From The Archive is a series that takes articles written by Jennifer McMurray in the past and presents them here on MIC News for a new audience.
The Wolf Among Us Episode 1 review was previously published on The Adventuress on October 11, 2014.
The game is available for personal computers and mobile devices.
The Wolf Among Us takes place in the world of the Fables comics, and uses the same choice based gameplay that Telltale employed in The Walking Dead. Like that series, the characters react to you based on your choices. Luckily, the first episode of The Wolf Among Us also follows The Walking Dead in creating a fantastic story that uses the choice based mechanics well.
The game takes place in New York city in the 1980’s and follows Bigby Wolf, the Big Bad Wolf of legend, who has now reformed and is working as sheriff in a hidden community for fables known as Fabletown. None of the fables truly trust him because of his sordid past, so when a murder happens at the Fabletown office, he has to investigate the crime while trying to win over the Fable community. This game employs the game mechanics Telltale initiated with the final episode of The Walking Dead season one and continued in 400 Days. There are no real puzzles here, and all action sequences are handled by quick time event sequences. The main gameplay here is choice based, and the characters opinions of Bigby change based on the choices that you make. While it would have been nice to have some more meat to the investigation mechanic, the choice based gameplay works quite well with this story. Bigby isn’t much of a people person, so the fables really don’t know what to think of him. Because of this, the characters really do respond quite differently based on how you choose to have Bigby act. This game also adds the ability to choose between two locations, with the action in both locations still happening in real time. This adds a lot to the choice based gameplay, as Bigby has to deal with the aftermath of his choice once he goes to the other location. Hopefully Telltale continues to use this mechanic in their future games, as it really does add a lot to the experience.
The voice work shines as usual. Each character is voiced superbly, from the characters from the comics, to the fables that were adapted just for Telltale’s story. And, it’s a fantastic story so far. The game is a murder mystery, made all the more menacing as the entire community that Bigby has to investigate is made up of superhuman beings. The art style is also excellent, as the game looks just like a comic book in motion. Never before has a Telltale game looked this good. The game is topped off with an excellent soundtrack, which fits the atmosphere of the game well. Long time fans of Telltale will be pleased to hear a tune from another Telltale game that is put to good use here.
The first episode of The Wolf Among Us is a great start to the season. While it continues on the path that Telltale has been setting lately of gameplay based solely on choices and character reactions with some quick time events, it manages to use these mechanics well. The story is excellent, the characters are all interesting and superbly voiced, the music fits the atmosphere well, and the art style is gorgeous. This episode stands right up there with the best episodes of The Walking Dead as shining examples of Telltale’s style of cinematic story games.
4½ out of 5