Genre: Interactive adventure, animated series, choose and click
Release Date: 2013-2014
Developer / Publisher: Telltale Games
The Wolf Among Us is based on the Fables comic book series published by Vertigo, an imprint of DC Comics dealing with adult content. Within New York, characters from fairy tales such as the Big Bad Wolf, Blue Beard, Snow White, Beauty and the Beast (the so called “Fables”) have formed an underground community known as Fabletown. You play as Bigby Wolf, formerly known as the Big Bad Wolf, the unshaven chain smoking Sheriff of Fabletown who is tasked with preserving peace among Fables. When a series of gruesome murders occur on your doorstep, you’ll need a good dose of anger management and sniffing around to find the culprits…
Playability: As easy as reading comic books
The Wolf Among Us does not require particular skills to complete, although thoroughness and a bit of flair may be handy to unlock all achievements. Occasional decision trees will influence plot events and conversations but the great thing is that there is no right or wrong answer. Telltale collects statistics so that you can compare your own decisions to those of the rest of the community but you’re free to read your own interactive graphic novel. Clickable items are highlighted by circles which makes things so much easier than clicking everything on screen. The occasional quick time events will require a little bit of cursor dodging and repetitive pressing of the keyboard to fill up a power meter, but are overall very accessible.
Annoyance: Grim underbelly
The Wolf Among Us could well have been entitled the Wolf Within Us. It deals with the dark grim underbelly of New York, and of any human settlement or society. Fables are just a parable for dark tales of addiction, prostitution, trafficking, hustling and violence. If the characters were human beings rather than mystical creatures, the Wolf Among Us would probably even be more difficult to ingest. But thanks to the Big Bad Wolf, Snow White, the Little Mermaid and other fantastical creatures, it is easier to dismiss these stories as nothing that could happen closer to home. It often feels that the Wolf Among Us is taken straight from daily news, we all know how mad our World can truly be. The game contains some upsetting scenes that will make you want to grind your fangs.
Beauty: Gritty drawings
The Wolf Among Us has aggressive pencil drawing backed by convincing voice acting and a numbing beat. It reads and feels like an animated comic book and loads smoothly with only minimal interruptions between scenes. All characters come to life in small and big ways with failings, redemptions and endearments. At times Fabletown resembles a village microcosm rather than a subset of a larger metropolis. New York’s landmarks, crowds and shuffle are conspicuously absent from the storyline.
The Old Video Gamer’s Prattle: A page turning murder mystery 8/10
The Wolf Among Us relies on the polished frills of a bestselling comic book series, a classic suspenseful plot (if sometimes predictable), and persuasive acting. However, this game cannot be played by any odd soul as it contains disturbing moments that are eerily reminiscent of the darker sides of human cultures. If you reside in Pleasantville where all neighbours are friendly, where your boss is a Good Samaritan, where there is hardly any crime, then the storyline will feel like just another distant big studio yarn. However, if you’ve been around any large city on this planet, you’ll quickly realise that the Wolf Among Us cannot be dismissed as merely fables…