Based off of the world in the Fables comic book franchise created by Bill Willingham and published by Vertigo, the first season of The Wolf Among Us (created by Telltale), which was released in five episodes, sees you take on the role of Sheriff Bigby Wolf. As Bigby, you delve into the murkier underbelly of Fabletown, the portions of New York City the folk of fairytales and folklore have afforded themselves after being exiled from your homelands. Set twenty years or so before the events of the comics, the game has its own aesthetic and its own story to contemplate. What did I think of it while I played it through on my PS3? Read on to find out.
I want to get the bad aspects out of the way first. Unfortunately, despite the issues found with the first season of The Walking Dead game by Telltale being well documented on consoles, one of the most noticeable aspects of the game was its slow load times and inability to keep voice acting synced with onscreen animation. There was also a point in episode two where one character became an eyeball during a scene. The first episode wasn’t too noticeable for the audio being out of synch, but the more episodes I played, the more noticeable if became. It got especially tricky during the moments where the game would playback an overview of recent events.
Thankfully, during my playthrough, I only had the game freeze on me once and I never had any of my save files corrupted. To me, its few technical problems are permissible at this stage, though it’s a shame the console version had them and I hope it’s all cleaned up when the game finally hits Xbox One and PlayStation 4, which has already been announced.
Being a detective
Much of the game’s plot centres around several murders that Bigby must investigate, scrutinising the inhabitants of Fabletown at quite a personal and direct level. What’s good is that if you pay attention to the game and what’s happening, is that you can make educated guesses about what is happening and not come off like a complete idiot. This is in stark contrast to the unforgiving interrogation mode and court questioning in L.A. Noire and Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice For All, respectively.
Of course Telltale don’t let you off that easily: the time you have to give responses is still limited and you need to be constantly on the ball if you’re going to thouroughly investigate the inhabitants of Fabletown. The season didn’t rely that much on you collecting evidence, certainly not past episode three. Instead there’s a lot of focus of asking the right questions in the right place at the right time. The way you play the game perfectly reflects the story’s urgency in needing to get your cases solved quickly, before anything worse can happen.
A chance for change
Here in The Wolf Among Us you’re dealing with characters who are larger than life and the source of much of the character archetypes we talk about today. And they all have huge stories and backgrounds that do affect their day-to-day lives in Fabletown. What’s genius, however, is Telltale giving you the ability to play Bigby against type.
Like the name suggests, Bigby Wolf is in fact the Big Bad Wolf. One of the rottenest, most detested, most hunted characters of folklore and fairy tales. And you can play him as an utterly depraved bastard or you can try and show that a wolf can change. Or go for something in-between. Or just be a silent protagonist who can’t stand those around him. It’s your choice and the way you have Bigby act hugely affects the ways you are able to progress through the season. And it really felt that the way you had Bigby act has far more impact than the words Lee had to pick from in season one of The Walking Dead Telltale game.
Season one of The Wolf Among Us is a surprising and intriguing game that really wants to provide you with choices that have an impact. It’s presented in a way that you don’t have to have read the comics to understand it, but having a smattering of knowledge about folk and fairy tales written down by the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen will make the game far more enjoyable. And, of course, if you’ve read the comics then I think you will have fun playing this game. I really enjoyed playing through the whole season and I think it’s a good game for those who might be tired of the constant terror put across in The Walking Dead. The season is definitely worth getting, despite its technical issues. I am really glad that I played it.
The Wolf Among Us season one is out now on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Our reviewer bought their own season pass.