Rated M for Mature
Distributed by Telltale Games
If you’ll remember back in 2011, Telltale Games Senior VP of Marketing’s Steve Allison said they were working on a game based on Bill Willingham’s comic book series Fables… then it was postponed… over and over again.
THEN in 2012, Telltale went to New York Comic-Con with the announcement that Fables was indeed being made but it would no longer be known as Fables AND get a new name sometime in February 2013 – that name?
The Wolf Among Us… which is the reason for the season.
After a few more pushed dates and Telltale’s admission that TWAO took a little longer than they originally hoped due to the MASSIVE widespread success of their last episodic game based on The Walking Dead, TWAO finally came to life… and it is fucking AMAZING.
Much like The Walking Dead game, TWAO is choice-based strategy game and Telltale makes sure to tell you right up front that the game is tailored to the choices you make, as I learned when I went through the episode a second time and found out WAY more information about certain characters that I had missed the first time around. TWAO is BEAUTIFUL to look at and it’s exactly how I imagined a moving graphic novel would look – thick, accented (and sometimes sharp) lines spread across the landscape made even the smallest items on the screen pop with life.
If you remember from my last article, TWAO is set before occurrences in the first issue of the Fables comic book, you are Bigby Wolf (a.k.a. The Artist Formerly Known As The Big Bad Wolf), who (after being exiled from the land of fairy tales), becomes sheriff of a secret community in NYC called Fabletown and hilariously enough, Snow White is his boss. Along with dealing with keeping the peace in this hidden society filled with mythical creatures and characters, Wolf must make sure the “normal world” or “mundies” (their version of “muggle”) NEVER knows about or finds Fabletown… but with guys like Colin (one of The Three Little Pigs who chain-smokes like a mo’facka) and a twitchy Mr Toad who loves his only son and LOVES boosting cars.
The storyline for the first released episode, “Faith”, introduces you to a number of characters you know from tales like the aforementioned Snow White, Three Little Pigs and Mr. Toad alongside Beauty and The Beast, Bluebeard, and The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow – but the one featured in this episode was one I’d never heard of before, Allerleirauh – German for “All kinds of fur” – that reeled me in. I can’t tell you anymore about it because if I did, it’d ruin the experience for you.
The gameplay itself is fairly simplistic – your controller’s buttons or four selected hotkeys are for making choices, fighting or moving things when cued and your joystick is for the basic walking or duck/dive/dodging things. When looking for clues, you’ll get a cross-like target that you sweep across the screen until a circle appears and it’s then you can look, grab, ask things, etc. There’s also a section in the menu where you can see how many other players made the same choices you did – so if you feel bad for being a jerk, chances are you’re not alone.
BE SURE to sweep the room a few times as some of these clues will give up entries to “The Book Of Fables” which is like an inventory of characters that you can go back and access time and time again… and if you collect all entries, it garners you a 30 pt achievement (more on that in a minute).
My ONLY issues with the game thus far is that when you normally play a demo and decide to buy the full game (or in this case, a six-chapter episode), you unlock whatever achievements earned and continue on from where the demo left off. In TWAO’s demo, you play chapter 1 then are given the option to unlock the full game; unfortunately once you do that, you’re made to repeat that first chapter… which is a little annoying but also gives you the chance to make some different choices. The other issue is the load time seemed a little longer than normal and at times the characters were a little choppy in their movements but considering how beautiful and intense the game is, these are things that I’m sure will be improved upon by Episode 2.
The one feature I REALLY enjoy is “rewind”, where you can go back and play selected chapters (loaded in a different save file, of course) and make different choices to find out more and at times, changes the way you view people and situations. And as playing the first episode from end-to-end takes about an hour, you have PLENTY of time to go back and try it again and again! Rewind also comes in handy when it comes to completing the “Novice Librarian” achievement, where you unlock all the Book of Fables entries in Episode 1… more on that in a minute, I PROMISE.
I gotta tell ya, I got more entertainment with my $5 (the cost per episode) in one hour than I did in the last three movies I went to see in the theatre; I actually paused the game in order to buy the season pass.
OKAY! As promised, here’s my little pro-tip: one of the Book of Fables unlocks is a little tricky as it’s part of two in the same chapter and for some reason, you can’t unlock two at the same time so all I’m gonna say is this… after your fight with a certain so-and-so in Chapter 6, you have the option to rip his arm off or walk away. Should you choose to walk away, finish the chapter (as there’s only one 2 minute scene after that), go back, use the “rewind” and opt to rip his arm off. And if you ripped it off first time around, use rewind and walk away; then you’ll get your “Novice Librarian” or whatever they’re calling it on PS3 and PC.
The Wolf Among Us is well worth your time but be warned, if you think you can play this game with your kids, guess again – we’re talking violence and a lot of swearing/adult situations; this ain’t no family friendly type of game… so if you wanna explain to your kid why someone they know and love is now dead, good luck with that. Remember having to console your kid when Snape killed Dumbledore?
The first episode impressed me so much, I went to my local comic book store and bought the first two editions of Fables and if a game can do THAT, that’s the sign of a well made comic book to ANYthing adaptation.
So get off your ass and head to PSN, XBL or PC/Windows and get this game; you WON’T be sorry… it’s a total blast.
4 1/2 out of 5