Telltale has been pushing out some of the very best in episodic adventure games over the past few years, starting with The Walking Dead series that caught on and pushed Telltale into the forefront of the gaming world back in 2012. Beginning last Fall they continued with this tradition by launching a new series, The Wolf Among Us, based upon the graphic novel series called Fables.
The Wolf Among Us differs from The Walking Dead in a few ways, the biggest being how the story is told. The Wolf Among Us feels a lot more like a classic film noir story while The Walking Dead was more straight forward action and adventure. You’ll see all of the classic film noir tropes throughout the series while you play as Bigby Wolf as he does his best to police the people of Fabletown in the middle of New York City. The murder of two prostitutes has led everything in Fabletown to ruins with Bigby having to help pick up the pieces among people who don’t trust him at all.
Episode five of The Wolf Among Us was the season finale and if you were expecting the same kind of fireworks that you’d see from The Walking Dead you would be dead wrong. Some are going to dislike this episode because of how much it takes from the world of film noir. This isn’t about neatly-wrapped up resolutions, even if at times it felt like it would go that way. Things were still left ambiguous, unsolved and possibly leaving you questioning the decisions that you were forced to make.
This episode is just as short as the last one was, which for some people is a big problem, but honestly they told the story in 70 minutes that they wanted to tell, who am I to complain that it wasn’t longer? I much prefer things to be done right than to add in filler to appease everyone for their $5 purchase. This episode was action-heavy in the first half before slowing down and turning more into branching dialogue sequences later on.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the episode was the incredible trial sequence that was held for a villain. There was a crowd of your peers in the audience and depending on how you answered they could be swayed in either direction, giving it a sense of urgency and perhaps even being more satisfying than the action sequences. Bigby was of course saddled with the burden of a huge decision yet again and depending on how you’ve played as him you’ll render your decision.
You also have to live with some previous decisions that you made, some that are good, some that were wrong and some that were good but might feel wrong. The game makes you live with them and near the end there is an incredibly difficult sequence where you see a truck off to the “farm” knowing that you made the right decision, but that it made you feel awful. Everything in this episode was juxtaposed in the manner of how good decisions might feel wrong and that some bad decisions felt right but ended up being wrong.
My main hope is that if and when we see a second season of The Wolf Among Us that we get some tweaks to the engine and a push towards the next generation (PS4 and XBox One) consoles. I played this on PC so there weren’t many problems, but I know that these games tend to stutter on Xbox 360 and PS3 and that things are held back on the PC from looking as great as they are. Hell, even at one point a cab literally drove through a character model to no effect. These kinds of things will hopefully be tweaked before we see more from Telltale because these games are too great to be held back by technical quirks.