Yes, Telltale Games has struck gold again with the first season of The Wolf Among Us. This is no ordinary story of displaced fables that end up in a real-life city like New York. Telltale’s story is so much more than that. What makes the new episodic series so good is the way that it tells an incredibly gripping story — one which not only has unforeseen plot twists, but a story that also has incredible character development and relationship building.
Players take control of the primary protagonist, the Big Bad Wolf — or Bigby, for short. Bigby has retired from his previously evil ways to act as the sheriff of the fables in New York. He is charged with keeping the peace when he finds a murder on his doorstep one night and it is from there that he attempts to solve the murder while continuing to try and keep the peace within Fabletown.
As with The Walking Dead, gameplay within The Wolf Among Us concentrates on dialogue rather than point-and-click puzzle-solving and it functions much better as a result. Players do not have to fumble with confusing puzzles and can instead focus their efforts on solving the murder and forming relationships with other characters. This is why it stands out; whereas in The Walking Dead where puzzles felt like a big hold-up to the wonderful story, The Wolf Among Us features episodes filled to the brim with an exciting story and fast-paced action sequences.
Where Telltale’s newest adventure truly shines is not only within the plot itself, but the aforementioned character relationships. The dialogue choices allow Bigby to ally himself with certain character while alienating others, allowing him to do what is morally good or lawfully just. There is no answer that is simply right or wrong; it is Bigby’s story and you just choose how to live through it. In fact, the game does such a good job at keeping the player emotionally engaged that even I, for the first time ever, killed a character in my game when given the choice to spare him or not. The Wolf Among Us does exactly what it advertises: expertly tests the player in self-control to see whether or not their inner wolf comes out.
Since the game is so dense in terms of content and story, the game unfortunately is rather short. Each episode runs $5, but is roughly 90 minutes. Replayability is useless, due to the fact that replaying is just like watching the same TV show over and over again — it simply becomes boring. Therefore, those looking to pick up The Wolf Among Us should take into strong consideration the duration of the title and perhaps wait for a sale if it’s a concern.
It is also important to call Telltale out on a very important issue. No matter how many episodes of their games are released on consoles, they still run terribly. I was met with freezing, screen-tearing, dropped frames, unimaginatively long loading screens, and other graphical hiccups. Telltale needs to understand that it is no longer a small developer releasing small games and that it now creates high-selling titles. It no longer has that particular “get out of jail free” card and, if the company continues to release games that are bad from a technical standpoint, it will negatively influence them in the future.
The Wolf Among Us is overall another great episodic release from Telltale. Not only does the game unfold an engrossing narrative about Fabletown, but it also successfully weaves interesting relationships and interactions throughout the game’s duration. It is unfortunate that the episodes are so short and that the game technically runs very bad, but all those who choose to depart into the land of the Fables will not regret doing so.