THE WOLF AMONG US <EPISODE 1:FAITH> REVIEW
Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead was a series that changed the concept of gaming and put the focus on story. It was an experiment that traded complicated button sequences and controls for a simpler approach and an emotionally driven narrative that players invested themselves in. In their latest endeavor, The Wolf Among Us, Telltale looks to repeat that success.
The Wolf Among Us is an adaptation of Bill Willingham’s Fables comic book series, which takes place in a world where all the fables we heard as children, Three Little Pigs, Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood, etc., are real and exist in a world known as The Homeland. Regular humans (mundies) exist in the mundane world (our world).
Due to events that occurred in The Homeland, many fables had to relocate to the New York area and reside at either the Farm (for all fables that can’t pass as human) or Fabletown.
Telltale Games’ story takes place 20 years prior to the events in the first comic book and puts players in the role of sheriff Bigby Wolf, aka the Big Bad Wolf. As opposed to preying on fables as he had in The Homeland, Bigby has been charged with protecting them from each other and keep them hidden from mundies.
As the first of five episodes, Faith lays down the foundation to what appears to be a complex, overarching story where, similar to The Walking Dead, all of your decisions have “consequences” that reverberate throughout the episode and subsequent ones.
Also, similar to The Walking Dead, this first episode spends more time getting to know the characters than providing actual action, though there are a few choice moments that really get your blood pumping.
Though many similarities can be drawn between The Wolf Among Us and The Walking Dead, Telltale’s latest stands out as its own experience. Unlike The Walking Dead, players don’t have the moral compass of Clementine to help guide their choices. Instead, as Bigby, players must draw upon their own life experiences and code of ethics to make decisions, resulting in a starkly different game.
As Lee in The Walking Dead it was easy to be good and make the “right” decisions because of Clementine and because Lee appeared to be a genuinely good person. That’s not the case in The Wolf Among Us.
As Bigby Wolf, your past is drenched in the blood of other fables. All of your decisions are constantly at odds with your primal history and no one guides Bigby’s choices besides the player. It’s both fantastic and nail biting at the same time!
Bigby’s past is no secret. Everyone harbors resentment to him because of it but as sheriff, Bigby has taken the opportunity to make amends for his past crimes. Much like the person who betrays your trust in real life though, gaining the trust and respect of other fables is an almost futile exercise and can easily lead the player astray because of the constant abuse and disrespect from other fables.
Given that, Bigby’s reputation is as much a character in the episode as he is. Players must come to terms with who he is/was and fight against it or embrace it—resulting in an emotionally satisfying experience.
- Excellent storytelling. Familiar fables are given modern-day retellings resulting in deep and entwined storytelling not seen in most games.
- Has neon sheen of the 80s. Gritty and hard hitting.
- Characters are complicated and multidimensional.
- Players faced with choice between what is right and what is merely perceived as right.
- Completed episode in a couple of hours.
- Though I reviewed the game on Mac, I also played it on Xbox 360. The Xbox 360 version of the game was very buggy. In one section I was caught in an infinite QTE loop and had to restart the section.
The Wolf Among Us continues Telltale Games’ legacy of superb storytelling and engages players at an emotional level unseen in most media. The action is brief but brutal and the story is as complicated as a crime noir novel—leaving players salivating for more.
Fans of The Walking Dead will be pleased with the familiar gameplay and deep story elements, while fans of the comic will be excited to explore the world they’ve read about in comic books for over a decade.
Knowledge of the Fables comic is not necessary as The Wolf Among Us provides a deep, enriching story that is emotional and complicated, like many of us, and should be played by all of us.
This review is based on time spent playing a PC/Mac code of The Wolf Among Us provided by Telltale Games. The Wolf Among Us is available now on PC, Mac, PSN, XBLA, and is coming soon to PlayStation Vita and iOS.