'The Wolf Among Us' Review - Chapter One: Faith
I’ve been a huge fan of Fables since high school. Huge. As in, going on message boards, printing out fan art, and marking when the next issue would be out on my calendar. The struggled of Fabletown and the fairy tale characters that inhabited it were so exciting to me. I felt anxious when Snow White was shot in the head by Goldilocks, annoyed when Prince Charming decided to run for mayor, and thoroughly depressed when Boy Blue was tortured by the woman he thought he loved. But no two characters caused more strife than the star-crossed romantics, Deputy Mayor Snow White and Sheriff Bigby Wolf.
The two spent much of the early years of Fables bickering, protecting each other, and building a genuine friendship. Bigby, the reformed Big Bad Wolf, guarded the town from outside and inside dangers, while Snow dealt with the political drama of Fabletown. So, of course I was excited to discover that not only was there a Fables computer game, it would be staring the badass sheriff himself.
The Wolf Among Us is the latest game from Telltale Games, whose The Walking Dead game was received with critical acclaim. It follows Bigby and his sidekick Snow as they try to uncover the killer of a gruesome crime. While the game is clearly non-canon, there are some indications that it takes place before the events of issue #1 of Fables. (For instance, Ichabod Crane, in all his gangly, creepy glory, is the Deputy Mayor and Snow is just his overworked assistant. In the comics, Crane had long since been ousted and exiled from Fabletown.) Otherwise, the familiar characters of Fables are allies, suspects, and sworn enemies of Bigby, just as they would be in the comics.
If you’ve never picked up a single issue of Fables, you’ll have no problem picking up on the dynamics between characters and the gravity of the setting. Everything you need to know to enjoyably play the game and immerse yourself in the story is laid out simply. Anything you need to know about the characters and their history is given out in hints, some subtle, some not, as you follow Bigby through his home and work life. Although the world of Fabletown is large and includes thousands of lives, the story of the game feels small, as it only really follows Bigby and his interactions. However, I’m betting that once the chapters go on the world of the game will grow.
Only the first chapter has been introduced so far, with one being introduced monthly. There will be five chapters total, just like in The Walking Dead game, each with about 2 hours of play. The player gets to ask questions, respond to people, and make certain decisions, just like any sort of detective. Every choice you make can affect the outcome of your game, although the major landmarks of the game stay the same. There’s even a bit of fighting that can end with Bigby’s death.
The graphics of The Wolf Among Us are impressive, leaving the player absorbed within the pages of a comic rather than a game. The play itself is smooth, except for a few moments when the cursor lagged a bit. If your cursor lagged like mine, it can be frustrating during fight scenes. My biggest complaint was with the ending, but the overall the experience was so enthralling that I’m willing to give the game the benefit of the doubt for future chapters.