The Wolf Among Us
Story - 8
Presentation - 10
Gameplay - 6
The Wolf Among Us is a story driven game that focuses on setting, characters, and story. It's a point and click adventure game, so, gameplay wise there's not a whole lot going on, but for what it does, it does it pretty well. Basically, if you liked Season One of The Walking Dead, you'll, more than likely, enjoy The Wolf Among Us.
The Wolf Among Us: Season One review
This review is for The Wolf Among Us: Season One, the entire game, from episode 1 to episode 5 all eight to ten hours of it. So, it will not take into account of how long each episode took to release and it won’t review each individual episode.
I know that few are probably reading this right now and just sort of skimming through, so let me bold this: There will be some spoilers. I won’t spoil the entire game, I’m not spoiling crucial plot points, and I will keep spoilers to a minimum, but I will be getting specific in a couple of areas where I want to highlight some positives and negatives. So, read at your own risk. With that said, here are my thoughts and opinions on what I thought about The Wolf Among Us: Season One.
The Wolf Among Us is a prequel based on Bill Willingham’s Fables graphic novel series. It starts us off in 1980’s Fabletown where the sheriff, protagonist, and keeper of the peace Bigby Wolf (The Big Bad Wolf) gets a distress call from one of the Fables about a raucous happening in his apartment building. From there Bigby Wolf meets one of his old, long time rivals from the past which sets off a chain of events.
Fabletown isn’t a place where you want to live in, but it’s an interesting place to be in. Fabletown is a dark, gritty, Manhattan, New York like setting. As we mentioned above, The Wolf Among Us is a prequel based on the comic and as you might expect from Telltale Games, The Wolf Among Us has that nice, slick, comic book presentation. The color palettes are fantastic and it’s a beautiful, dark, life-like world.
The city of Fabletown is filled with mundies (regular, you and me sort of folk) and Fables. That’s part of Bigby’s job, as well. It’s his responsibility to make sure Fables have glamour (IE: Magic that allows Fables to pass off as Humans. You can’t exactly have three-foot toads walking the street, now can you? That would be weird.).
Fables that can’t afford their glamour are supposed to go to The Farm; which is basically a prison for the Fables, but it’s your choice as to whether or not you want you want to enforce that law for a couple of characters you come across.
That leads to an interesting dilemma as well. If your friends, people you trust can’t afford glamour, then do you send them up to The Farm? This is one of many questions that The Wolf Among Us asks you on a moral level.
That’s what so great about The Wolf Among Us is the journey, the characters and the moral questions it asks. It’s a story that delves deeper than just what’s on the surface. It’s not just a crime mystery, It’s a story with layers that deals with all different degrees of problems for different characters. Not everything is good or bad, black or white. What you may think is the right choice, the right decision, might not be so through the eyes of another character.
It’s a journey, a story that I believe a lot of people will be able to relate to, or at least I did. The characters, while they are fantasy novel characters, they still are realistic (up to a point, of course), relatable, and have a lot of depth to them. Which brings me back to the moral questions the game asks:
How long does your past haunt you? Can you ever change the perception of what people think of you? Is there someone or something you can turn to when you are down on your luck? Are the ones in charge, really in charge? These are questions that I feel The Wolf Among Us asks and the ending is very, very interesting. All the loose ends at the beginning of the game are all tied up. The murderer is revealed, you know of other shady dealings happening in Fabletown, but with about 15 minutes left in The Wolf Among Us: Season One, new threads appear that leave the door open for the possibility of a season two.
Has Fabletown changed? Has it changed for the better, or is it still the same? Fabletown is a big world and there are still stories Telltale Games can continue to tell in the world of The Wolf Among Us if they choose to continue on with the series.
Now, while I have very much praised the story and the tale The Wolf Among Us tells, the writing is solid to good, but it does have its problems. For instance, in episode 2: “Smoke & Mirrors”, it frustrated me that I was limited to what my Bigby wanted to say. I knew that this character wasn’t the killer from the beginning. The revelation is that Snow White reveals that this certain character isn’t the killer and Bigby is surprised. Which I felt was unnecessary because I already felt that he wasn’t it.
Also, In episode 2, while Bigby Wolf is being questioned by Detective Hennigan; Crane ends up bailing out Wolf and wipes the memory of Hennigan and all the Mundies in the police station after the events at the end of episode 1: “Faith”.
That’s all good, but there is no indication that Crane grabs the tape that was recording. Not that big of a deal, but still a small, nagging detail that could have been an interesting twist if that had been brought up later in the story because technically, when every wakes up, they won’t know what happened, but they would still have video of Wolf being questioned by Hennigan.
I suppose you can just assume Crane grabbed the tape as he has a big box that says “evidence”, but still it would have been nice to see him grab the tape, or at the very least show him walk over to the video camera and then the player can confirm and assume that he did grab the tape.
Also, not to belabor this point, but I can’t help but wonder if that may have been in the original script. After you finish episode 1, the preview for episode 2 is…well, it’s not really much of a preview at all considering that the majority of stuff that happens in the preview for episode 2 doesn’t actually happen in episode 2. Same goes for after you finish episode 2 and there’s a preview for episode 3: “A Crooked Mile”. A lot of things are different. Also, keep in mind there was a very long way from episode 1 to episode 2. It was four months in between episodes and that’s a very long wait.
So, I can’t help but wonder and think that there was a major rewrite in the script, and if there was, I’d like to have seen the original script of it. When The Wolf Among Us eventually makes its way to the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One; Maybe there will be director’s cut edition. Perhaps the story we ended up getting and then the original story. I wouldn’t mind that and that would be incentive enough for me to buy it again.
One last negative: The ever present engine that plagues all of Telltale Games’ plagues The Wolf Among Us as well. However, The Wolf Among Us does run better than some of Telltale’s past games. But, still, for a game that is all about immersion, story, characterization, the way the game runs is more of a problem than for other games.
For comparisons sake, The Wolf Among Us runs better than Season 1 of The Walking Dead. Now, The Wolf Among Us isn’t perfect. While transitioning from one scene to another it has a tendency to stutter and get stuck for a couple of seconds. In particular, episode 2: Smoke & Mirrors, for me, had the most problems.
In one scene as Beauty was talking, her audio played, but the scene was stuck for a good 5 seconds. As she finished what she had to say, the video finally got going, Beauty continued to talk, but obviously, the video and audio weren’t synced up. The final three episodes ran rather smoothly for me. Again, there still was some stuttering, stuck for a split second, etc. Not perfectly smooth, but still good enough that it didn’t break the immersion, for me.
With the negatives wrapped up, let’s finish up on some more positives. We’ve already touched upon just about everything we needed to, but one more note is the voice acting. The voice acting is absolutely superb and spot on. There wasn’t one character where I cringed or thought, “boy this voice just sounds so out of place.” Not one time.
Telltale Games definitely has an ear and eye on voice talent. Adam Harrington (Bigby Wolf), Erin Yvette (Snow White), Chuck Kourouklis (Toad), Roger Jackson (Ichabod Crane), Gavin Hammon (various voices), Melissa Hutchison and Dave Fenoy (who you might remember as Lee and Clementine from The Walking Dead) all do a fantastic job as well as everybody else, but for the sake of spoiling I won’t get specific with the other characters that you come across in the game. But, nevertheless, the voice actors that did those characters as well did an incredible job as well.
All in all, The Wolf Among Us: Season One is another smashing hit for Telltale Games. If you liked Season One of The Walking Dead for the journey, the characters, and just the overall gameplay that Telltale Games offers its players, then give The Wolf Among Us a look.