When Telltale Games released The Walking Dead, a game companion to the comic series, I was fairly excited, both as a general fan of the game company and the comic. When that game proved to be not only decent, but fantastic, I began to eagerly await Telltales’ next game, an adaptation of the comic Fables.
Unlike The Walking Dead, I’ve never actually read Fables, but a quick wikipedia search filled me in on enough background to understand the game. Essentially, fable characters live in New York, disguised as regular humans and unbeknownst to normal people, called “mundys.”
Fortunately, if you’ve never read or aren’t familiar with the comic, it won’t take you long to figure out what’s going on in The Wolf Among Us. The first episode of the game, "Faith," follows Bigby Wolf (AKA Big Bad Wolf) as the sheriff of Fabletown, who stumbles upon a murder and must solve the case.
As the first of five planned episodes, "Faith" does a really good job of pulling the player in almost immediately. I found myself immersed in the murder/mystery plot almost from the get-go, and was honestly a little disappointed when I didn’t get to solve it by the end. Although it does make me look forward to the forthcoming episodes.
If you’ve ever played a previous Telltale game, you’ll be pretty dang familiar with how The Wolf Among Us handles. Simple point-and-click mechanics, very limited inventory, and dialogue trees that are accentuated by the fact that characters remember what you said and reference it further down the line.
It’s obvious that Telltale sticks by the old “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” adage, but The Wolf Among Us, especially as compared to The Walking Dead, does feature considerably more action segments. These moments play out using a succession of quick-time events that, while not particularly challenging, will keep you on your toes.
Easily one of the best parts of the game is the art direction. Vibrant neon blues, purples, and pinks do a really good job of highlighting the cel-shaded comic-style art. In addition, the artwork is much more fluid than previous games. While The Walking Dead did occasionally feel a little jittery, The Wolf Among Us almost always feels fluid, no matter what actions or dialogue choices you choose.
One complaint that I have with the game is that it doesn’t feel like a Fables game. It feels very much as if the game would be just as engrossing and vibrant without the fairy tale characters. Mostly, there’s really never a moment where a character’s inherent fable-ness comes into play.
Occasionally it does help with backstories (we understand that The Woodsman and Big Bad Wolf have history together because we all know the story), but for the most part I almost just wished that it was a more straight-faced noir style murder/mystery game.
Still, it’s only the first episode, and already the game is pretty terrific. The episodic format is always a little frustrating (I can’t believe I have to wait to find out what happens next), but at the same time, playing a game in 2-3 hour chunks is a little less taxing on my schedule.
Overall, I would definitely recommend The Wolf Among Us, especially if you are a fan of The Walking Dead or previous Telltale games. You’ll probably know what to expect, but you won’t be disappointed.
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