VG Tribune

Review: The Wolf Among Us

July 14, 2014 / 12:06 AM

By: Zack O'Neill

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Over the course of nine months, TellTale games has released the five episodes of The Wolf Among Us. Recently the fifth and final episode released to give the conclusion to the mystery that players have been leading Bigby Wolf through all this time.

For those not in the know, The Wolf Among Us is a story-driven point-and-click adventure (similar to The Walking Dead) based on the Fables comic series. The game takes place 20 years before the events of the comics, so in a way it works as kind of a setup for some of the characters and events that happen in the comic series. So how does the game stand up on its own and as a prequel?

STORY

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Story is by far the most important aspect in TellTale’s games, and anyone who has played The Walking Dead can tell you that as their name implies, TellTale’s storytelling is second-to-none. The Wolf Among Us is no exception, and in many ways, it even surpasses The Walking Dead. The story is built around a murder mystery in an area in New York City called Fabletown. In this area lives characters from various fairy tales, fables, nursery rhymes, mythology, and urban legends that have been chased out of their homelands by a mysterious force. You play as Sheriff Bigby Wolf (The Big, Bad Wolf) as he is assigned to solve the murder of a prostitute who lived in Fabletown. The investigation evolves into a conspiracy that had been kept from Fabletown administration for far too long, and it’s Bigby’s job to get to the bottom of it.

The story is brilliance incarnate. You feel immersed and attached to the characters from beginning to end, and many times you’ll feel genuine fear for the way the story plays out, as many parts are heavily dependent on your choices. Certain characters may live or die depending on how you decide to make the story go. In many ways, the fate of Fabletown (and Bigby’s reputation) is in your hands.

 

GAMEPLAY

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Similar to TellTale’s other games, the gameplay is based on your choices. You’ll have to investigate into the case that you’re given and make your choices based on your own intuition. Unlike TellTale’s games before this, you have to choose to do things at the right time. Doing things in different orders can have alternative outcomes. You may have to make the choice to go to one place before another, and making that choice can make a difference of life and death for someone.

The game mostly has the player watch as things unfold, and then proceed to make the choice of what to say or do next. There are also quicktime events during action scenes that require your most precise actions or else it can drastically change how things may turn out for Bigby. The same quicktime event system is being used in The Walking Dead: Season 2, so if you’ve played that, you’ll already know what I’m talking about.

 

VISUALS

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The game uses the same kind of visuals that were assigned to The Walking Dead: cel-shaded models with flat textures to look like a comic book in motion. While it doesn’t always keep up the illusion of 2-D imagery, it’s a very aesthetically-pleasing experience. The lighting is very well-designed in this game and really holds up the feel of the noir-style mystery setting, while using neon lights and bright colors to give it an 80’s twist in order for it to fit the time that it’s set in.

Not only are the aesthetics very pleasing to the eye, but the character designs are absolutely phenomenal. Most of the characters in the game are never featured in the comics (so that you’re never sure if they’re going to die or not), and the designs that they came up with for these characters are absolute perfection for the representations of their fables. Without giving too much away, there’s a few characters in the later episodes that are very terrifying in their designs and it works wonderfully for them.

MUSIC

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Music is not very heavily present in the game, but where there is music, it works very well. The only time music is very noticeable is during the intro or the credits, but the synth theme that they gave the game is very nice and fits the setting well. Other than those spots, there is music during fight scenes or tense moments when there needs to be some intense music to really give it that extra feeling of urgency. Besides these examples, music is nearly entirely absent, but it’s not too much of a problem.

 

CONCLUSION

The Wolf Among Us is a very well-built game in every aspect. I consider this to be an absolute must-play for just about anyone as long as they are okay with mature themes games, as many are focused on. One of the problems not previously mentioned was the game’s release schedule, which is important for an episodic series like this. It took about four months for the second episode to release, with next to no communication from the developer about why it was taking so long. Other than that, the game holds up on its own as a masterpiece in its own right. I recommend this game highly, as well as the series it is based on.

VG  TRIBUNE GIVES THE WOLF AMONG US: 9/10

 

The Wolf Among Us

The Wolf Among Us
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Final Thoughts

9/10

    About the author /


    Zack started working at VGTribune at 15 years old and has been gaming since the the age of 2. He is currently in college studying film and technology with plans to continue in the game industry. He’s also really good at Counter Strike.

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