The Wolf Among Us Review

For a Big Bad Wolf, Bigby Wolf, the sheriff of Fabletown is a strangely soothing presence not necessarily for the exiled Fables characters, but for the player. He’s something of an unstoppable force, a chain-smoking Terminator in a button down shirt, as willing to fight for justice as he is to fight for law. The first episode of The Wolf Among Us is probably the strongest first outing for a Telltale game yet, and even though there are some definite problems with later episodes it still ranks up there are one of the developer’s series so far.

Exiled from the Fable Lands by the Adversary, storybook characters hide out in a small section of New York, hidden from the rest of the city by a geas. Fables who can’t look human or can’t afford the spells to make them appear human are hidden away at the Farm. Old King Cole is the Mayor, Ichabod Crane is the Deputy, Snow White is the aide and Bluebeard funds most of the civic works. Fabletown is a fragile alliance of characters one vehemently opposed to each other. All that’s needed to destroy the shaky status quo is conspiracy and murder. That’s exactly what happens in The Wolf Among Us, a grim, tight, wonderful story of prostitution, loan-sharking and power plays.
a grim, tight, wonderful story of prostitution, loan-sharking and power plays
The mix of QTEs and dialogue are what Telltale games are known for, but in The Wolf Among Us, the weighting is definitely placed on the latter, with the majority of the five episodes focussing on Bigby investigating crimes, interviewing suspects and sorting through information to discover exactly what dark dealings are going on.

There are action elements, to be sure, with Bigby having to fight the Woodsman (of Little Red Riding Hood fame), Grendle, both of the Tweedle twins (Dum and Dee) and others, but for the most part the “action” is in the dynamics of social interaction. Whereas the decisions made in something like The Walking Dead are mostly obvious from the outset letting people die, rationing food and the like how Bigby treats other Fables is much more nuanced and have much more far reaching consequences. Sometimes you can catch more flies with honey, but sometimes flypaper is necessary.

Working out the balance is the crux of any conversation Bigby is seen as a feral beast by most of Fabletown, so his words have definite weight.

Fabletown is a wonderful place to visit, and Bigby’s adventure in it is a pleasure for the six or so hours it takes to complete. Fans of good storytelling should love The Wolf Among Us. Fans of the comics will find much to love in Telltale’s latest offering, but those new to Bill Willingham’s masterful series will also find a hell of a lot to like.

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