The Wolf Among Us: Episodes 1 and 2 PS3 Review
Released by TellTale Games
TellTale Games has built itself a reputation on story telling, and that helped it to achieve wider acclaim with The Walking Dead game that was released last year (and has just had episode 2 of season 2 recently released onto the market)
So, the bar was incredibly high for The Wolf Among Us, another similar story, presented in a similar way with graphic novel visuals and point and press ways of interacting.
Based on Bill Winningham's Fables stories, the story which is currently unfolding is a prequel to that run. You take the role of Bigby Wolf, the sheriff of the town of Fabletown and who's called in to investigate a disturbance in an apartment block by Mr Toad.
However, when Wolf gets there, he finds not everything is as it seems and that it's hard for him to keep the residents of Fabletown hidden from the human world around him. Episode One, Faith, sets out the world, its inhabitants and proffers up a story that's engaging, beautifully presented and has all the grit (and language) of a gumshoe novel. As Bigby begins to trace what's going on, it leads up to a stunningly gripping cliffhanger that we've had to wait months for for the resolution.
Episode 2, Smoke and Mirrors, takes up that cliffhanger, but also puts you more in control of Bigby and the investigation. Whereas the first episode is a lot more about exploring, this second is more about the nitty gritty and minutiae of investigating a case and so grounds you more in the characters and developments within. You can unleash the nastiness within - as is evidenced early on in an investigation sequence which sees Bigby (and you) given the choice to beat the answers he needs out of a victim - and to be frank, delving into the darker side of the character seems right and natural as the story progresses.
Choices inform the path of the narrative and that's really what gives Telltale Games the edge they need - you'll come back to these for a second bite, another chance to go the other way and to see how that informs your overall experience - it makes for an engaging time on the console, rather than the feeling that you're constricted by the point and click nature of the game.
The Wolf Among Us is currently progressing, and if this review seems a little spoiler-lite, that's because the best way to play it is on your own, making your own choices and enjoying what transpires. It'll be very rare that any two games will be the same - and with episode two pushing the narrative further on, you'd be wise to jump into Fabletown now and play it episodically because there's something clever going on here; it's a subversion of what the gaming experience can be and it's definitely worth being part of.