Big Bad is always sucking on a cancer stick.
At the end of my Walking Dead review, I mentioned my impulse purchase of Telltale Game’s other episodic game series, The Wolf Among Us. In my defense, it was on sale. And, thankfully, I really like it so far.
Being a fan of their Walking Dead series, I was no stranger to the game play mechanics. It didn’t take me long to establish that it’s 99% Walking Dead in terms of conversations, morality, interacting with the environment, battle scenes, etc. But unlike The Walking Dead, Wolf Among Us takes place in a very different setting that I particularly like.
While Walking Dead takes advantage of the over-used zombie apocalypse setting, Wolf Among Us settles very comfortably into the common “gritty detective who-done-it” world. Except the characters are fairy tale characters (known as “Fables”) who have escaped from FairyTale Land… or whatever. To me, it’s like the illegitimate lovechild of Once Upon a Time and Sin City. For the record, TWAU is actually a prequel to an already established comic book series that I know nothing about. So far, not having read the comic book series has not impeded my enjoyment.
TWAU follows gritty detective tropes like, super hard. The main character, Bigby, is the Big Bad Wolf reformed as the new Sheriff in town. Bigby, Big Bad Wolf… get it? Being Mr. Gritty Detective, he has a cigarette permanently attached to his lips, and a 5 o’clock shadow to go along with it. Oh, and a totally sexy voice. And perfect hair, even after getting thrown out of a second story window.
These cliches didn’t really bother me. There’s a couple of instances when the game’s characters sort of allude to it, but it doesn’t really make fun of itself. They’re too busy making allusions to fairy tales to poke fun at themselves, I suppose. I normally roll my eyes when there’s too many tropes in a game or movie and it doesn’t poke fun at itself… But the fascinating dialogue and characters make up for it.
The art style is very similar to The Walking Dead, except the way in which colors are used is almost mesmerizing sometimes. The music is also perfect for the setting.
There’s something about Telltale’s games that makes me super anxious about making decisions when talking to characters and responding to situations. I know it’s silly, since the story arc will undoubtedly circle around to whatever the conclusion has to be, but I can’t help myself. I hate disappointing certain characters, yet I’m a complete bastard to others. This really says something about their writing, because I just came from 50 hours of Ni No Kuni where I wasn’t emotionally invested AT ALL in anything that happened and I barely read half of the dialogue.
I’m going to finish the season before recommending this game to anyone, but I think fans of TTG’s The Walking Dead and/or edgy who-done-it detective suspense stories (or, alt-universe fairy tales characters?) will probably enjoy this. I know I’m digging what I’ve seen so far.