Game Review: The Wolf Among Us: Chapter One- FAITH (2013)

…And once again, Telltale Games does not disappoint. After nearly a year-long hiatus in producing storytelling games, Telltale brings us another dramatic side-interpretation of a well-written comic series, this time in the form of FABLES.  Set in a world where our favorite legends are not only real, but living in a small section of modern-day New York known as Fabletown, A Wolf Among Us brings us into the shoes of the Sheriff, Bigby Wolf. Guess you can’t guess which fairy-tale antagonist he is. Definitely not Rumplestiltskin, that’s what I’ll say, and hey, I don’t even need to spoiler tag that. Of course, he’s the Big Bad Wolf, looking awfully human these days, but still not free of his past, even though he is Fabletown’s lead/only lawman. The game starts off on an exceptionally rough evening for Bigby, when he’s called in to deal with a domestic disturbance that involves his longtime “friend”, The Woodsman, and the night only gets worse…

Truth be told, this is likely the same greeting I’d give someone who cut me open, poured rocks in my belly, stitched me up, and threw me in a raging river while still alive, hundreds of years later….

What Works:

So friggin’ much. As a fan of the FABLES franchise for several years now, I was crazy hyped for this game. Luckily, this game seems so fantastically crafted that it can cater to both the well-accustomed to the series, as well as initiates, just like Telltale’s Walking Dead game, filling the newcomers in on the basic logistics of the world, while providing enjoyable additions to the mythos for the experienced. Fan favorites pop up, and never-before seen, but mentioned characters introduce themselves, making an interesting tapestry of a world.

The game’s soundtrack and visuals are outstanding as well. Lit and colored like a neo-noir film with 80’s sensibilities mixed with it’s comic counterpart, it just oozes style. It’s synth-styled score doesn’t exactly hurt either, reminding me of all the good parts of DRIVE… which, thinking it over, were primarily the soundtrack. Unlike the Walking Dead game, there weren’t really any puzzles to solve in this chapter, but that could change in the remaining 4. However, this lack of puzzles was replaced with plenty of QTE’s (Quick Timed Events), which, shockingly, I didn’t even slightly hate. Normally I despise QTE’s because they seem like cheap ways for game companies to both ruin controllers and amp up the difficulty unfairly, but here, they flow pretty well into the stories’ combat and chase sequences, and are often relatively intuitive. Like the aforementioned Walking Dead game, The Wolf Among Us’ meatiest segments are it’s story segments, where Bigby is often forced to choose either dialogue or a quick response. On a first playthrough, it will likely lead to a quick, naturalistic response for the player, but on a second or third, you could easily play through Bigby’s story however you’d like. If you’d want to embrace Bigby’s past, and act more savagely, you could, or vice versa, act kindly and understanding. Each decision you make in the game, whether timed or not, will make a difference in your personal story… or so the game says.

Bufkin debates throwing the book at Bigby…

What Doesn’t:

As much as I want to go on and on about the greatness of this game, it isn’t perfect. Not quite. It suffers from some downright painful loading times that happen whenever a new segment begins, as well as some graphical glitches that occur around the same time. Maybe it’ll be patched soon, maybe it’s something you only encounter on the Xbox version, but for now, it’s there.

Final Score:

Legendary

To use a Bigby-ism: it’s a damn good game. Though plagued by some occasional loading issues and graphics errors, it’s still absolutely worth your 5 bucks. 9/10

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