Point-and-click adventures are the Cinderella story of the industry. They thrived in the nineties, but fell off the face of the Earth as gaming exploded into the multi-billion dollar medium is it today. Lately though, that’s been changing. Titles like Heavy Rain, L.A. Noire, and the recently released Beyond: Two Souls, are showing that this genre is far from dead. The best example of this a point-and-click game about the dead: The Walking Dead. Telltale went from a joke company into the industry’s sweetheart with last year’s Game of the Year based on the popular comic books. Well, they’re back again with a new adventure, this time based on Bill Willingham’s Fables comic series called The Wolf Among Us. And if this first episode is any indication, we’re in for one hell of an adventure again.
Fables is all about, you guessed it, popular fables. It’s just a more realistic version of them. As the population of the planet has increased, these fables, who live for quite some time, find themselves existing in an increasingly smaller world. They can no longer frolic and continue on in their fable-making ways, so they’ve relocated to the South Bronx in New York City, and thanks to a magic spell called Glamour, their existence is kept from the humans, or Mundies.
You play as Bigby Wolf A.K.A. the Big Bad Wolf. He’s long since retired from his days of trying to eat Little Red Riding Hood and blowing down houses made of straw, and now spends his miserable life as the chain-smoking sheriff of Fabletown. After an all-out brawl with the Woodsman, Bigby and Snow White discover a murder, the first for Fabletown in years, and seek out the culprit. It’s a beautifully simplistic and wonderfully gritty noir tale that will have you intrigued from the beginning and gasping for air upon its conclusion.
There are several moments where the game drags and will have you stifling yawns though. “Faith” is filled with action-packed moments that keep you on edge (thanks to QTEs) but, several times, the episode will revert to uninteresting crime-scene investigations that will have you looking at clues for an extended period of time. With the game’s short length (two hours), it’s best to keep these moments as brief as possible, especially given as this franchise isn’t as morbidly depressing or built on character development as much as the Walking Dead is.
Thankfully, you’ll trudge through these moments as you’ll always be wanting to see what new fable lies around the corner. In “Faith,” they introduce quite a few, and it’s fascinating to see them jump off the pages and start being jaded, foul-mouthed adults. This is largely thanks to Telltale’s great writing. They had you caring and crying about characters in The Walking Dead, and will have you mesmerized by the mythology in The Wolf Among Us.
Speaking of The Walking Dead, Telltale has kept the gameplay relatively the same for The Wolf Among Us. It plays a lot smoother than The Walking Dead, but is still contingent on your choices. Like mentioned earlier, you’ll have to keep your hands at the ready as Bigby will be dodging fists left and right, but other than that, just be ready to make a dialogue choice before the time meter runs out. One new gameplay aspect in The Wolf Among Us is that Bigby is given choices in how to carry out the investigation in a certain order. Your choices can either help or hurt the case, and possibly lead another fable to their death. It’s an added bit of pressure and makes your choices seem more worthwhile and will have you replaying it to see different outcomes.
It may make eyelids heavy in a few spots, but The Wolf Among Us has made an impressive debut, and this is the first episode, so hopefully it’s laying the groundwork for the future. If you’re looking for a change in formula, look elsewhere. If you want more of that Walking Dead style in a new world, The Wolf Among Us is for you. You’ll be hooked by the incredible writing, and impressed by the familiar characters set in a realistically, run-down part of the city. You’ll be wondering what’s happening, all the while anticipating that cliffhanger and when it arrives, you’ll be begging for more.