Following The Walking Dead is a tricky proposition, but Telltale seem to have learnt the right lessons. Stepping away from its (overall) reputation for mediocre and messy point & clicks, The Wolf Among Us continues to push the developer's aspirations to tell grown-up stories.
It’s set in the world of Fables, a cult comic series about fairytale characters living out secret lives in New York. Episode 1 of The Wolf Among Us starts off both equally obscene and absurd via an introduction to Mr. Toad – an expletive-hurling frog in a V-neck vest and jogging bottoms.
As the Big Bad Wolf (or 'Bigby') it’s your job to keep New York’s secret residents in check – ensuring that they keep themselves in human form, and don’t go around trying to kill each other. After a nasty turn of events, your role as Sheriff shifts into detective, alternating between clue hunts and roughing up perps.
The puzzles that broke up the flow of TWD are thankfully nowhere to be seen, and the same is true of the rough edges and visual glitches found in 2012’s masterpiece. Art direction, voice acting, and sound design are all top notch – making for something that feels undeniably cool, even if it doesn’t grip with the same intensity of TWD.
The core premise also requires more exposition, which means decisions you have to make in Episode 1 aren’t as easy to relate to – “save the man or the child!” didn’t require a back-story, but for the first half of The Wolf Among Us it’s easy to feel like a passenger. Don’t expect incendiary emotion – this is slow-burn stuff.
Danger fuelled TWD right from the start, but episode 1 of Wolf feels much more like a TV show pilot – setting up all the pieces it needs to tell a compelling neo-noir story. An initial lack of emotional connection left me feeling disappointed, but when given the time to shine, it does. Episode 2 can’t come soon enough.
Version Tested: PC. Played for 2 hours.
8 / 10
- Unusual setting and characters keep you interested.
- Art style and music are cooler than your life.
- Technically much sharper than The Walking Dead.
- A strong set-up, but it’s what comes next that matters.