Mini-Review: The Wolf Among Us, Episode 1

The Wolf Among Us

Telltale Games just released the first part of their follow-up to our favorite game of 2012, The Walking Dead, and I think it’s safe to say they’re still in the zone and only getting better. The Wolf Among Us is a prequel to Bill Willingham’s long-running Fables series, which focuses on the lives of creatures from fables, stories and legends who escaped from their home world into the “real world” and are hiding their true identities from the “mundies” around them. The main character of the game and comics is Bigby Wolf, formerly known as The Big Bad Wolf, now reformed and working in human form as sheriff for the Fables community. He’s gruff, dangerous, and chain-smokes his way through the entire game.

Knowledge of the comics isn’t necessary to enjoy The Wolf Among Us, but reading them will help you catch a few references here and there. Readers of the comics may also be interested to know that the game is considered canonical. The first episode sets up a noirish murder mystery occurring about twenty years before the start of the comics, in the sleazy, neon-filled 1980s. The art style and music are pitch-perfect for the material; as soon as the game loaded up, I already knew I was going to love the music, and by the end I was ready to drop money on a soundtrack album (not that one exists right now, of course). It took me just over two hours to finish the first episode, and I’m already considering replaying it so that I can try different options.

In some ways I think I might actually prefer this first episode of The Wolf Among Us to The Walking Dead. Shocking, I know. Part of it is that The Wolf Among Us builds on and refines the style first perfected in the previous game. The same tense dialog choices are there, as are the split-second decisions and visceral quick-time events, but the art and music are even better, and the world of Fables is far weirder than anything in The Walking Dead. That extra bit of oddity piled on top of a gritty mystery is right up my alley. Several reviews I’ve read call out the fact that Bigby doesn’t have a moral compass like Clementine to influence his decisions, and it’s definitely true that this makes Bigby’s world that much more of a moral grey area. If you liked The Walking Dead, you should definitely check out The Wolf Among Us.

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Someday I will die under a pile of books, movies and music. Until then, I'll eke out my time spent in sunny Los Angeles, California by working on the Great American Blog Post.

4 thoughts on “Mini-Review: The Wolf Among Us, Episode 1”

  1. Oh man, I’m dying to play this. I’ve been waiting for a similar experience to the Walking Dead, and I’m glad to hear this delivers. Thanks for the write-up, Jeff!

  2. Man, I was avoiding this like the plague, thinking it was just another Werewolf/Vampire/Zombie thing. Then I started watching a play through of it and took back everything I had thought about it within 5 minutes. Picking it up soon.

  3. Funny thing is, I ended up re-reading the first three volumes of the comics after I finished the game, and the game is actually much darker and moodier. The comics open with a murder mystery arc, too, but it never feels quite so disturbing. I do think the comics get darker as they go on, though.

  4. Man I loved this so much. The choices aren’t life versus death like The Walking Dead, and it’s a refreshing change. There was also an interesting mechanic that involved detective work, where you have to pose the right questions in order to catch a character in a lie (and it’s not obvious which ones to ask). Also anything film noir always has my interest, so any fans of that won’t be disappointed. I was worried that Telltale wouldn’t be able to maintain TWD’s quality, but I agree with Jeff: this episode was stronger than the first episode of TWD. I expect great things from this.

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