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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Review: The Wolf Among Us: Episode 1 - Faith (Xbox 360)

Review by Nick H.

Telltale Games has earned a really nice reputation for being able to first and foremost tell a really good story. Now, with its newest release I have never read the Fables comic series that The Wolf Among Us was based on, so I came into it with a completely clean slate. With no prior connection to the characters or stories, I found myself immediately hooked on the story in this game, and had no difficulty following what was happening or investing myself in the colourful cast of characters.

You are cast into the role of Bigby Wolf, a gruff character who character who is almost immediately thrown into a chaotic situation. See, Bigby is actually The Big Bad Wolf - just in a human form now. In fact the entire premise revolves around fairytale characters living in modern times. Many of these characters are quite exotic in appearance, so they need to rely on magic to help hide their true nature from the mortal world in modern times they now inhabit. Inability to do so lands them on a location referred to as The Farm - a place that was briefly talked about but you do not get to visit in this episode.

The takeaway from the first scene is that these Fables are incredibly strong - very durable and not easily killed at all. So when a Fable is murdered by another of their kind, it sends Bigby on a hunt to try and find this murderer and have him or her brought to justice. Bigby plays the role of detective and peace keeper, though he often has to rely on violence to keep said peace. It is clear that many of these Fables are trying to find a new start in these new lives and want to forget the past, and Bigby comes across as a conflicted character who is generally trying to do the right thing.

That being said, this is a Telltale game and you will have ample opportunity to affect the story with your choices along the way. Sometimes your choices have large, glaring impact immediately, some simply affect the way a character may respond to you in the future. These hooks help to give these games a lot of replay value - something I have already done twice with this first episode.

The Wolf Among Us has a lot more in common with a title like Beyond: Two Souls or its predecessor The Walking Dead, in that it is at times more of an interactive story than a full-blown game, but there are plenty of points in the game where progression depends on the choices you make or how successfully you perform certain context-based actions. I am the first to admit I am not a big fan of Quick Time Events in games most of the time. I feel like they pull me out of most games or distract me from other important elements I should be paying attention to. Here however, they feel appropriate for what is happening and I knew going in that they would be a part of the process.

I thoroughly enjoyed the voice acting and the distinctive visual style. If there is one presentational flaw that sometimes irked me, it was that there are hitches in the scene loading from time to time, which can unceremoniously jerk out out of the immersion, if only for a handful of seconds here and there.

Being that this is episode one, there are more planned and I for one am very excited to see what Telltale has coming up next. I am completely invested in the story and characters, making this a pretty easy title to recommend.




- Nick H
 US Editor
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Review: The Wolf Among Us: Episode 1 - Faith (Xbox 360)
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