Bigby Wolf isnâ€™t worried about survival. Before he left the Homeland, he was the Big Bad Wolf. The one who terrorized the Three Little Pigs. The one who schemed to have Little Red Riding Hood for dinner. He can handle himself. But he is worried about his job as the sheriff of Fabletown, a community of fairytale immigrants hiding in plain sight in 1980s New York. And as Bigby looms over The Wind in the Willowsâ€™ Mr. Toad, separate button prompts for questioning Toad and hitting him in the face force me to decide what kind of sheriff Bigby really is. Iâ€™m sure as hell worried about my reputation.
â€œWithout a moral anchor like Clementine, though, guiding Bigbyâ€™s character is harder, more nuanced.â€
Bigbyâ€™s reformed, you see. Heâ€™s trying to leave his big bad days behind and help people. Problem is, itâ€™s not always easy to do the right thing. Telltale Gamesâ€™ now-signature moral dilemmas form the core of The Wolf Among Us, which proves last yearâ€™s The Walking Dead wasnâ€™t a fluke of mature video game storytelling for Telltale. Wolf trades the zombie apocalypse for a murder mystery, but the dialog options and tough moral decisions are familiar territory.
Except thereâ€™s that job to think about. The Walking Deadâ€™s Lee Everett was more or less a blank slate with a big moral compass to follow: Do whatâ€™s best for Clementine. When I played Walking Dead, choosing who would live and die twisted my guts, but I always tried to make choices that would keep Lee and Clementine safe. She was my North Star.
Bigby Wolf, on the other hand, is an established character from Bill Willinghamâ€™s Fables comic series with established relationships (most everyone fears or hates him). As a result, I never feel like Iâ€™m trying to build emotional bonds with Mr. Toad or Bigbyâ€™s boss Snow White the way I did with The Walking Deadâ€™s survivors, who were all meeting for the first time. Without a moral anchor like Clementine, though, guiding Bigbyâ€™s character is harder, more nuancedâ€“and more fun as a result.
â€œThis looks like a place where people would be murdered all the time.â€
â€œFaith,â€ which kicks off the five-episode story of The Wolf Among Us, introduces Bigby and Fabletownâ€“the game is set about 20 years before the comicâ€“before dropping a grisly murder on the sheriffâ€™s doorstep. Investigating the crime doesnâ€™t involve much more than walking around and clicking on highlighted items in the environmentâ€“in fact, Telltale has further distanced itself from old adventure game trappings like item collection and environmental puzzles. In this case, the simplicity works. Walking Deadâ€™s occasional puzzles felt out of place sandwiched between moral crises. Without them, Wolf is a leaner, moodier detective thriller.
The Wolf Among Us is so moody, in fact, that when Bigby remarks that there hasnâ€™t been a murder in Fabletown for a long time, Iâ€™m surprised. Telltaleâ€™s artists did an incredible job envisioning â€™80s New York through the lens of fairytale neo noir, where harsh shadows collide with neon pinks and purples. The bold colors give Wolf an oppressive, grungy â€™80s vibe. This looks like a place where people would be murdered all the time.
But Fables, as it turns out, are tougher than humans, which is a convenient basis for some brutal quicktime event brawls. The fights are flashily animated and choreographed, but theyâ€™re also my least favorite portions of the game, because I mostly lose control of Bigbyâ€™s character. Thankfully, most of the first episodeâ€™s snappy two-hour runtime is devoted to conversation, and Bigby does talking very well. The dialog system in Wolf is identical to The Walking Deadâ€™s, with four conversation options covering the spectrum from gruff ******* to gruff silent type. Bigby also does not talking very wellâ€“I grinned more than once when I passed up speaking in favor of smoking a cigarette and glaring. Ominously.
Wolf presents a couple major binary decisions in its first episode, and these big choices (as well as smaller ones) will influence how future episodes play out. My favorite moment, though, is a tense sequence thatâ€™s unusually open-ended for Telltale. I have to decide when to ambush a suspicious ruffian rooting around a crime scene; If I jump out of hiding too soon, I wonâ€™t learn why heâ€™s skulking around. If I wait too longâ€¦well, thereâ€™s a gun in the room, and I donâ€™t want to find out what he might do with it. The risk sets my heart pounding.
The more Iâ€™ve thought about The Wolf Among Us, the more its choices and their ramifications have gotten under my skin. I lie to someone in the first episode, thinking itâ€™s better not to get involved in their problems. But what if they learn the truth? I also let a violent Fable escape, and heâ€™s prowling Fabletownâ€™s shadowy streets, somewhere. I donâ€™t think heâ€™s a killer, but if he is, will the next death be on my hands?
Iâ€™m afraid to find out, which means The Wolf Among Us is already weighing on my conscience. And the meanest thing Iâ€™ve done, so far, is threaten poor Mr. Toad. How am I going to feel when I do somethingreally bad?
- Expect to pay $25 or Â£18 for five episodes
- Release October 11
- Developer Telltale Games
- Publisher Telltale Games
- Multiplayer None
- Link www.telltalegames.com/thewolfamongus/
Review from : PCGamer[/background]