The Wolf Among Us
Foul-mouthed toads? A modern-day Snow White? Pigs smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol? Glamour? What in blazes did I just get myself into!? These were just a few of thoughts running through my head as I played the first episode in “The Wolf Among Us”, a game developed and published by Telltale. This is the same company that brought “Back to the Future: The Game” and “The Walking Dead” series to my virtual doorstep, so I can’t complain much. “The Wolf Among Us”, like the aforementioned games, is an interactive narrative with the occasional quick time event. Despite my reservations about the storyline (which chronologically takes place before the comic series), Telltale hasn’t steered me wrong yet. Before I get started, I’d like to thank Pat Doyle from Sandbox Strategies (a PR firm) for providing me with a free press copy.
The first important thing to note is that the game, at the time of writing (5/28/14), is not finished yet. Like the previous Telltale games, this one is broken up into five separate episodes. These episodes tend to release a month or two after one another, causing unhealthy periods of withdrawal in between. Having played both the “BTTF” and “TWD” series from the start, I can personally vouch for these withdrawal symptoms. Presently, I have played up to episode five, which is the last in this particular game. While some may gawk at a review that is based around an unfinished game, these episodes tend to have the same overall look and feel. If you’ve played episode one, then you’ll know how the rest will function too aside from the narrative. On top of that, writing about each episode in “BTTF” and “TWD” got extremely repetitive. As such, this review will rate the five episodes a whole rather than individually.
With the obligational globbly-gook out of the way, I can attempt to describe just what “The Wolf Among Us” actually is. In short, it’s a collection of fairy tales mashed together into one, “real life” story. You take on the role of Bigby Wolf, the sheriff of Fabletown. Fabletown, like the name implies, isn’t your average vacation spot. Rather, Fabletown houses a number of different fairy tale characters, some of which you may even recognize: “Snow White”, Beauty & The Beast”, “Tweedledee & Tweedledum”, and so on. Your character, as you may have guessed, is a reformed version of the “Big Bad Wolf”. What’s more, these fairy tale characters can look human by way of a substance called “glamour”…though acquiring some usually comes at a price. As you soon come to realize, it’s a necessity as the real world humans (“mundies”) have no idea that these fairy tale characters exist.
Despite being a fairy tale, this game is more vulgar than “The Walking Dead” series. “The Wolf Among Us” makes “Once Upon a Time” seem like a kids show in comparison. Part of me had a hard time wrapping my head around a talking pig that smoked and dropped “F-bombs”, but I got over it quickly as the narrative began to unfold. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I will say that as the sheriff, you’ll be tasked with investigating a series of murders in Fabletown. The game allows you the freedom to move around on occasion, though I use the term freedom loosely as most of it is “on-rails”. In most cases, you’re plopped into an environment that has a preset number of objects that can be investigated and interacted with. You are given choices here and there, though most are in the form of dialogue options. Like “The Walking Dead”, you’ll have a limited time with which to answer most of these questions…though as I’m constantly reminded, silence is a valid option too.
In the end, I’d have to say that I enjoyed “The Walking Dead” series more. I connected more with Lee, Clementine, and the rest of the gang than I did with Bigby and the characters he interacted with. That’s not to say that “A Wolf Among Us” isn’t a good game…the art style is incredibly sharp and there were some jaw-dropping moments that I wasn’t expecting. A zombie-filled apocalypse, in my opinion, is just a bit more believable…as believable as a zombie apocalypse can get, that is. Still, the narrative and characters alone do bear a lot of merit and it was fun seeing recognizable fairy tale characters portrayed in such a way. What’s better, a lot of the voice actors from “The Walking Dead” carried over to record dialogue for this game…Clementine’s voice was very noticeable when Toad Jr. began speaking, though it took me a minute to recognize Lee’s voice in Bluebeard. Kenny also “voices” a number of characters, like the Magic Mirror and Beast. Each episode is about an hour or two, giving you between five and ten hours of total play time. For $24.99 (as of 5/28/14), that’s not a bad deal.
Final Verdict: 7/10
You can learn more about and purchase “The Wolf Among Us” by visiting the following websites: