I can’t recall the last time I’ve been more pleasantly surprised to be so wrong about something as I was with TellTale Games’ The Wolf Among Us. As I said in my review of the first episode of the series, I expected the game to be a gritty werewolf horror story. After all, I didn’t know anything about the Fables series at the time and was drawing conclusions based solely on the title and artwork. When I dove into the game and started experiencing the incredibly well-developed world, I was instantly hooked.
I’m happy to report that the experience holds true through the final episode, Cry Wolf. If anything, my appreciation for the game and the world of the comic only deepened as I logged more hours on this incredible experience.
While the world-building done in The Wolf Among Us is impressive, it’s the story that really stands out. In the first episode, it appears that you’re investigating a serial killer, but as your investigation gains steam you learn that there is far, far more to the story than you initially thought. This all comes to a head in Cry Wolf, in which Bigby finally gets the whole story, and you learn a lot more about the world of the Fables.
Cry Wolf has an interesting structure. The first half of the episode is all action. There are fights, chases, and even more fights. This culminates in what I can only call a “boss fight”, in which we finally get to see Bigby in all his big, bad glory. It’s a lot of fun, even if it is a little over-reliant on quick-time events. The second half of the episode is much more muted, and focuses around the trial of the Crooked Man. While it’s not as viscerally exciting as the first half’s action, this is where we get a sense of just how well structured the world of The Wolf Among Us really is.
The trial itself is interesting. It’s an informal matter, with all the interested parties there and able to both voice their feelings on the subject, and cast a vote for the ultimate guilt or innocence of The Crooked Man. The jurors, for lack of a better world, are comprised of all major characters throughout The Wolf Among Us, with some being victims and others part of the investigation. While those characters who were part of the investigation have made up their minds, the victims are fair game.
What follows is a battle for the hearts and minds of the downtrodden. On one side is the ineffective bureaucracy of Fabletown, and on the other a kingpin. Where the government has failed them, the Crooked Man helped, but he did so only to enslave and build his power base.
This scene is at once those most powerful of the series, and the most frustrating. On the one hand, both sides make solid arguments, and I loved that fact that no one was truly innocent. This felt very realistic, and an indictment of our own government for its various failings. On the other hand, I felt that the jurors were far too easily swayed back and forth to seem realistic. This made the trial seem more like a game than the drama it was, and that’s a real shame.
The episode ends with a few more difficult choices, some powerful character moments, and a really cool twist that’s so subtle that a lot of people will likely miss it. I won’t spoil any of these elements, suffice it to say, they close out The Wolf Among Us in an extremely satisfying way, while leaving the world open for new stories.
Stay tuned next week for a video review of the game as a whole.