Why The Wolf Among Us is Freakin’ Awesome
- Category: Games
- Published: Tuesday, 15 July 2014 20:25
- Written by Jubby
“Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?”
The Wolf Among Us is the latest game series from Telltale Games, the same makers of the fantastic The Walking Dead: The Game. The Wolf Among Us (TWAU) and The Walking Dead (TWD) actually share a lot in common, such as both being based on comic books. While TWD is based on a post-apocalyptic zombie story, TWAU is based on the comic called Fables, which is about fairytale characters, along with characters from folklore and legends, fleeing from their homes and coming to live in New York in the real world. They set up their own community and government and try to live as normal lives as possible, primarily based in an area called Fabletown. These being fairytale characters, they are almost immortal; they can be killed but it takes a hell of a lot to do so. We quickly find out both of these facts early on in this game. Yes, despite the characters all appearing in fairytales or folklore, this is very much an adult game with adult themes including; murder, prostitution, extortion, blackmail and plenty of swearing and violence – just giving you a heads up.
Be kind – give her a light
TWAU is actually a prequel, set about 30 years prior, to the first issue of Fables. This gives a little leeway with character interactions and story, allowing the writers to use characters not seen before in the comic and to give those that have featured a richer backstory. In TWAU you play as Bigby Wolf, the Big Bad Wolf of Red Riding Hood fame. He’s the sheriff and detective of Fabletown and keeping the peace lies squarely on his shoulders. It’s a classic approach to such a story as he’s a heavy smoker, a drinker and always wears a creased shirt with a loose tie. This is true noir style detective fiction and it’s wonderful to see. The seedy clubs, the dives, the renegade investigator all harken back to a 30’s theme of detective fiction that hasn’t been seen in ages. The colours all suit the setting perfectly, as do all the problems and tasks in you find in your way. Speaking of colours, the graphics in TWAU are absolutely fantastic, with the cell-shaded comic book styling of TWD perfected here (not to mention the game seems to run better than TWD did on original release).
The characters are all very well portrayed with pitch-perfect voice acting for each. Special mention must go to Snow White as I think her look and voice makes her one of the most perfect adaptations of a comic book character into a different medium I’ve ever seen. Bigby is similarly perfectly portrayed, and can be just as rough as you want him to be or, if you allow him, can show a softer side – especially towards Snow. The conversations you have with people are very well written and a lot of the choices are extremely tough as you know they will have long lasting repercussions on both the story and how the other characters view you. (Similarly to how in TWD Season One a lot of people will go along with whatever Clem said to appease her, a similar idea can easily be seen happening with Snow White in this game). Though some characters want you to do certain things, or in a certain order, it is ultimately up to you what you do when and people will live or die based on your decisions. Your choices matter in this game, just as much as they did in TWD.
The graphics really are cell-shaded perfection
While I’ve avoided saying much about the story (like TWD, TWAU is all about the story and characters), I will tell you that it is a murder mystery and that once you’ve played the first episode you will definitely want to know how deep the rabbit hole goes. While it may not convert those that dislike TWD’s style of story-driven gameplay, I cannot recommend this highly enough to fans of Telltale’s previous work and fans of noir fiction. You just have to choose: are you the little lapdog doing as you’re told, or are you the big bad wolf?
‘Til next time, this has been Josh writing for The Awesome Update.