Games Review: The Wolf Among Us (PS4, 2014)

I’m kind of a comic book nut. When Telltale Games announced that they were releasing a noir point-and-click adventure based on Bill Willingham’s FABLES series of graphic novels, I was pretty excited. Though The Wolf Among Us released earlier this year in it’s entirety on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC, the game has just seen a release on next-gen systems, and as reasons to return to Fabletown go, that’s not a bad one.

The story is set prior to the first issue of FABLES. Basically, all the characters from the fairy tales you grew up reading are real and they were driven out of their own dimension, referred to as the Homelands by a mysterious entity known as The Adversary. Driven into our world, the Fables have made their home in New York City – they call their neighbourhood Fabletown. It’s the Eighties and New York is a largescale slum and crime is rife, even in the Fable community. It’s up to Sheriff Bigby Wolf to keep the peace among the Fables.

The story of The Wolf Among Us is easily the game’s strongest suit, so I don’t want to spoil anything. To give a bit of an overview, though: When Bigby is called to deal with a domestic disturbance in a block of Fabletown apartments, it sets in motion a series of grisly, disturbing events that rock the small community. With the help of the resourceful, take-charge Snow White, Bigby must solve the ever-deepening mystery before Fabletown tears itself apart from suspicion.

Comprised of five interconnected episodes, the game as a whole is incredibly well-written and well-paced. Each episode only takes a couple of hours to knock over and each leaves you desperate to uncover more of what’s going on, who is responsible and why. The game glides from detective story into horror and back again with confidence. Telltale really are at the top of their game in this regard.

The game plays much like Telltale’s other point-and-click adventures. It’s primarily dialogue based and sees Bigby interrogating various Fables in an attempt to gather leads and information. As with other Telltale games, characters will remember decisions that you make and the way that you treat them. You have to gauge on the fly how a given character will react to being interrogated in a specific way, but you only have a few seconds to make the decision.

Some areas require a certain amount of exploration and investigation. Combing through places like apartment rooms, seedy strip joints, dive bars and hotels for clues lends just the right hardboiled detective vibe to the proceedings. It strikes all the right notes that you want from a faithful adaptation. Having said all that, like other Telltale games it can feel a bit linear at times, as though you’re going through the motions. The story and characters are so strong, though, that it’s frequently enough to make you forget that sensation all together.

Speaking of faithful, while perhaps not the the most graphically dazzling game ever made, The Wolf Among Us has perfected it’s look. Telltale’s artists have done some really remarkable work. It’s honestly like watching a moving version of the comic book. Character designs, human and non-human, are so reminiscent of Mark Buckingham’s familiar pencils from the comic and the city’s architecture evokes the lurid, neon vibe of the era. Each area feels distinct while still maintaining the asthetic. More comic book adaptations please, Telltale!

The Wolf Among Us is a great example of how Telltale have been able to single-handedly revive the aging point-and-click genre. Through deft combination of story and style, it’s the perfect entry point into the FABLES universe for anyone who has never read the books before and a genuine treat for fans of the series. Rumours have been swirling regarding a sequel series and I for one am really hoping it comes to pass.

Telltale have just released the first episode their new game series Tales from the Borderlands, a story set in Gearbox’s Borderlands universe about a group of vault hunters trying to pull off a dangerous heist. Check back soon for our full review!

Review Score: 8 out of 10
Highlights: Great story, engaging characters, decisions have weight
Lowlights: Can feel a little on the linear side at times
Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games
Released: November 7, 2014
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Reviewed on PlayStation 4


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David Smith

David Smith is the former games and technology editor at The AU Review. He has previously written for PC World Australia. You can find him on Twitter at @RhunWords.

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