The Wolf Among Us Proves There's Still A Little Magic Left In Fables [REVIEW]
After tearing through all five chapters of The Walking Dead in as many nights, just before the July debut of the game's 400 Days DLC, there was little question in my mind that I'd make my way around to the first chapter of The Wolf Among Us at some point.
I'm not a particularly patient person, so I was hesitant to dive into The Wolf Among Us at launch -- historically, I've been adverse to playing episodic games before an entire season is available -- but holy crap am I thankful that I didn't wait any longer to check out the first episode of Telltale Games' prequel to Fables. Not only did I discover an awesome new franchise but, after a few hours with The Wolf Among Us, I'll be among those who become living Fry memes anytime a new Telltale Games project hits the PlayStation Store, Steam or Xbox Live.
The Wolf Among Us cast players as Bigby Wolf, former bad guy turned sheriff of Fabletown whose primary job responsibility seems to be ensuring each fairy tale refugee maintains his/her "glamour" -- the magical spell that gives non-humans the appearance of your average NYC resident. He's responsible for general peacekeeping too but, thanks to the near-immortality of Fabletown's residents, Bigby doesn't often find himself responding to reports of violent crime. Then a head shows up on the steps of Fabletown's primary administrative building, and everything sort of spirals downhill from there.
You'll spend the bulk of The Wolf Among Us Episode One investigating said murder, meeting dozens of familiar faces along the way, and frequently be called upon for the sort of on-your-feet decision-making that defined Telltale Games' first season of The Walking Dead. The game can be played with mouse and keyboard or your choice of Steam-compatible gamepads, and features a dialogue-heavy mixture of social, combat and exploration elements.
As with several of Telltale's previous projects, the decisions you make will ultimately do the most to shape your Wolf Among Us gameplay experience, though it remains to be seen whether or not players' choices will ultimately have the same sort of impact as they did on the fate of Lee Everett. They do have some noticeable impact on several of the first chapter's side stories, but players don't appear to have any ability to alter the final outcome of The Wolf Among Us Episode One.
Fortunately, the blend is just enough to keep things from ever really feeling stale during the two and a half hours that Steam says I needed to complete the first chapter of The Wolf Among Us. I also thought Telltale Games did a great job of introducing players to the world of Fables, or at least the version of Fabletown that exists in The Wolf Among Use, without throwing off the general pacing and flow of the game.
Unfortunately, I wasn't familiar with the Fables comic series prior to playing The Wolf Among Us, so I can't speak on the game's honoring of important franchise lore; however, Telltale hasn't exactly done a disservice to the myriad properties its worked on in the past. If the Wolf Among Us dev team made any major blunders, feel free to let me know in the comments section, but know that a lack of prior familiarity did not (to my knowledge) in any way impede my ability to enjoy the game.
From everything I've seen, fans of the Fables series should find a worthy prequel to Bill Willingham's ongoing interpretation of characters from some of the world's most famous fairy tales, myths and legends. I'm sure there will be some fans who are more familiar with the Fables franchise, who won't necessarily enjoy what is essentially the pilot of an episodic game series based on work they're already quite knowledgeable about, but things only look to improve from here.
Even those who aren't familiar with Fables should find plenty to love in The Wolf Among Us, provided they enjoyed Telltale Games' recent take on The Walking Dead and/or similar point-and-click adventure games that tend to focus more on storytelling and character interaction than combat scenarios. Like The Walking Dead, The Wolf Among Us does have its fair share of action scenes, but also manages to introduce the world of Fables in a way that leaves you practically salivating for the next chapter in the series.
Personally, I've already gone one step farther and ordered a few of the Fables graphic novels. I mean, what am I supposed to do, wait patiently for Telltale to release the next chapter of The Wolf Among Us?
Because that's not happening.
Have you already had a chance to play the first chapter of The Wolf Among Us for yourself? Did you run out and buy one or more Fables comic books and/or trade paperbacks after finishing the first chapter, too? Can't believe we gave The Wolf Among Us a perfect score?
Let us know in the comments section!
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