Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?
Telltale Games, developers of the popular The Walking Dead title, have released their new graphic adventure game. The Wolf Among Us is released episodically in 5 parts, engrossing you in the vibrant yet seedy and shadowy comic-art-style city of Fabletown, a fictional enclave of Manhattan. This game is a unique and wonderful adaptation of Bill Willingham’s comic series Fables where fairy tales and folklore are twisted into a gruesome and violent tale of crime and murder. From Snow White to the Three Little Pigs this story encompasses an array of recognisable characters from popular myths and legends.
After being exiled from ‘the homeland’ by a dark and mysterious presence known only as the Adversary, the Fables are given a choice; blend in with the Mundies (humans) by acquiring Glamour, a spell that allows Fables to conceal their true identity and appear human, or go to the Farm. Fables unable to blend with the mundane world are automatically sent to the Farm until such time that they can afford Glamour.
Toad and a member of the Three Little Pigs, Colin (who you still owe a house), are some of the characters you meet in the human world who do not own Glamour. Colin frequently escapes from the farm to visit Bigby and, for the moment at least, only serves as a kind of squatter taking your only chair and smoking your cigarettes.
Toad plays a vital role in the initial progression of the storyline, owning a run-down hotel in an attempt to afford Glamour, wherein all the important events seem to transpire. The story begins in this hotel and progresses from there, often circling back to the very place you first started.
You take on the role of the Big Bad Wolf (Bigby), the Sherriff of Fabletown who is responsible for protecting all Fables. Despite Biby’s edgy behaviour, he does show an almost kind and tolerant attitude toward certain characters. This seems almost inappropriate for the violent attitude of the Big Bad Wolf we all know so well who tried to eat a child by dressing up as her grandmother.
After a while though, the gruff voice and dishevelled exterior begins to fit this newly reformed wolf’s personality. Of course, it’s hard to change your stripes and despite his best efforts, people aren’t so quick to forgive and forget. They are not always wrong, however, as no matter how you play the game there are always outburst of his bad side, which is only natural considering Bigby’s past.
The rich artistic setting of Fabletown seems almost fitting for this dark and dangerous graphic adventure. After the brutal murder of a Fable, it is your duty as the sheriff to protect the Fables and investigate a string of suspicious murders. Even the way the Fable is killed is mysterious since ‘Fables are hard to kill’.
You progress through the game to uncover the truth behind this murder using point-and-click controls and quick time event sequences to play. The game forces you to make decisions quickly.
Your path is shaped by the decisions you make and the interactions you have, affecting the story as a whole. How much or how little your actions affect the storyline are yet to be seen. There are two main ways you can play Bigby; the kind, reformed child-eater and house-blower or the unchanged violent wolf of folklore.
This game provides a range of different playable options to choose from and has been a pleasure to delve into the first chapter and experience both the vicious and remorseful side of the Big Bad Wolf.
So far so good. It’s only been one episode but already I’m looking forward to playing part two. The choices you are given allow for a range of exploration opportunities, both with Bigby’s character and the storyline. In the end it’s up to you whether to be feared as the Big Bad Wolf of old, or be loved as the newly reformed hero of Fabletown. You are, after all, the one who will face the consequences of the decisions you make.
Although the gameplay style might not be to everyone’s taste it is, all in all, a game worth playing and judging by this episode I can only assume the rest of the parts will be worth the wait.
Rebecca Jones, Games Columnistbookmark me