Sunday, July 13, 2014

I'll Huff and I'll Puff!

The Wolf Among Us just released the final episode of it's first season this past Tuesday, so it's about time I give you my thoughts on it as a whole.

I chose to play The Wolf Among Us strictly because of its lineage; it's another episodic adventure game made by Telltale in the same vein as their excellent Walking Dead series. I knew nothing about the graphic novels the game is based on. In fact I knew nothing about the plot or characters at all before playing it. So it speaks to the strength of that world just how quickly I was sucked in.

The Wolf Among Us takes the world of fairy tales and merges it with our own to establish an intriguing setting. And these aren't the Disney's versions, mind you; the characters in TWAU are based on the original stories; the dark, twisted, and often disturbing versions that some people may not be familiar with.

Back Story

The setup for the game's universe is that all of these fairy tale characters existed together in their own world, known as the Homeland. However, they were driven out of their lands and into ours by an evil force a few hundred years ago. After the Great Exodus the Tales decided to go into hiding together in New York City.

TWAU strikes a fantastic balance of characters, from the universally recognizable to some you may have heard of and even some that will be completely new to you. Seeing these characters revealed and getting to witness how their personal histories and reputations interplay with one another is simply captivating.

As pure as the driven Snow...

In order to not expose their existence to the Mundies (their term for human beings) the less humanoid Tales are required to use Glamours, magic spells sold at a premium that can make even the strangest of Tales appear human.

Just another seedy bar patron, right?

If a Tale can't afford a glamour or is caught outside without one they are at risk of being shipped off to The Farm, an isolated community for Tales from which they aren't allowed to leave. Needless to say, many Tales view being sent to The Farm as a prison sentence, a sentence the more "privileged" Tales would never have to deal with. 

Meet Colin, one of the Three Little Pigs. He's not so little anymore
As you can imagine this policy, as well as a few others, causes some serious drama that drives everything in the game's universe. But that's all back story.

The Game

Nice tats, bro.

In The Wolf Among Us you play as Bigby Wolf, AKA the Big Bad Wolf. Back in the Tale's Homeland he was one of the most feared creatures of them all. And yes, all of the old fairy tales about the Big Bad Wolf involved him specifically. He was an almost unkillable monster that preyed on vulnerable Tales at every opportunity. However, in the events leading up to the Great Exodus, Bigby managed to redeem himself by saving many of his fellow Tales. And when the Tales arrived in our world everyone was given a clean slate, a chance to start fresh in this strange new world.

Since Bigby was so powerful he was given the duty of Sheriff; he is responsible for the safety of all Tales, many of whom still despise and fear him. This makes for an incredibly complicated character; Bigby struggles to keep everyone in line while also trying to show compassion. He wants to prove that he isn't the same monster they cowered from years ago. And the choices you make over the course of the season influence how well Bigby pulls this off as well as how people react to him.

Get ready for a Bloody good time.

The main plot revolves around a series of brutal murders where Tales are the victims. Bigby is tasked with finding out who is responsible and bringing them to justice. However, with the complicated class politics and sordid histories among the Tales, this is no easy task.

The game love to put you in the middle of heated exchanges between characters, forcing you to deal with the situation. You can side with one while alienating the other, or you can attempt to play diplomat and find an amicable solution. But sometimes that just isn't possible and you can wind up pissing off both parties instead.

The game's strong plot and outstanding performances drive you along toward it's conclusion, but it's the art style that really steals the show. The game's look is obviously similar to the team's Walking Dead series, but it's setting affords the developers a chance to use a wider range of color palettes compared to TWD's mostly brown or otherwise dark and grungy aesthetic. The Wolf Among Us's universe also gives Telltale a chance to play around with more fantastic character designs beyond the human and zombie cast of their other series.

Well aren't you just adorable!


The Wolf Among Us is a fantastic series and now that the entire first season is available there's never been a better time to jump in. You can pick up the entire season for $25 on Steam, XBox Games Store, or PSN. You can even get it for your iPad if that's what you'd prefer. Also, if I haven't convinced you yet, you can download and play episode 1 of the series for free on most of the platforms I've listed above.

If you're a fan of great stories, fantastic worlds, and beautiful visuals, then The Wolf Among Us is the perfect place to find all of that and more.

The investigation awaits.

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