OBVIOUS HEADER ALERT:
WHO’S AFRAID OF THE BIG BAD WOLF!?
Let me put this bluntly, *AHEM* How have I been such a fan of Telltale Games for so long and ignore The Wolf Among Us for as long as I have!? It has took me almost four years to finally sit myself down and give this game the time it deserves, and I’m glad I did. Based on the Vertigo graphic novel series (which has also passed me by, but not long!) it is regarded by many as Telltales finest work by bringing the source material to life so gracefully and working alongside the series creator Bill Willingham to ensure it stays 100% faithful. And though the gameplay itself may stick to generally the same formula as previous Telltale titles, which isn’t at all a bad thing, it still has one of the most compelling stories I’ve seen in a video game for a long time. (Fun fact: during testing developers tested making story responses through the players voice and typing an action in but decided on it being too ‘out there’).
The story in my opinion is Once Upon a Time meets Sin City. Childhood fairy-tale characters here known as ‘Fables’ are driven out of their homeland by a tyrant known simply as The Adversary, and they find sanctuary in two remote locations in New York City, a rundown suburb they have dubbed ‘Fabletown’ and a farm upstate to house the Fables that don’t look human and can’t afford magic know as Glamour which would make them appear human. You take the role of Bigby Wolf, the sheriff of Fabletown and the reformed Big Bad Wolf, who’s job is to protect the people and keep their identities unknown to the ‘Mundies’ their name for normal mundane humans. However the normal day to day life of the Fables is turned upside when a dead Fable prostitute is found at Bigby’s doorstep, leading to a case that runs deep into the criminal underground of their society.
Being presented to a Comic Book like art style paid absolute dividends for The Wolf Among Us. The hand drawn look and bold outlines makes each character building and surrounding pop out magnificently and the dark colour palette compliments the games overall tone in a satisfying and daring way it almost seems like these particular colours were made solely for this game, the neon pinks and purples of the Pudding n Pie, the drab browns of the Woodland Apartments and the stoic and miserable greys of New York City only adds to the grimy atmosphere that The Wolf Among Us leads with. But what this tale is truly championed by is its cast of characters. All these familiar characters have been reimagined perfectly to suit more human problems; The Woodsman – A violent alcoholic, Mr Toad – A slimy squatter always looking to make a quick buck, Beauty and The Beast – A troubles marriage that is struggling financially and Georgie Porgie – A sleazy strip club owner and pimp, these are just to name a few and these fictional characters being stripped down in this down to earth manner only makes the story more intriguing and you actually fi yourself looking forward to seeing which fables we will meeting and what their gritty occupation is. But the award for the coolest villain has to go to Bloody Mary, without giving away too much it has been a long time have I come across such an icy, calculating and downright cruel villain in a video game, her stare will give you goosebumps and I found myself on the edge of my seat whenever she was on screen.
The Wolf Among Us has a gameplay style that over the years has become pretty synonymous with Telltale which has in all honesty is a good formula and one I personally haven’t grown tired of yet. The choices that you make throughout the five episodes are seriously some of the hardest hardest decisions you will make with some of them making you think of others before you make and sometimes making you take a good hard look at yourself. Not only this but some decisions have long term consequences with one choice I made in episode 3 having dyer implications in the intense conclusion of the game the im game prompts and QTE’s are also some of the most tasking in the developers catalogue with them requiring 100% of your attention and at times have such a visceral impact, bringing the immersion to a forceful level. The only thing I can say in any negativity to this game is that at times the items you can collect can go unused and pointless but in most cases, this is if you don’t find a proper place to use them before moving on.
The Wolf Among Us is one of the most creative and compelling tales I have witnessed in a long time. It’s dark exterior works exponentially well with the dark, shady characters that make up these five episodes of perfection. For long-time fans of Telltale’s work that like me have let this title slip between their fingers you need to play this, simple as. And to newcomers as well as point and click veterans, this is a damn good place to start! Especially with Season 2 finally being confirmed for next year, now would be a great time…….so, ya know, GET GOING! You shan’t be disappointed.