Game Review | The Wolf Among Us | Season 1, Episode 4 | "In Sheep's Clothing"
Episode Summary: Bigby must delve into the criminal underworld to find the Crooked Man. (Wikipedia)
It’s going to be hard to write as much as usual about this particular episode as it was really short. Really, really short. It clocked in around an hour’s worth of gameplay, which would have annoyed the hell out of me if I’d paid full price for the game at the time of release.
Instead, I got it in a Steam sale for something like 75% off and had the final episode to play straight away. It must have also been as frustrating as hell to have waited weeks and weeks from the previous episode to get so little to actually play before having to wait weeks again for the season finale.
Don’t get me wrong, what there is in this brief episode is still fantastic, continuing to prove that The Wolf Among Us is not just the highest quality offering from TellTale so far, but also the most consistently excellent. Maybe the concept just fits their style of combining narrative and gameplay better than the other franchises they’ve worked on.
To sum up the plot is quite simple: Bigby, still recovering from the near-death experience at the hands of Bloody Mary, follows up a pair of leads given to him by Nerissa and Beauty and the Beast. We visit a couple of new locations, meet a couple of new characters – Jersey Devil and the Butcher (but no Baker or Candlestick-Maker) to be precise – and end up face-to-face with the Crooked Man.
That final meeting is pretty funny and also fun. Tim (thanks for not calling him ‘Tiny’) leads Bigby into the room where the Crooked Man is waiting, along with all of the antagonists – barring Bloody Mary – who have crossed paths with Bigby so far. Your first thought could possibly be like mine: ‘bloody hell, how’s Bigby going to get out of this?’
Instead, it’s so gloriously satisfying to see the collective wetting of pants by everyone there at being in the same room as the Big Bad Wolf who has tormented them. You can play it so cool too, just lighting a cigarette to the obvious displeasure of the Crooked Man while not giving a damn that you’re surrounded by enemies.
The walk with Tim to the room can be a great moment to show that Bigby isn’t actually an arsehole himself, letting the young guy talk and even just a simple act of waiting for him to catch up to you so he can show you in and do his job properly.
Add in the fact that you can actually double-team Jersey Devil with the Wolf’s oldest rival, the Woodsman, is also quite gratifying. The fact that for once you can kick the ever-loving hell out of one of the bad guys who act like they can get away with being dicks because they’re ‘protected’ is just the icing on the cake.
Then when you can give Woody a smoke afterwards and ask him if he’s okay as he’s walking away is just a perfect example of why I think Telltale's approach is so popular. Yes, you can play entirely as good guy or a violent sociopath, but in my game I’ve made Bigby someone who is merciful with those who deserve mercy, firm but fair with rivals like Woody, and demonically terrifying to his enemies like the Dees, Jersey and Georgie.
The only issue "In Sheep's Clothing" has is its length, which means that, despite the continued high quality of story-telling, it's ultimately unsatisfying as an episode in its own right. You do wonder if this would have worked better being added to another episode and reducing the season to four parts.