The game plays like a movie or TV show, much like Telltale’s Walking Dead games, with you making dialogue choices and decisions that will have long-lasting impacts, and occasionally participating in bouts of fisticuffs (which usually end in hulking out into the big bad). The story overall is engrossing, and the end is quite great, with the consequences of your many choices coming to light. That said, there are some slow points in episodes two and three, though these are small in the scope of the whole game. I just finished my first complete playthrough (and I have 3 other incomplete ones), and I’m already filled with “what if”s. What if I decided to be nicer to one character, or what would have happened if I visited a different crime scene? The choices you make have weight in this game, and as early as episode one they result in a much different game.
In terms of graphics, this game isn’t the fairest in all the land, though the cell-shaded characters are sufficient, and close-ups do manage to convey emotions well. The game is also not free of frequent tiny hiccups (just like The Walking Dead). Despite these setbacks, however, the game is incredibly engrossing and suspenseful. If you can look past some messiness, this game shines bright. The game is currently available on PS3, Xbox 360, Steam, and iOS, though release dates for the last episode may vary. Telltale has also promised a Vita, PS4, and Xbox One version later this year. I’ve loved playing this game as the episodes released, and I’m already looking forward to a another playthrough, so I’m giving it a buy. If you already like Fables, or if the premise behind this game sounds cool, or if you just like immersive and story-driven games, check it out!
- Immersive Story
- Plays well with Fables veterans and newcomers
- Choices feel weighty, and there is a constant suspense
- Action is quick and intense
- Not the fairest in the land
- Graphic and audio hiccups
- A few slow points in the story
- May not be for people who want constant action
The Wolf Among Us is currently available on Xbox 360, PS3, Steam, and iOS, with releases on Vita, PS4, and Xbox One later this year.
All images copyright Telltale Games.
And they all lived happily ever after?