Electronic Theatre In-depth Review: The Wolf Among Us – Episode 1: Faith

Being contempt is the enemy of creativity, so they say, and Telltale Games could be forgiven for resting on their laurels. The Walking Dead series took the videogaming world by storm last year and is widely considered one of the most innovative videogames available on […]
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Rating: 5.0/5 (8 votes cast)

Electronic Theatre ImageBeing contempt is the enemy of creativity, so they say, and Telltale Games could be forgiven for resting on their laurels. The Walking Dead series took the videogaming world by storm last year and is widely considered one of the most innovative videogames available on current-generation hardware, including by your very own Electronic Theatre. With such an achievement already under their belt and seemingly few wishing to challenge them, Telltale Games’ follow-up could easily have been more of the same and still wowed both the critics and consumers alike, but if the first chapter is anything to go by The Wolf Among Us will be anything but derivative.

This is a videogame that trades on refinement. It uses the same systems as The Walking Dead – movement on the left analog stick and environment scanning on the right, face buttons for interaction and dialogue choices, QTEs to determine the results of action sequences – and yet there’s still plenty that feels fresh. Within theElectronic Theatre Image first five minutes of gameplay you’re taught the basics and are heading straight into a brawl with The Woodsman, a fella twice your size and five times as aggressive, and the pace of The Wolf Among Us rarely lets up from there.

Playing as Bigby Wolf, a drinking, smoking miscreant that somehow landed the job of sheriff of Fabletown, you’re exactly the kindliest of fellows. Fabletown is a part of New York in which many fairytale characters now live after having been banished from their own lands, and you are employed to keep the peace – or try to, at least – while ensuring that the persons residing here, known as Fables, abide by the rules. You don’t want word getting out about the existence of Fabletown, but also you have to ensure that the Fables are able to live their lives. It’s not a glamorous job, but then you’re not a glamorous kind of guy.

The Wolf Among Us is set in the 1980s, made over with a moody film noir-esque colour palette that makes the journey feel more like China Town than an action film. But this is intentional. As you progress through the videogame and stumble your way to the grand mystery you’ll only ever receive information at the same as Bigby – unlike Electronic Theatre Imagemost other videogames or films, the player is never given any hint of what lies beneath the surface beyond that which their own intuition can uncover – and because of this The Wolf Among Us more closely resembles a detective adventure than the survival horror of The Walking Dead.

One of Telltale Games’ biggest achievements with The Walking Dead was the sense of player investment and resulting action upon the world. Throughout the course of the videogame the player would make decisions which would affect the characters around them, thus altering the storyline. It’s hard to know whether or not The Wolf Among Us will improve upon this after just one episode, but even at this early stage it does appear as though the tangents a player can follow are much more open-ended. There Electronic Theatre Imageare two moments of obvious decision-and-consequence in The Wolf Among Us’ first episode, and exactly how these choices play out remains to be seen.

It’s too early to tell whether or not The Wolf Among Us will push beyond The Walking Dead in terms of scope or player investment, but right now it’s easy to see that Telltale Games has delivered a cast of characters and a world of intrigue that can easily stand next to their former glory. The Wolf Among Us’ first chapter is a gripping ride, one which is only curtailed by the fact that it has to end. Where The Wolf Among Us will take us from here is not known, but Electronic Theatre simply can’t wait to find out.

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