Few companies can boast a portfolio of brands like Telltale. From movies (Back to the Future, Jurassic Park) to TV shows (Law and Order, Game of Thrones) and comics (Walking Dead), Telltale has shown that they are the experts at creating original episodic adventures. The debut episode of The Wolf Among Us, based on the Fables comics, is a dark, exciting mystery that will leave you wanting more.
In the world of Fables, all of the fairytale stories from your childhood packed up and moved to New York City– provided they can blend in with the mundane human population. Bigby Wolf, a big bad policeman, enforces the law established by mayor King Cole, deputy mayor Ichabod Crane, and administrator Snow White.
At the start of the game, Bigby Wolf investigates a domestic dispute between the Woodsman, his old nemesis from the Little Red Riding Hood story, and a mysterious Fable who nobody can identify at first. This drama leads to the first of several quick-time battles, where you have to quickly swipe or tap on the screen to perform brutal fight moves. When Bigby’s in a fight, his eyes will glow yellow and he’ll bare his claws and teeth, a glimpse of the animal that he struggles to contain.
From there, the story begins to gather steam, with several surprising twists and turns. Bigby and Snow work together to investigate the odd crimes of their community, searching for evidence and interviewing suspects as a team. The Wolf Among Us is a casual adventure game, so there are rarely more than a few items to investigate in any scene, and the story will advance automatically regardless of how thoroughly you do your job.
As a result, The Wolf Among Us places a much greater emphasis on storytelling over gameplay. The visuals are crisp, cel-shaded 3d models in the style of the comics, and the audio is incredibly successful at immersing you in this fantasy world. We especially loved the professional voice acting– every character sounds perfectly suited for their role.
While there’s not a lot to explore and investigate, a few scenes do offer some branching options. When you’re interrogating a witness, you can select dialogue that will expose their lies, or threaten them and leave a lasting negative impression. The game tells you when your actions have long-term consequences, but those effects won’t be seen until future episodes. Like Walking Dead, this is a series that makes you wait for a more impactful payoff.
The first episode of The Wolf Among Us is very successful in drawing you into a unique world with its movie-like production values and direction. However, it’s also a brief tale, and it starts multiple storylines without concluding any. You’ll have to tune into future episodes to find out what happens to the main characters and their investigation. We’re optimistic that later episodes will be worth the careful setup, but that doesn’t make the wait any easier.