Review: The Wolf Among Us Episode One
Title: The Wold Among Us Episode One
Platform: PC, XBLA, PSN (Reviewed on PC)
Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games
Price: $24.99 For a full Season Pass
Release Date: October 11th, 2013
Tagline: Superb translation of this Fairy Tale comic into a video game adaptation.
Family Friendly: Click here for more information.
Verdict: Buy it Already
Telltale had to have a bit of worry when it came to their next release. I mean The Walking Dead was such a commercial and critical success that the follow up would be critically judged. So, The Wolf Among Us had a lot to uphold upon its release. And it certainly did not help when the game could not even use the name of the property it was based on. But in spite of all these pressures, the first episode of The Wolf Among Us holds its own and cements a solid foothold for the rest of the series.
As alluded to above, The Wolf Among Us is an episodic adventure title set in the universe of Fables, a long running DC Vertigo series. The idea is that the characters of the Fables that we have read about have escaped their world, seeking refuge from an enemy that has taken over their world. These characters are all granted amnesty and relocated to a section of New York where they are meant to blend in. It is a fascinating story idea and if you are unfamiliar with the comic series don’t be as the game gives a fantastic primer on the Fables universe.
Your role in all of this is to play The Big Bad Wolf, who is the sheriff that enforces the law that the Fables have to follow in order to live in this new world. Of course, all these Fables know that your character was an ass in the previous world and this factors into you performing your job.
And your job entails solving the mystery of a serial murderer that is targeting fable characters, and the detective work that comes out of it really helps the story play out. You have so many decisions that can factor into solving the mystery. Do you search a site for clues looking to unlock key points, or do you play up your character role and get physical with your suspects? Either way is an acceptable option and in true Telltale fashion, you will get different options.
Another neat change is the new combat options that have been implemented this time around. If you remember the combat options in The Walking Dead, it never quite felt right and came off a bit janky. But in The Wolf Among Us combat feels like it has more context and flows better with the action on the screen. Here, you will have red circle and you move your target reticule over that mark and press your action button. So you will have a target on a knee and if you make the action successfully, you will hit the character in the knee. Miss and you will fail and take a hit. Because of this more context sensitive combat, fights just feel like they are more real and accurate in nature, not to mention a lot more fun.
But the huge selling point has to be seeing the Fables universe come to life on the screen. The Wolf Among Us looks like a comic book page come to life. Screens look far more alive and visually distinctive from most things out there, comparing more to the look of Borderlands rather than a normal Telltale game. The game just seems to pop with a vibrant display of colors. I mean it is not super high fidelity, but is just pops with bold colors and strong lines, mimicking its comic heritage.
While the PC version is solid both in frame rate and performance, I have heard issues on the 360 version at times with loading: it also leaves you on a bender of a cliffhanger which is a success of the storytelling, but it is slightly irritating to get to a huge story hook and the game ends. But that is more an argument of how good The Wolf Among Us hooks you in.
With this in mind, it was nice to see that The Wolf Among Us holds up the mantle as a solid successor for Telltale Games. They have found another property that works with their style of development and in turn keeps the player hooked for two hours in this fantasy world. Just prepare for the crack like feeling you will have at the end when the story ends but you want to keep going.
House of Bricks:
- Solid detective storyline
- Combat is surprisingly fun and context sensitive
- Absolutely gorgeous
House of Straw:
- Performance issues might hamper the experience on some platforms
- The wait for the next episode as it ends on such a cliffhanger
While one might get the idea that a game about children’s fable characters would be safe for kids, they would be as far from the truth as possible. The Wolf Among Us has fable characters involved in prostitution, drugs, alcohol, smoking and a lot of swearing. I would make sure the kids avoid this at all cost. 16 and up.