Alex Lynch Reviews: THE WOLF AMONG US Episode 1; "Faith" [PC]
Based off of DC and Vertigo's Fables, TellTale Games releases a new episodic video game series; The Wolf Among Us. Is it possible to top their 2012 Game of The Year; The Walking Dead? Check out my take to find out!
From the makers of the 2012 Game Of The Year – The Walking Dead - -comes a episodic video game series based off of the DC Comics and Vertigo comic book, Fables, that follows a badass “fable” named Bigby Wolf as he tries to make sure that “Fables” are under control and stay hidden from the “mundies” (non-magical creatures) in Fabletown. TellTale was praised for their highly immersive and emotional narrative storytelling in The Walking Dead, but is the same true for their new game, The Wolf Among Us? The short answer: Yes. The long answer?
The Wolf Among Us keeps the same foundation and core as the rest of the TellTale games, including The Walking Dead. It’s still a point-and-click at its very heart, but with each series, TellTale is rapidly evolving the way their games are played and naturally finding more ways to organically add action into the gameplay. The Wolf Among Us uses a type of quick-time events during action scenes that play out dependent on how fast you are in-game. If you’re new to video games and unfortunately can’t press buttons without looking at the controller, you’ll probably get Bigby quite beaten up, essentially letting the bad guy get away. But the consequences in the action scenes aren’t the only thing evolved, as the engine that TellTale built with The Walking Dead is back and more apparent than ever; what you say, or do, will cost you and change how the story goes. The game presents you will several huge decisions to make that will eventually cost you, one being a life or death situation with a certain character.
The game’s main protagonist, Bigby Wolf, is completely different than Lee Everett in almost every way. Bigby is emotionally damaged by hundreds of years of life in the fairy tale world, but in Fabletown, despite looking human, the phrase of “Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf” is very, very true. The fables are very scared of their sheriff, Bigby, due to not only his past, but by the player’s choices. They can make him out to be a very ruthless and despicable animal. For example, near the beginning of the game, the player can decide whether Bigby is very strict about Mr. Toad not having glamour on (the spell that hides them from the mundies). Bigby is so much fun to play as, and his voice actor Adam Harrington delivers a fantastic performance that will only get better under emotional and stressful situations. Telltale’s casting has always been great, and it’s nice to see they are reusing some such as Melissa Hutchinson, who voiced Clementine in The Walking Dead.
Another one of my favorite parts of the game was actually the music and sound. Jared Emerson-Johnson has always been there for TellTale Games, but I didn’t exactly fall in love with his work until his work on Poker Night 2, which had gorgeously sounding music and some remixes that were absolutely brilliant. Emerson-Johnson does it again with The Wolf Among Us as his music sets a very stylistic tone that goes with the noir-esque setting in The Wolf Among Us’ city, but also there’s a distinctive “intro” with such a astonishing and beautiful theme. Music is a huge part of this murder-mystery game, and TellTale have nailed it once again with composter Jared Emerson-Johnson.
There’s really not much left to say about The Wolf Among Us without getting into spoiler territory that’ll ruin the surprise, but to me, TellTale was able to top the “pilot” to The Walking Dead in almost every way. The graphics, the gameplay and the story are all much more immersive than The Walking Dead’s initial outing was for me, and The Wolf Among Us just ends on a note that will shake Fables fans to the core. Undeniably, the graphics in The Wolf Among Us are fabulous. The comic book-esque art style is unbelievably beautiful, however it also felt like the “dynamic shadows” that most video games use these days somewhat interrupted that style, but the blend of realism and comic book-esque art (thanks to ambient occlusion) makes the game run and look beautiful, at least on the PC version.
The Wolf Among Us at five dollars an episode truly feels like a steal. It’s a short, but sweet cinematic style noire murder mystery following classic twists on your favorite fairy tales that’s driven by the choices you make. It’s unique art-style is something we rarely see in video games these days, and whilst it doesn’t quite match the style of the Fables comic book, this game has the potential to go to places that not even The Walking Dead could in regards to violence, character development and twists and turns.
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