Cheap Game Tuesday: ‘The Wolf Among Us’
With the 5th and final chapter of this episodic story based adventure due out this week it’s high time to get into this gem if you haven’t already. Telltale Games have been producing these cartoony adventure games for a while, taking on classic franchises Sam and Max and Monkey Island before adding Jurassic Park and Back to the Future to their catalogue. They had a loyal following, many being hangers on from the heyday of the genre, but it was The Walking Dead that became a smash hit. The emotional and finely crafted five-part story was highly praised for its adult orientated story line, intense decision making system and satisfying conclusion.
For their follow up title Telltale turned once more to the realm of adult directed comics. Fables is a series that focuses on the refugees of a magical world, living in secret in our world, where they became part of our fiction. Fairy Tale characters make up the bulk of the population, and they struggle to remain hidden and rebuild their lives after the mysterious Adversary drove them into the ‘Mundane’ world.
The Wolf Among Us takes place in the late 1980s, preceding the events of the comic series, helpfully avoiding any plot holes this story may arise. This adds a great aesthetic to the game, the vivid pink and green colour scheme matches the animated style and gives the game a unique look. Players take control of Sheriff Bigby – formally known as a the Big Bad Wolf – at the beginning of the murder mystery. A prostitute has been found beheaded and his old rival the Woodsman is the prime suspect. So far so straight forward…but as the story has progressed the mystery has deepened. More victims have emerged and a conspiracy involving the Crooked Man is at the centre of it all. Bigby stands off against such unpleasant characters as Bloody Mary and The Jersey Devil before he can unravel everything.
Plenty of familiar faces make up the wide cast of characters for the player to interact with. Snow White, Blue Beard, Ichabod Crane, Jack, Beauty, Beast and others feature frequently with cameos from series regulars such as Flycatcher pass through. Grendel, the Little Mermaid, Georgie Porgie and the like also play key roles. The inclusion of a ‘Book of Fables’ helpfully provides background of characters and other items of interest, and it helps the newcomers to the world fill in the gaps. Needless to say existing fans will enjoy the experience more, but it’s open to everyone.
Cell-shaded graphics rarely look as good as this. The characters are perfectly designed and the world is packed with enough detail to warrant a second play through. Animation is a little blocky but nothing that will act as a deal breaker. Controls are through the WASD set up, but most of the time it’ll be pointing and clicking through the dialogue options. The only thing that frequently feels out of place is when Bigby smiles…it doesn’t look natural.