Developer: Telltale Games
Release Date: October 11th, 2013
Available on: Mobile, PC, Playstation 3, Xbox 360
Reviewer’s Note: I played this game on the PC. There may be differences between versions.
Fables isn’t quite the household name that The Walking Dead is, in fact I’ve never heard about it until I got my hands on The Wolf Among Us, but even those with no knowledge of the series should find things to like in this video game adaption.
The Wolf Among Us involves a group of fairy tale characters trying to hide and live in the human world. You play as Bigby Wolf, the sheriff who’s job is to keep the fables from being discovered by the real world. Unfortunately tragedy strikes when a fable is viciously murdered and left for Bigby to find. It’s now up to Bigby and his partner Snow White to discover who the victim is, why she was murdered, and how to catch the murderer. The story is great, especially for fans of the classic detective styled things. Each character is a lot of fun and all of them seem to have some kind of hidden story. Just like the Walking Dead games you’ll also find yourself making some pretty difficult decisions. Do you go see your friend who you know is in trouble, or follow the case’s biggest lead you you only think may be in trouble? Do you capture the thug who’s attached to the victim’s pimp, or do you grab the main suspect who saw the victim alive last? The game also ends on a genuinely shocking cliffhanger that gets you all ready for the second episode.
Of course, Telltale has never really been the best when it comes to actual game play. The game feels like a “two steps forward, one step back” scenario from The Walking Dead. Combat probably has the most notable change. In The Walking Dead it was mostly filled with “mash A to win the fight” while sometimes highlighting parts of enemies to do something special. The Wolf Among Us features combat that feels closer to something you’d find in Heavy Rain, consisting of a series of quick time events. On one hand this does make combat feel a lot more active, and like you’re actually participating in it. On the other hand, I can’t help but feel that the time allotted to enter commands felt way too short. At one point I beat the Woodscutter not because I was actually good at the game, but because I had memorized the commands I had to enter from getting killed so many times.
That said, it’s not all bad. The actual exploration and adventure game elements have been improved. Bigby has an inventory and can pick up items that may be useful. While he can’t combine and mix items, he can use them to change how he interacts with characters or other things in the environment. Actually exploring the environment is still the same, you still play a basic point and click adventure game while moving around in the environment. You have to pay careful attention to your environment to make sure you’re picking up on all the clues that may be left around. It’s fun, and makes you actually feel like a detective at times. It doesn’t contain any mind bending puzzles or something like that, but it’s a good way to flesh out the world and help kill time. Speaking of fleshing out the world, one new addition is the Book of Fables. Any time you interact with a new character or hear a new location it gets added to the Book of Fables, which you can check at any time to learn more about them. It’s little more than a database, but for a game based of a lesser know IP it sure helps.
The Wolf Among Us – Episode 1: Faith sure helps set up the story for the future episodes. While it may still be a little weak in the game play department, it’s an improvement over The Walking Dead and may just have the story to match it. Those looking for their next video game story fix don’t really have to look much further.