Game Review | The Wolf Among Us | Season 1, Episode 3 | "A Crooked Mile"
Episode Summary: Following a shocking revelation, Bigby pursues Ichabod Crane, who is now in hiding. (Wikipedia)
One thing that I noticed from this episode is something that I may have missed both earlier in The Wolf Among Us, but possibly also other Telltale adventures: the game will have one type of pacing until the last scene, at which point things suddenly start moving faster to build up to the ending.
This makes a lot of sense obviously, especially for episodic gaming, but when ‘binged’ on it can prove a little repetitive. As I approached the end of “A Crooked Mile”, I found myself thinking that the game should be finishing soon, but there didn’t seem to be any build-up to a cliff-hanger or anything similar.
Suddenly, events sped up, new characters were introduced and the status quo of the story so far was turned on its head to leave things perfectly set up for the next episode. Again, fine for when there are weeks or even months of waiting between episodes, but a little jarring when only a few days separates them.
Regardless of how noticeably abrupt the ending to the episode was, "A Crooked Mile" is still another excellent chapter in Bigby Wolf’s investigation into a series of murders in Fabletown. It’s easy to see why so many people consider The Wolf Among Us as the high-point of Telltale's catalogue so far.
Unlike the middle episode of The Walking Dead, which replaced story with personal drama, The Wolf Among Us continues to balance both aspects extremely well, although this may be in part due to the setting. A zombie apocalypse is fairly common; fairy tale characters in Eighties’ New York? Not so much.
“A Crooked Mile” is spent with Bigby and Snow in pursuit of Ichabod Crane, visiting various locations for clues and/or help, both new and old. It’s a nice mixture that ensures the world continues to grow without making the player feel alienated from the environments, as well as providing variety.
Thanks to how the story unfolds and the choices you make, there will always be one location you won’t be able to visit out of several that need investigation, with Bluebeard taking the last location, although nothing came of that plot thread for me and he disappeared from the rest of the episode.
Also regarding Bluebeard: at the end of the previous episode, the ‘next time’ montage showed Bluebeard sat behind Crane’s desk, as if he had taken control of the Woodlands and cut Snow out of chain of command, but that scene has never occurred for me. Strange that a scene that must be dependent on player choice would be included as if it was vital to the story, but just a minor issue.
The only other problem I had was again with the ending, a problem that Game of Thrones (Telltale series and the HBO show) has: the bad guys waltzing in and doing something despicable without receiving any comeuppance of any kind by the end of the episode.
I know that this serves to motivate the player to give them their just desserts at a later point, but it does seem to be becoming a Telltale staple to render the player effectively powerless at points, just so the villains of the piece can do or say something to enrage the player and the characters they control.
It does work though, with both The Wolf Among Us and Game of Thrones having antagonists I want to see beaten at practically any cost. Cheap? Yes. Effective? Also yes.
“A Crooked Mile” is another fun stop in the life of Bigby Wolf and how events unfold always leaves me looking forward to seeing him cut loose and be the big, bad monster a lot of Fables believe he still is.