The Walking Dead by Telltale games took the video game industry by storm when it was released in 2012. Whether it was gamers or journalists, the game was very well received and earned many Game of the Year awards. Having changed the landscape of the video game industry, Telltale went back to work on their often delayed graphic adventure game which is based on Bill Willingham's Fables comic book series. After many delays and a name change, The Wolf Among Us has now finally been released.
As soon as one starts playing this title there are certain things that will quickly become apparent. Telltale has taken their familiar brand of graphic adventure gaming and upped the quality tenfold. No small feat for a company who took home many accolades in the past. The game starts off with alerting you to the fact the choices you make during the game will have an effect on the outcome of the story. The mechanics that are used to make these choices are greatly improved. There should be no complaints about controls this time around as they feel smooth, accurate and very intuitive. There is a bit more action in this title than in The Walking Dead series and thus it was essential that Telltale nail down a control scheme that makes it easy to bounce back and forth between action and decision making.
Maybe it is because The Wolf Among Us, in this writer’s opinion, has a better subject matter and location than The Walking Dead, but visually this game looks downright stunning. With the hand drawn characters and signature New York City aesthetics, the seedy underbelly of NYC has never looked so good. The use of color and neon coupled with the nighttime lighting really makes each scene pop off your screen. Murder isn’t so bad when dressed to kill.
The Wolf Among Us’ story doesn’t take a backseat to anyone or anything. It has what should be familiar characters to really anyone that had somewhat of a decent childhood. The roster in the first episode includes such names as the Big Bad Wolf, Snow White, The Woodsman, one third of the Three Little Pigs, Tweedledee and Tweedledum, Beauty and the Beast, and more. These childhood characters once lived freely in their make-believe world. However, something has happened which has forced them to leave their world and now they are tasked with living in our world. In order to protect their identity and assimilate into an ordinary lifestyle, they must purchase a spell called Glamour, which according to one famous toad, has seen a dramatic increase in price but with decreasing results. Fabletown, which is now part of New York City, has it’s fair share of inner city problems. All of which fall under the jurisdiction of Sheriff Bigby Wolf, aka the Big Bad Wolf.
In the first episode, which is roughly two hours of gameplay, Fabletown experiences their first murders. Snow White, now a clerical assistant for the Mayor, discovers the first murder victim and quickly alerts Bigby. The victim, a Fabletown resident turned prostitute, was a recent acquaintance to Bigby as he just saved her from catching a serious beating at the hands of The Woodsman, a nemesis to the Big Bad Wolf. From here Bigby and Snow White set out to find The Woodsman, the victim’s husband and more importantly, identify the identity of the victim.
The Wolf Among Us no longer has to stand in the shadow of The Walking Dead. In the first of five episodes, Telltale has laid the groundwork for a series that once again breathes fresh air into an industry that can quickly grow stagnant and repetitive. From the well developed characters and gorgeous artwork, coupled with the mature subject matter, Telltale proves that a murder suspense can be just as intense and riveting as any Zombie hack and slash. After completing this first episode, you will be on the edge of your seat anticipating episode two, Smoke and Mirrors.