The Wolf Among Us Episode One: Faith Review
The first installment of The Wolf Among Us is an assured debut for Telltale Games’ latest episodic series.
While retaining many of the key features that can be found in Telltale’s previous game, the phenomenal The Walking Dead, The Wolf Among Us has a unique tone and setting that marks the game out from its predecessor.
Having said that, it’s inevitable that The Wolf Among Us is going to be compared to its much-loved forerunner.
Whether the game ultimately proves to be as exceptional as that series remains to be seen, but the good news is that the two hour or so episode one has more than enough about it to suggest that Telltale is on the right track.
For those who are not familiar with the Fables comic book series on which The Wolf Among Us is based, the game is set in a distinctly noir New York populated by a range of eccentric fairytale characters.
After leaving their fairytale world behind, these characters – ‘fables’, in the games’ parlance – must remain hidden in plain site and it’s your job, as Sheriff Bigby Wolf, to ensure that they stay out of trouble and don’t attract the attention of the human population around them.
Don’t let talk of fairytales fool you into thinking there’s anything sweet or lighthearted about the games’ world, however.
The Wolf Among Us’ appropriation of noir isn’t just about visual style, though there’s no doubt that the game looks fantastic. The Wolf Among Us’ first episode sets us up for a dark tale, populated with struggling, tough talking, down-and-out characters.
The Wolf Among Us also extends its hardboiled credentials to its gameplay. Using game’s point and click mechanics, the player must investigate crime scenes and use evidence to question characters, much like any archetypal noir PI.
While it’s pretty hard not to ace the one substantial investigation scene in this first episode, successfully using evidence to pull a character’s statement apart is still satisfying and it’s to be expected that Telltale would keep things fairly simple while introducing players to the series.
The investigate aspect of The Wolf Among Us, while sparse in this debut installment, is a promising feature that looks set to take a central role in solving the intriguing mystery set up in this episode.
Tough choices, and the consequences of making the wrong one, were a key feature of The Walking Dead and it’s not surprise to see that facet return in The Wolf Among Us.
It’s already apparent in these early stages that the choices you make in The Wolf Among Us will have a notable effect on the progression of the story and the way that other characters respond to you.
This knowledge adds a welcome edge to everything you do – after all, it’s the awareness that saying the wrong thing, borking an investigation by taking the wrong approach, or being forced to leave another character in the lurch will have consequences down the line that makes every choice matter and makes Telltale’s games so compelling.
That extends to The Wolf Among Us’ QTE based action sequences as well. While they’re not going to be everybody’s cup of tea and (like the investigate sequences) while they are not too challenging in this first episode, the knowledge that failure might not lead to an inconsequential restart, but could have substantial ramifications on the story and other characters adds a pressure which makes every little success or failure that much more important.
It almost feels unfair to keep talking about The Walking Dead when evaluating the merits of The Wolf Among Us, but it’s worth doing so if for no other reason that to assure you that the first episode of The Wolf Among Us suggests that the series will retain many of the features that made The Walking Dead so great.
Outside of the tough choices, the compelling characters and the control scheme, though, The Wolf Among Us feels unique enough in terms of its setting, characters and style to make the game as worthy of your attention as the critically acclaimed series in whose footsteps it follows.
Version tested: PC