After earning numerous awards for The Walking Dead, Telltale Games became something of a household name among gamers. Sure, it’s sort of a point-and-click adventure mixed with dialogue choices, yet it goes so far beyond that in terms of story and characters. It’s no wonder that people were excited when they heard that Telltale was turning their attention to the much enjoyed graphic novel series, Fables.
The Wolf Among Us takes place in Fabletown, a part of New York City where fairy tale characters relocated after losing their Homelands. All characters are forced to blend in with their new environment, making use of a spell called Glamour to ensure that they don’t necessary look how we might imagine them. Not all characters follow this rule, and they often seem to lose its effects when overcome with emotions.
The story focuses on Bigby, formerly known as the Big Bad Wolf, who is sheriff of Fabletown and tasked with maintaining the peace. He has a perception problem to overcome as most Fables have memories of him as something to be feared and certainly not the kind of character you’d run to with your problems. While also investigating crime, Bigby needs to work hard on changing his image and making it clear that he’s a nice guy now. Well, if he is actually a nice guy.
For those who have played The Walking Dead (and really, you should), gameplay in The Wolf Among Us is fairly similar. Once again you can move around environments and interact with specific objects. Unlike in The Walking Dead, all conversation choices are done with the mouse rather than the number keys. This is certainly an improvement as it means you don’t need to keep shifting your left hand between the number and letter keys. Most of the game is played through interactive story-telling; the gameplay comes from the ability to make interesting choices rather than press a wide range of buttons.
The Wolf Among Us features a lot more action than previous Telltale games as you will need to use the quick-time events (expect a lot of Q-key bashing) when fighting various Fables. You can chose how to attack, and even if you want to carry on beating up the characters, or simply walk away.
All these choices are important. As per the Telltale formula, every decision you make matters. Will you gain a specific character’s trust, or alienate them? How will you align yourself? With only one episode released thus far, it is hard to see all the consequences of those actions. However, judging by previous Telltale Games’ experiences, I would predict that certain Fables may or may not help out later on in the story depending on decisions thus far.
While choices matter in The Wolf Among Us, they are not as emotional as they were in The Walking Dead. Rather than determining which life you save, you are deciding on which Fable to suspect or arrest. Sure, these will have an impact on the story, and the story is interesting and entertaining. However, the emotional connections that were such a cornerstone of The Walking Dead story simply do not have a place in this game. Rather, it’s all about exploring the story through the gruff and seriously fun-to-play Bigby.
The Wolf Among Us is a very aesthetically pleasing experience. Using cell shading, it truly feels as though you are playing in a graphic novel. However, the music and voice acting really bring it all together, making this choice-based interactive experience into a fully immersive game. The first episode takes about two hours to complete – much like the timing per episode of The Walking Dead. As such, over 5 episodes, we can assume that players will get about 10 hours of gameplay with a high replay value. The Wolf Among Us is available on Steam for PC and Mac, as well as on Xbox 360 via Xbox Live and PS3 using the PSN.
Last Updated: December 26, 2013