Coming off the heels of last years game of the year, The Walking Dead, Telltale Games returns with much more eyes on them and pressure to deliver a game of the same quality. Telltale Games pretty much repeats everything that worked for them in the past and implements that basic formula with their latest game, The Wolf Among Us. Some might quickly ignore The Wolf Among Us and see it as a “side project” while Telltale’s “A-Team” developed season 2 of The Walking Dead. Doing so would be a huge mistake.
If you aren’t aware already, The Wolf Among Us is based of Bill Willingham’s Fables comic book series. If you’re like me, you still don’t know what the hell the Fable comic book series are. To be honest, I’m not sure if the game follows a distinct story line from the comic or just uses the world and characters. The Wolf Among Us takes place in Fabletown, which serves as the home to several fable characters such as The Big Bad Wolf, Snow White, Ichabod Crane, and more. In order to mask their appearance from the human population, they must purchase a thing called “glamour” which allows them to appear human. The concept of using Fable characters in this manor is both exciting and gratifying, as I’ve never seen these characters portrayed this way.
The Wolf Among Us has the basic gameplay mechanics of The Walking Dead. It’s a point and click adventure, and has you making quick dialogue decisions that will change the path and outcome of your specific playthrough. Having not to make choices based of a little girls well being is freeing to say the least. Maybe it was because I didn't really know what type of character Bigby Wolf was, but I felt like that I was free to make a wide range of choices like being a huge dick to some and being kind to others. In the Walking Dead, I felt the immediate responsibility to make choices that always benefited Clementine and never made choices that would hurt her relationship with me in any way. Needless to say, because of this I felt compelled to play the first episode of The Wolf Among us twice, something I never did with The Walking Dead.
Another thing Telltale Games has improved upon is the art style. The Wolf Among Us is a beautifully illustrated game. It’s more refined then their previous games, and works well together with the tone to really give it the noir vibe and look. One of the setbacks I did experience were several framerate hiccups and stutters. They even occurred during a quick-time event, which prompted me to do something I didn’t intend on doing.
Telltale Games has learned alot since the days of 'Back To The Future’, and have crafted yet another stand out title. Does it really do anything new? No, but ‘The Walking Dead’ formula wasn’t in need of major alterations. When it comes down to these types of games the question generally is can the story make the whole experience worthwhile? In the case of this game, it absolutely can. The Wolf Among Us looks to be shaping up as a great noir murder mystery featuring your favorite fairy tale characters.
This review was based on a digital review copy of The Wolf Among Us: Episode 1 for the Xbox 360 provided by Telltale Games.