Telltale Games made a huge splash on last gen consoles with the release of the Walking Dead which took a cultural phenomenon and transformed it into a narrative treasure for gamers. They then brought us their next episodic series The Wolf Among Us, based on ‘Fables’, a comic from DC Comics and Vertigo. Now next gen consoles get a go in the Fable Universe shaping and creating their own story in a dramatic murder mystery thriller.
Players fill the role of Sherriff Bigby Wolf who is charged with the duty to keep Fabletown and its citizens safe. These aren’t just ordinary people, but characters of myth, legend and fairytales. Bigby is actually the Big Bad Wolf who ate little red riding hood’s grandmother as well as the great wolf from stories like The Three Little Pigs. Since he can maintain human form he doesn’t have to use a “glimmer” to keep his presence hidden from the rest of the world unlike Mr. Toad, trolls and other fables. He is depicted as the stereotypical noir-style detective wearing a trench coat and kicking ass as he goes further and further into a mystery entwined with plentiful twists. Each choice you make casts Bigby down a path from becoming the big bad wolf everyone is scared of or reforming his ways and being the “good cop.”
As you undertake each of the 5 episodes you’ll find a familiar story found in many crime thrillers, a story of yearning, betrayal and morality. Although the sub-themes are generic they are woven together to form a gripping tale that will have you playing through to the end credits. One aspect of The Wolf Among Us that keeps the storyline moving is the characters and their development throughout the episodes. Without them the story would be bland and lack any amusement as you make decisions that constantly range in that foreboding moral grey area. Unlike the Telltale Walking Dead series where choices are more black and white within the spectrum of the game, The Wolf Among Us forces you to select options in a split second that could be construed as both just and cruel no matter which path is taken. Your soul will wrestle your selection and have you wondering how the story would turn out if you had just chosen one of the other 3 options. This by far the most enthralling part of the game and may even warrant a second or third run through just to find all of the different dialogue trees and how Bigby interacts with others throughout the story. There is no way to possibly explain each of the 5 episodes of The Wolf Among Us without dishing out a ton of spoilers.
Even though the bulk of The Wolf Among us deals with decision making choices there are some action sequences that pull the player into the conflict as you guide Bigby in a certain direction or hit a sequence of buttons during a scuffle. These encounters are entertaining and a break from the focus on dialogue, but lack polish to truly give the experience of life or death situations. Framerate issues occurred during these scenes for me and at other various time through the game causing a slowdown of a few seconds that wouldn’t sync up until I reloaded my last save point. Although these little bugs were annoying they didn’t detract from the overall experience, they are worth mentioning especially since this is something that should have been caught during the port over to the new consoles.
Visuals bring this comic to life, but there is really no contrast from last gen consoles when compared side by side. It would have been great if there would have been some added textures or animations to the background. Still, the striking scenes and wonderfully rendered characters have an aesthetic feel that pull the player into the story and captivate them till the end. Music provides an extra layer to the mood during each setting and sound effects add those seamless touches vital to providing a solid gaming experience.
Overall, The Wolf Among Us is a hard game to pass up on this gen or last gen consoles. The dynamic storytelling and deep character personalities bring the game to life as we ride that thin line between choosing the morally correct choice. Telltale could have put a little more polish on this port to make it even more gorgeous, but trying to say the game doesn’t look great is as futile as pissing into the wind. The ending really sets up future seasons of The Wolf Among Us and anyone who gives this one a try will surely be anxiously awaiting the return of Bigby and the rest of Fabletown’s residents.
Review code supplied by Team Xbox UK.