In 2012, Telltale Games delivered on their take on the successful zombie franchise The Walking Dead. The five episode game garnered praise from critics and fans alike, and even received several GOTY awards. With the second season being eagerly awaited, Telltale turns to comics once again, this time the Fables series created by Bill Willingham. Fables tells the story of familiar fairy tale and folklore characters that have been forced from their homeland and have resettled among us, specifically in a part of New York City called Fabletown. The clever folks at Telltale decided not to base their game directly on the comics, as they did with The Walking Dead, but rather place it in that universe so it would be accessible to those who hadn’t read the books. It worked well before with the story of Lee and Clementine for The Walking Dead, but would success strike twice?
The answer is a resounding yes, and fans of The Walking Dead should be just as pleased with this offering by Telltale.
The Wolf Among Us serves as a prequel to the comic book series, told over the course of five episodes, following the main character of Bigby Wolf, who serves as the sheriff in Fabletown. As with The Walking Dead, player’s choices again matter, moving the story along in different directions depending on your actions and how you respond to other characters. Episode 1: Faith details a sordid tale, one that hints of corruption, secrets, and murder. It’s a very noirish tale, and both the graphics and music reflect this well. Controls are much the same as they were with Telltale’s previous games, though combat has been improved by adding a couple of new options. As before, you have a limited amount of time to make your choice, so it does force you to think quickly. For the most part the controls work well, though I did experience on the odd occasion that they failed me, even though I hit the necessary button in time.
The characters you meet in Episode 1 may be familiar in name, but you’ve never quite seen them like this. I won’t go into detail about the plot or who you meet here, as that’s best discovered through your own playthrough. It will take around two to three hours for one run through the game, but replayability is built in, and it’s quite interesting to make several playthroughs with the different choices to see how things pan out. In this way players get a unique experience during their time with the game as well as a shared one with others who made similar choices. A graph does appear after the credits showing you where you stood with other players in the choices you made. It’s interesting to see where you stack up, and whether you were in the minority or the majority with how you chose to proceed.
Unfortunately, some of The Walking Dead’s problems have remained, such as stuttering frame rates and long loading times between sections and when retrying a failed sequence. They don’t happen often enough to really disrupt playing the game or spoil your enjoyment of it, but they do happen enough where they are noticeable, and so they need to be mentioned here. The technical flaws are really the only thing holding the game back from a higher score, as the story presentation, graphics, and voice acting are superbly handled.
In short, The Wolf Among Us is shaping up to be another must have title from Telltale Games, and Episode 1 has things off to a fine start. It’s worth playing through more than once, and you’ll want to do so in anticipation of the next episode, Smoke and Mirrors, which for me can’t get here soon enough. Another winner for Telltale not to be missed.
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