It’s been a great year for story telling in games. Whether it’s navigating the wasteland of The Last of Us with Joel and Ellie, soaring the skies of Columbia with Booker and Elizabeth of Bioshock Infinite or even navigating the underworld of Los Santos in GTA V, developers seem to be putting out some of their best story work in their most recent games. Leave it to standard bearers like TellTale Games, the team behind last year’s remarkable Walking Dead game though to bring one of the most unexpectedly thrilling tales in recent memory. It may have its fair share of technical issues but The Wolf Among Us is incredibly stylish and features more than enough twists and turns to keep you interested until the end and more importantly, waiting for more episodes.
Published by: TellTale Games
Genre: adventure | action
Platform:PS3,Xbox 360, PC
What works: Cool sense of style | Great world to explore |Great voice acting|
What doesn’t work: Major visual hiccups|
Based on the Fables series of graphical novels by Bill Willingham, The Wolf Among Us puts you in the shoes of Bigby Wolf, or The Big Bad Wolf as you likely know him better. Bigby is now the sheriff of FableTown, a small and discrete area of New York City that nursery rhyme and storybook characters call home after being run out of their prospective worlds. Bigby is both loved and hated by the community he protects and is often at the center of whatever happens in Fabeltown. In The Wolf Among Us, Bigby finds himself in the middle of one of the first murders in FableTown in years, and it’s up to him to get to the bottom of it.
The Wolf Among Us acts as a prequel to volume one of the comic book series and it’s incredibly fascinating to see just how these characters interact with each other. Throughout the two-hour episode one, you’ll run into a number of well-known characters like Toad, Beast and Snow White and it’s up to you to figure out how to interact with them. Similar to previous games from the developer, The Wolf Among Us requires you to make dialogue and story choices that directly effect the way your game plays out. I was incredibly surprised to see just how much I missed on my first playthroughs, which made me go back and play it all over again. There’s also a cool L.A. Noire-ish style detective element to the game as you search for clues as Bigby but interestingly enough – it’s all much more well done than Rockstar’s underappreciated detective game.
It’s incredibly satisfying to make your way through the case and explore the world of FableTown. In between the investigation elements, you’ll often have to get physical with your targets and though these moments are essentially quicktime moments, TellTale has done a great job making these events mimic the tone and desperation of what’s happening in the story. Take the early fight with The Woodsman for instance, you’ll have to quickly press the right buttons on the right parts of your enemy’s body to inflict damage and stay alive. The only down part of all of this is that some of the button prompts on screen don’t always tell you what to do explicitly ( whether it be to mash a button or hold it down) but this gets better very soon.
The Wolf Among US features a cool and stylish comic-book inspired visual style that’s reminiscent of The Walking Dead but feels much more like a 90s HBO cartoon version of the comics (and yes, that’s a very good thing). Animations are generally smooth and well-done but it’s the voice acting that makes The Wolf Among Us so special. Remember, this is a property that has never seen a single adaptation but amazingly TellTale has matched the voices I’ve had for these characters in my mind perfectly. Be warned though, there are a slew of visual hiccups throughout The Wolf Among Us; mainly some bad slowdown and rough load times.
It may have it’s fair share of technical hiccups but The Wolf Among Us is easily one of TellTale’s best. It drips with style and personality and is fascinating in every way to explore; you’re likely to be hooked from the very beginning. For a developer that once seemed like they were on the verge of going stale and disappearing, TellTale Games has another sure-fire winner on it’s hands.
This review is based on a season pass provided by the publisher for The Xbox 360. We played through multiple times because we really didn’t want one character to die. Please don’t die.