Telltale really are great at what they do. Not only have they brought the point-and-click genre to a much more modern place, but they’ve done it well and, while the genre still suffers put alongside the more action-packed shooters out there, The Wolf Among Us offer every bit as much tension and excitement as any other genre out there.
The Wolf Among Us is set in an alternate New York of sorts, where fables, such as Little Red Riding Hood, Bluebeard Snow White and the titular Big Bad Wolf live alongside regular Joes. They use a substance called glamour to make themselves look human, and have thus fit into the society of humans for hundreds of years. However, something is afoot. After many years of relative peace, it appears that the fable’s lives are being turned upside down with the appearance of a mysterious killer. Your role, as Bigby (Big Bad Wolf), is to uncover the secrets surrounding the deaths of fables, and bring the killer to justice.
Your story plays out in a cross between point-and-click and quick-time events in the fashion populated by Telltale’s other big franchise, The Walking Dead. This involves responding in real time to conversations, poking around crime scenes, and digging up a little history and relevant information around subjects. Exactly how you do this varies greatly. One moment you might be working your way studiously through a library for a history on the victim, and the next you may be running down another fable in an effort to beat information out of them.
What really sets this apart from The Walking Dead is that there seems to be much more freedom and far more uniqueness than in the spin-off to AMC’s hit zombie series. Characters are infinitely more individual, scenarios more unexpected, and the narrative, having more freedom to move, takes you on a much more fun journey. The main protagonist, Bigby, is an enjoyable character to play, mixing all the elements of a lovable tough-guy into one supernatural bundle. Even the more fable-related elements of the game, with humans turning into demons and whatnot, fit so nicely into the plot, it’s easy to suspend your disbelief.
Graphically, again, The Wolf Among Us takes a step up from The Walking Dead. It’s a touch more stylised, and the setting makes for a livelier environment. Indeed, much of the joy of the game comes from seeing such well rounded-out characters come to life in such a vivid way. One of the key advantages this game has over others in the genre is that it feels like you can go anywhere with the story. Within just a few hours of playing, I was being taken on adventures that were completely new, far beyond the standard tropes in the genre.
Obviously, one of the most notable features of A Wolf Among Us is the stunning acting. Genuinely amongst the best in the industry, this kind of storytelling really puts a smile on your face throughout. At no point are you bored or disinterested with any of the goings on. If nothing else, you’re dying to find out about any one of the numerous characters involved in the plotline.
I guess if you could level a criticism at A Wolf Among Us, it would be in the narrative itself. While, yes, it is enjoyable throughout, the nature of the episodic content mean the stories drag on a little, with loose ends that you wish weren’t present. However, this is a minor niggle, and probably more to do with the nature of popular media in general, rather than a key mistake by Telltale. In all, I can highly recommend A Wolf Among Us as a refreshing take on the point-and-click genre. Don’t expect this to be anything else other than a few quick-time events and some interactive storytelling, but if you’re craving strong stories and great characters, there are few better games out there at the minute.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox 360 code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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