Game Review | The Wolf Among Us | Season 1 | Overview
Season Summary: As Bigby Wolf, the big bad wolf in human form, you will discover that the brutal, bloody murder of a Fable is just a taste of things to come when another dead Fable is found which starts the hunt for a serial killer. (IMDb)
Playing The Wolf Among Us alongside The Walking Dead shows just how much Telltale improved in just a year. While the former does share some of the gameplay niggles of the latter, it’s startling to notice how much better the former looks compared to the latter.
Again, a fairly clean, comic book style look is used, but everything is a little sharper and a little crisper, which – combined with the marginally-improved animation – makes the whole game seem like a huge leap forward in terms of visual design.
I was actually surprised that there was only a year between the games when checking to see how old The Wolf Among Us was because of the difference in appearance. Not that looks are the only thing that matters of course – there is still plenty of serious drama going on, but everything is a lot more fun and interesting to play through.
That could be the setting, with fairy-tale characters in a film-noir-style detective story set in New York certainly being a lot more original than another zombie apocalypse. However, I think it’s the fact that we’re given a much wider range of characters to care about across the entire season that makes the difference.
In The Walking Dead, there’s only Lee, Clem and Kenny who appear in the first episode and are still alive by the finale – and Kenny is not someone I like at all. To provide a list of the characters who do the same in The Wolf Among Us, or who appear across multiple episodes and aren’t killed off, would take up too much space.
This gives the player the opportunity to form attachments and learn more about the other characters rather than the focus there was on the relationship between Lee and Clem in The Walking Dead. The Wolf Among Us never feels like a chore to play through, because there’s always something interesting happening on-screen at any given point.
In fact, the only real criticism I have for The Wolf Among Us are the rare occasions when the illusion of choice disappears and the story feels a little forced to proceed in a particular direction, regardless of what the player has done or wants to do.
Otherwise, this is such a well-polished game, that more recent Telltale games just haven’t been able to meet the same standards. Tales from the Borderlands may be to as high a standard from an audio and visual standpoint, but the story doesn’t quite match up. Game of Thrones is decent, but nowhere close to Telltale's best.
The secret here is something that I think a lot of games miss out on – a sense of power. A lot of titles, to maintain a challenge level, simply match you against increasingly powerful and more difficult opponents. In The Wolf Among Us, Bigby is pretty much the most powerful person in the game and that really comes across every time you speak to someone antagonistic to you.
The story does railroad you sometimes and it’s not as if things are easy for Bigby, but he is also determined and just the right amount of stubborn – perfect attributes for a player character. The fact that he doesn’t take himself too seriously and regularly comes out with some dry humour only help to seal the deal.
Ultimately much more than the sum of it's already-impressive parts, The Wolf Among Us' first season is the best series Telltale has produced so far, with the most interesting setting and cast of characters. The second season can't get here soon enough; I want more Bigby Wolf, Sheriff of Fabletown.