As Bigby, your investigation into the murder, as well as the victim, will reveal darker truths about the Fables' new lives here in our world, as well as secrets within the Fable community itself. Vague, I know, but I don't want to spoil any of the chapter's many surprises. As with The Walking Dead, most of The Wolf Among Us is driven by dialog choices, with characters remembering how you've responded to certain situations. The decisions you make change how the game develops, adding weight to even minor interactions like loaning someone a little money.
Bigby is a very physical animal, so expect to get into a few fights during your investigation by way of quick-time-events. The controls for these scenes start off a little awkward, as it's not immediately clear what you're supposed to be doing. (Hint: The thumbstick symbol is for the left thumbstick, the reticule symbol is for the right thumbstick.) It's also not always obvious whether or not you've done the move correctly, but there's enough wiggle room in the scenes for you to screw up a few times and still have things end up they way they're meant to. During a brawl with the Woodsman (the very same guy who rescued Little Red Riding Hood back in the day), I wasn't entirely sure if getting thrown across the room was the result of me nailing the control prompt or missing it, but the fight ended with me as victor, so apparently I got enough of the QTE's right. There are only a handful of these events sprinkled throughout "Faith," but you'll have mastered them before the end of the two-hour episode.
The quick-time-events allow for some high-adrenaline sequences, but waiting for the on-screen prompt means you have to take your eyes off the gorgeous animation. The Wolf Among Us
is glorious in its super-saturated colors and thick black lines, evoking graphic novels without being a blatant copy/paste of the art style. Pretty as it is, though, Wolf Among Us
is all about the voice acting. Making human characters into people is great, and all, but when you can make it feel totally normal to be conversing with a talking toad, you've really done something ... well, magical. A scene where Bigby discusses his life choices with an enormous talking pig – one of the Three Little Pigs, no less – should be utterly ridiculous, but thanks to the commitment of the voice actors, it's really quite poignant.
In addition to his unique occupational hazards, Bigby has more than a few personal demons following him around. He's got plenty of history with the Fables, all of it bad, and despite the fact that everyone was granted immunity when they fled the Homelands, Fables live a long time and they're not prone to forgiveness. Unable to escape the lingering effects of giving in to his true nature, Bigby nevertheless has a clear desire to do right by Fabletown, which makes him a fascinating protagonist for Wolf Among Us
. Even in The Walking Dead
, it was pretty easy to pick a morality for Lee and stick to it, but it's not so clear-cut with Bigby.
This is where a foreknowledge of the Fables comics may actually work against you as a player. The Wolf Among Us
takes place about 20 years before the first Fables comic, and knowing where Bigby would be headed at times made me feel like I had to pick a certain approach. I know who Bigby is
, so I oftentimes found myself tying to best determine what he once was
. Knowing the Fables stories also adds richness to the environment, however; I couldn't help but smile when I walked into the Business Office for the first time and Bufkin
– one of the
flying monkeys – flew down to say hello. Don't be afraid to go into Wolf Among Us
completely fresh, though. Everything you need to know about the world and its inhabitants is right there in front of you, and you don't need to have seen a single page of the comics to enjoy pursuing the mystery set before you.
"Faith" is the perfect beginning to a new adventure from Telltale, effortlessly pulling you in and making you invested in protecting these curious creatures from our storybooks. Bigby isn't your ordinary lawman, but there's nobody else you'd want on this case.
One last thing, fellow Fables fans, regarding the ending, which I beg you not to spoil: According to Telltale, "We are working with Bill Willingham, and yes, it is canon." You may now begin freaking out.
This review is based on the Xbox Live Arcade version of The Wolf Among Us, provided by Telltale Games. The PC and XBLA versions will be released on October 11, 2013. A PSN release is slated for October 15.
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