In my attempt to cross some games off my backlog before Horizon: Zero Dawn and Mass Effect: Andromeda release, I jumped on a shorter game to get through: The Wolf Among Us by Telltale Games.
The Wolf Among Us is a solid game that stands out most in its final episode. That’s not to say that the preceding episodes aren’t enjoyable. They’re certainly intriguing and engaging. I reloaded the game several times to redo decisions I either regretted or chose by accident. However, the other episodes pale in comparison to Episode 5.
What I look for above all else in a game is character. Are the characters interesting? Are they layered? How do they interact with other characters? Is there chemistry? The game’s set in a world where fables have had to flee their homelands and live as refugees in our world, so naturally there are some caricatures. But there are also several characters who feel like they have history, or who are twisted enough from their fairytale stereotypes to be interesting. Two of those characters are thankfully our leads, Bigby Wolf and Snow White.
Bigby, unsurprisingly, is a gruff and tough reformed villain who’s now Fabletown’s sheriff. As the deputy mayor, Snow’s a bit of an ice queen, professional and emotionally guarded. When Bigby and Snow interact there’s chemistry. It’s not the earth-bending kind, but it’s enough to know these two make a good team, and to want them to be happy. Maybe even have them together romantically. A few moments between them in game pull away both characters’ outer layers to hint at something more underneath. You can tell they depend on each other – maybe even trust each other above anyone else – even if that understanding is unspoken.
The art style is gorgeous. Colours are employed in striking ways to bring out mood and work well with the twisted fairytale theme.
Music is broody, mysterious, and ominous. There’s a rolling suspense that underlies everything, perfectly matching the tone of each moment.
The Wolf Among Us is a well-written and thought-provoking game with a satisfying climax and surprising twist. It’s visually beautiful and the soundtrack adds volumes to the creepy ’80s crime feel. While I didn’t enjoy it, or its characters, as much as I did Tales From The Borderlands, it’s another solid addition to Telltale’s growing library of sophisticated and nuanced storytelling that emphasizes player choice and the consequences that come from them. Though the game is very good, for me, only Episode 5 fully lives up to the hype. That said, it’s a testament to Telltale’s work that I liked the game better than the Fables comic it was based off of.