We’ve all heard of fairy tales, and they usually have horrible endings or a happily ever after. What happens if the stories continued when the books stopped, and somehow those characters were pulled into the real world to live right under our noses? How would humans react to seeing The Beast or Mr. Toad right before their eyes? Would we embrace them, or hunt them out of fear of the unknown. That’s a place that Fables don’t want to be, and it’s up to B.B. to stop that from happening.
Those that came from the fairy tale world now live in a section of New York City that they call Fabletown. Bigby Wolf or as he’s better known, The Big Bad Wolf, is the Sheriff in charge of keeping Fables in line. He’s done a great job so far at keeping people from walking around in public in their true forms, but something devilish has changed the town forever. Fables are damn near impervious to harm, you can stab them, shoot them, and they will probably just shake it off. So that makes the act of actually killing another Fable a torturous event.
B.B. is burdened with finding the killer of a young woman he saved earlier that day. He works together with the icy Snow White to speak with other Fables and find a culprit. Like most detective stories, B.B. will spiral down the rabbit hole and find out that this murder is far from simple. It’s a well-done mystery when viewed in its entirety. There are rare gaps that don’t exactly fit in completely with the ongoing mystery at times, but that seems to be the work of manufactured choice options.
My only gripe with the story is that it doesn’t really allow you to be a detective in the full scope of things. Maybe it’s because Bigby doesn’t seem at all like a good detective. He’s keen on observation but not actually at putting things together well. The end focus tends to be about his eternal struggle with becoming a monster. Hell… I think the only real investigating happens on the third chapter, the rest is about intimidating people and fighting monsters.
You will wander around the city as Bigby checking up on leads, and speaking to various Fables at their places of leisure. It’s an interactive story that allows you to choose your own adventure, but with less actual impact on the storyline itself. It’s what you should expect from a Telltale title or any adventure game that ever existed. Actual freedom is limited to what’s happening in the story at the time. Choices will appear for Bigby to head to different locations to save a life, or chase after a suspect.
Like I mentioned before, some of the choices don’t make much sense in the long run. Most of them feel as if they could have been excluded completely. I think Telltale has adapted to making so many games with choices, that they feel the need to put filler choices in their games because it is expected of them. The portions where the player actually investigates for information are far and few between.
It all tends to be about casually searching for items in a set room until Bigby finally figures it out for himself. The actual functionality that allows the player to feel as if they are invested will happen at a casual level. Which is a bit frustrating when a game like Phoenix Wright has more to do than an adventure game. The need to figure out cool puzzles, combine items, or anything requiring thought – is relatively low
The Wolf Among Us is possibly the best looking adventure title that Telltale has ever graced us with. It has some vivid color patterns, fantastic backdrops, and excellent animations that bring many a wondrous creatures to life. Compared to The Walking Dead series, the Wolf Among Us excels a bit more at copying the art of a comic book. The voice acting matches the splendid visuals, with a great cast to accompany the Fabled characters. Adam Harrington excels at playing Bigby Wolf, but excellent interactions with side characters like Mr. Toad make for a believable world.
It’s an adventure game for the masses, and that’s not meant as a derogative term. Story trumps gameplay in most Telltale titles, and The Wolf Among Us delivers that in spades. The moments of tension, thrills, and the need to understand each character is the heart of the media. Studying how Bigby relates with the townsfolk that he’s been terrorizing his entire life is entertaining. Bigby will always struggle between the battle against becoming the Wolf or being the Sheriff, and that’s no easy feat when everyone hates your guts.
Bigby’s journey is like reading a great book that you can slightly interact with. You won’t feel as if you’ve accomplished much from the gameplay, but you will enjoy the story on the way there. The Wolf Among Us receives a “Wait for a Sale” from Geek Citadel. This is a game about interacting with QTE’s and barely about using adventure game mechanics. However, that doesn’t stop it from telling an excellent story and being well worth the trip to Fabletown.