- Platform: XBLA(reviewed), PSN, PC
- Published by: Telltale Games
- Developed by: Telltale Games
- Genre: Adventure
- ESRB Rating: M For Mature
- Number of Players: 1
- Release Date: October 11th, 2013 XBLA, October 15th, 2013 PSN
Telltale Games officially created their first hit with The Walking Dead games that released last year, they became such a success they were awarded with several high profile Game Of The Year Awards. You’d figure they might stick with that series for a while, and we know they will continue with that franchise down the line. Right now they’ve decided to give us their take on Bill Willingham’s Fables comic book series. Does this series stand on its own, or will Telltale Games be forever tied to The Walking Dead?
At first glance, and if you played Telltale Games The Walking Dead series you might think this is just more of the same. Even though they are graphically similar, The Wolf Among Us actually has a different look than you might expect when you first see it. Sure it’s cell shaded like The Walking Dead, but the similarities end right there. The Wolf Among Us really has its own style and that’s more of a 1940’s noir, which is vastly different and often darker place than we ever saw in The Walking Dead series.
If you’re familiar with Bill Willingham’s Fables comic book series you’ll know that these aren’t the children’s stories you’re used to hearing, they are definitely intended for adults and the game stays true to that. Not only does the game stay true to the comics, it’s actually considered canon with the comics. This game is definitely for adults as there is smoking, drinking, murder and plenty of cursing to be found. The graphical style is nicely done, and you’ll often find yourself just checking out different areas in the game, exploring some of the dark beauty that is found throughout this version of New York City.
If you’re not familiar with the Fables comics, you are probably pretty familiar with some of the different versions of them. There is Snow White, The Big Bad Wolf, The Woodsman who sliced open the wolf, Tweedledum and Tweedledee, Beauty And The Beast, and a lot of other well known and some lesser known fables. Originally fables weren’t all cuddly and filled with happy endings as they are now days. Thanks to companies like Disney all we usually get are the Westernized versions of these, but in The Wold Among Us we get to see a grittier and darker version of these fables.
The story has you playing as Bigby Wolf, which stands for Big Bad Wolf, and he was the Big Bad Wolf from the Fables. The Fables left their world and live in ours, and Bigby Wolf is in charge of keeping the peace for all of the story characters. He’s the sheriff, and right from the start you get thrown into the action and you learn that he leads a pretty tough and quite lonely life. After the first chapter things really start to heat up as you’re thrown into a full on murder mystery and it’s your job to track down the clues and figure out who done it. Since most people know the back story to most of these characters, it’s kind of fun to see them in a different kind of atmosphere, and the characters are flawed, yet very likable. I don’t want to give away too much of the story, but it’ll leave you kinda ticked off at the end, there are twists and plot twists throughout.
If a character can’t fit in with society they have to find a witch to do a glamour on them so they look human, sifting through all the crime scenes for clues is definitely fun. There are a few downfalls with the game however, one of them being that this game is incredibly linear, even more linear than The Walking Dead games. The city and places are all so colorful and alive that you’ll want to explore them, but you simply can’t. The other problem with the game is the stuttering frame rate. This is a huge problem that I had with TWD series as well, the graphical style shouldn’t create such a strain on the frame rate. The Wold Among Us has a lot more action based QTE’s, which is something I’m not really a fan of at all. The frame rate stutters and sometimes skips around during these scenes and it makes it difficult to pull off, unintentionally difficult due to poor programming is something pretty unforgivable in my opinion.
For the most part the game is simple point and click, mixed with a fantastic narrative and great characters. The problem is that this is a video game, and there needs to be video game elements, and not just video game elements but elements that actually function and work well. Telltale Games is in the big leagues now, video games need more than a great story, they can’t have terrible controls or awkward mechanics. Sadly The Wolf Among Us has poor mechanics and a very poor frame rate, both of which take you out of the story quite a bit. The game is still worth playing through, especially if you liked The Walking Dead’s style of game. I just hope they tighten up some of these issues in the future, I don’t think gamer’s or reviewers are willing to put up with these issues in every single game without addressing them.