Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games
# of Players: 1
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)
Since my comics reading has dropped of considerably over the past decade plus, I’d not even heard of Vertigo’s Fables series (so shoot me, but not until I finish this review) until a few people in my circles started buzzing about this game and now that I’ve finally reached and competed the first chapter in my stupidly long backlog (it’s stretching into 2015 at this point, no thanks to irresistable Steam, Desura, gog.com and assorted cheap indie bundle sales), I want to go read everything I’ve missed out on. Well, that or get this time travel stuff sorted out so I can play at my leisure and post reviews before games even come out.
Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah . Once again, Telltale Games swings for the fences and knocks it out of the park with an adventure game fans will be more than pleased with and those new to the experience will groove on for its great, funny and mature plot, excellent visuals and gameplay that combines text-based and quick time sequences almost seamlessly. Even if you don’t like comics for any reason, The Wolf Among Us and its blend of film noir styling in a fantasy New York City populated by humans and fairytale characters is a hard pull to ignore…
The premise here is the initial attraction of playing Sheriff Bigby Wolf (yes, THE Big Bad Wolf) as he investigates a particularly brutal murder and tries to keep the other Fables under his watch in check, but it’s that aforementioned Telltale blend of story, gameplay and beautiful stylized comic visuals that makes this a ride worth taking. As you can see from that video above, this isn’t your bedtime fairytale “lite” material at all and yes, things get off to a pretty wild start. But the more mature theme absolutely works and yanks you in tho this first chapter so well that you may actually be more than a little annoyed at the speed in which this first chapter ends. Then again, there are four more to go and if they’re as fine and fun as this one is, The Wolf will be a welcome sight in many gamers’ homes when each of the remaining episodes drop.
If you’ve played and enjoyed The Walking Dead games from Telltale, you can pretty much can expect to get the same style of gameplay here. The blending of old-school dialog-driven and item combining/usage adventure game elements with quick time event based “action” sequences allows players of any skill level to hop in and enjoy the ride. There are plenty of automatic save points if you’re a total newbie and as there’s no actual frustrating “penalty” for screwing up a choice other than a chance for a do-over, it’s quite easy to get caught up in the story and quirky characters. As this IS a game for adults, expect a lot of ear-burning swearing, some bloody bits (hey, Bigby IS a wolf and some of the folks he meets don’t like it when he’s breathing) and other meaty mature content that proves this isn’t a fairy tale of the toddler variety.
The replay value is for me, indeed the same as picking up a comic or magazine with a serialized chapter story, blowing through the read (this one takes maybe two to three hours to play) and then socking it away until the next installment arrives. While you can replay the game as many times as you like, your save data is overwritten based on the choices you’ve made so there’s a form of continuity as the overall arc progresses. I believe there’s a way to override this, but I’m playing this game with my decisions as is because I want to go back after all the episodes have been released and play again making completely different decisions. As with The Walking Dead, you’re paying for the season (a steal at $24.99), the game runs on PC and Macs and you get a nice collectors DVD of the game when the season is over and done for a small shipping fee.
So, YES, this is a late “Buy It!” recommendation, but blame my big pile of virtual games and me going at that pile sideways and from a few other angles. The ending of Episode One is a nice kick in the pants that sets up Episode Two nicely, but I can see some eyeballs falling out of sockets because it’s a bit of a “What the?” moment. You kids and your need to have all the suspense ruined, heh. You’ll get used to NOT having it always spoiled, I bet. Or I hope. Anyway, go meet the Wolf and watch it that you don’t piss him off too much. He’s really looking out for you at the end of the day…