Title: The Wolf Among Us (Chapter 1)
Platform: Steam (Reviewed), Windows PC, XBOX 360, Playstation 3
Developer & Publisher: Telltale Games
Rating: [5 of 5]
Review by: Matt Peters
Following up on the extraordinary success of 2012’s The Walking Dead, Telltale Games has a lot to live up to with the newly released episodic title The Wolf Among Us. Fortunately, the rich tapestry of fantasy characters featured in Fables from DC Comics’ Vertigo brand offers many opportunities to do just that, and the results are gruesome. We’re talking pre-Disney gruesome.
The Wolf Among Us casts players in the role of the Bigby Wolf, former Big Bad Wolf and current sheriff of Fabletown, as he tries to unravel a truly gruesome mystery. As with the comic series, the game mashes up famous storybook characters that have been exiled from their homelands to present day New York City.
The controls are fairly tight. Those familiar with Telltale’s other offerings will have no issues here, and once again, the almost sadistic decision tree is in tow. Decisions matter, or at least they’re very likely to. As with The Walking Dead, conversation choices sometimes result in an anxiety inducing “(This character) will remember this” at the top of the screen. The PC version offers players the choice between either their keyboard or a compatible controller. As soon as the controller interface is recognized, all on-screen cues seamlessly transition to the new control scheme.
It would be easy to criticize the gameplay as what some would consider just a series of quick time events, but the action actually serves a very different purpose. Instead of being the central crux of the game, it tends to add an extra push to how events unfold. Rarely do the words “game over” actually appear on screen; instead, the story builds to such a point that it just feels so good to wail on certain characters with some well timed punches. This isn’t to say the action isn’t fast-paced or fun; it just isn’t require an excessive amount of dexterity.
The art style matches the story perfectly and captures the feel of the comic. These fallen fables look absolutely miserable while the grittiness of New York seems to jump off the screen. Even the paisley-infused style of Bill Willingham’s art is represented in the game’s menus.
Thankfully, the story takes place before the Fables series proper so it gives fans something to sink their teeth into without knowing the outcome, and avoids a problem many licensed games encounter. Even gamers new to the franchise are offered a good jumping on point without being bogged down by years of continuity. Hopefully not giving too much away, the cliffhanger will leave those players scratching their heads in disbelief. It’s great to be able to get excited about a game that focuses on such rich settings and characters. The next four chapters can’t come soon enough.
For more info, visit www.telltalegames.com.
Thanks to Telltale Games for providing us with a retail code for the game for review purposes.