The Wolf Among Us
Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games
Platform: Mac, PC, PS3, PS4, PS Vita, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Mobile devices
While I’ve always enjoyed Telltale’s unique brand of adventure games, I firmly believe they created a masterpiece with ‘The Walking Dead’. Based on Robert Kirkman’s hit graphic novel series, the Telltale Walking Dead game saw players encounter not only hordes of the undead and psychopathic survivors, but also complex moral decisions and a gripping emotional plot centered around one of gaming’s most endearing characters, Clementine. While Telltale made a name for themselves previously with adventure games that felt like modern tributes of the adventure games of yesteryear, when they released The Walking Dead they outdid themselves and transcended those games entirely.
Now we have a new Telltale game, based on the graphic novel series ‘Fables’ by Bill Willingham and it’s called ‘The Wolf Among Us’. A far cry from the bleak but endearing world of The Walking Dead, The Wolf Among Us sees players solving murders in Fabletown, a hidden haven for the real characters of various fairy tales and nursery rhymes. The game is well-written, evocative, suspenseful and captivating. Does it surpass Telltale’s previous efforts with The Walking Dead? You betcha. Is it worth your time? Absolutely.
Note: While The Wolf Among Us contains fairytale characters, this is indeed a game for adults containing graphics violence, adult language, brief nudity and mature themes.
The Wolf Among Us casts players as Bigby Wolf, Sheriff of Fabletown. While keeping a community of Fables with very long and complicated histories is already difficult enough, Bigby’s job is made even more difficult by the Fable community’s distrust of him (on account of him being the Big Bad Wolf and his past proclivity for eating people) and his constant struggle against his violent and bestial nature.
The story begins when Bigby is attending to Mr Toad (yes, from The Wind in the Willows) who has reported a disturbance in one of his apartments. As Bigby arrives to investigate, he discovers the Woodman (who Bigby has a long and complicated history with) is roughing up a girl. Bigby intervenes and questions the girl afterwards, who maintains her identity as a total mystery. When Bigby returns to his apartment that night to get some sleep, Snow White (who works for the Fabletown Mayor’s office) knocks on Bigby’s door in a state of distress – there’s been a murder, the first in Fabletown for hundreds of years. Someone has left a severed head on the apartment complex’s doorstep for Bigby and Snow White to find, and it’s the mysterious girl from only a few hours before.
I won’t go into any more detail with the story as that is the meatiest part of a Telltale game, but I will say this: I was hooked from the start of episode 1 until the conclusion of the game at episode 5. I competed The Wolf Among Us in its entirety in only a few sittings, though the game isn’t short – it’s absolutely enthralling. Telltale are a developer that are well aware of their strengths, designing games with well-written and interesting characters, strong dialogue and complex situations that usually involve a difficult moral decision to solve. They also manage to deliver rewarding endings that steer clear of the typical cliches and tropes that other developers cling to like rats on a sinking ship. This is a game for people who love a good story, for those who can’t turn away a mystery, and for those that love a good underdog, er wolf.
A lot of Telltale’s developmental calling cards are now present in other games. While they didn’t invent complex moral decisions in video games (do you kill someone knowing they will commit a crime again, or do you kill them for the greater good, losing a part of your humanity?), they have perfected them and delivered them in a style that feels rewarding and is bound to solicit a strong reaction from the player. If you’ve played previous Telltale games and think you know what The Wolf Among Us has in store for the player, you’re dead wrong. I’ve played Telltale’s Monkey Island game, their Back to the Future game, their Jurassic Park game and their Walking Dead game and I still found The Wolf Among Us managed to shock me with its twists, hook me with its characters and dialogue and still provide me with the best story experience I’ve had in recent memory.
- Gripping from start to finish
- Gorgeous art direction
- Accessible gameplay
- Low replay value
- Some QTE (Quick Time Events, “Quickly press this button!”) are frustratingly quick
You really cannot overstate the brilliance of Telltale as a storytelling studio. The Wolf Among Us is fascinating, gorgeous and the best damn story we’ve had in video games for quite some time. I cannot recommend this game enough. A must-play.
Score – 9.5/10