The Wolf Among Us – Episode 1: Faith Review
Telltale Games strikes again, and with that comes another take on a comic book series turned video game. The only difference this time is that Telltale Games tackled taking on the Fables series written by Bill Willingham. Now, if you’re a gamer familiar with Telltale Games’ last endeavor – The Walking Dead Game, then you know that the company is more than capable of delivering a solid game with a compelling storyline that not only has you on the edge of your seat, but somehow takes away your ability to put your controller down. Not only were tears shed, emotions played with, and hard decisions made, but there were unanticipated twists and plot lines that no one could have expected.
Knowing this fact, and exactly what Telltale Games is capable of delivering, fans might be a little disappointed with the first episode of The Wolf Among Us which has been titled “Faith”. The basic workings of a story are there, the graphics are what you would expect, but the lag in gameplay takes away from the rest of the episode.
We’re not in Kansas anymore, or rather the Homelands. Fairytale characters – coined Fables, have been taken from where they hailed and thrown into a modern day New York City. Here, the Fables live in a collective area known as Fabletown, and have been dwelling in our world for hundreds of years – right under the noses of those who are just regular ol’ Joes. The Fables who had less than human looking appearances, like Mr. Toad for instance, must use a spell called Glamour, that hides them from the naked eye, and allows said Fables to appear human.
When it comes to The Wolf Among Us, players take the role of Bigby Wolf. Can you take a stab at who he might have been back in the Homelands? If you guessed the Big Bad Wolf, best known for his swallowing of little girls and grannies, then you’re right on the money. The wolf turned man is now responsible for making sure that the happenings in Fabletown run smoothly. Too bad things never go as planned, and Bigby Wolf is faced with a classic case of who done it. As Bigby Wolf, it’s up to the player to figure out who’s behind the crime that was committed by questioning Fables who might be in on the deed, as well as putting two and two together with the resources given to him.
For anyone who has played The Walking Dead Game – a previous title that Telltale Games worked on, then they would be more than familiar with the point and click based system that is implemented in The Wolf Among Us. The good thing about the point and click factor in “Faith” – and presumably the rest of the episodes, is that it’s not very sensitive this time around. It’s also not as honed in as it once was, allowing the player to have some leeway with whether or not their cursor hits the marker it needs to. There is, however, one unfortunate word to describe how The Wolf Among Us, Episode 1: “Faith” plays – at least where interactive cutscenes are involved, and that’s choppy. When trying to move from one action or the next, it takes the game a moment to catch up with your intentions. The same can be said for the transition between normal gameplay in which the player is walking around, and exploring as Bigby Wolf to cutscene, there’s a bit of a hitch in the game, or a moment of lag while it tries to adjust to the changeover.
If gamers are expecting to get a walking talking comic book with The Wolf Among Us, then allow for your happy dance to commence. Are you done now? Let us continue. The expectations that Telltales Games set as far as graphics went are evident in The Walking Dead, where even though the visuals were more cartoon-y, they were still beautiful. The same still holds true with The Wolf Among Us. The graphics may not be realistic, but who needs real when you’ve got a comic book right in your hands, or rather, a controllable comic book at the mercy of your hands. Each character has been beautifully painted in a way that gives each their own personality that not only bubbles to the surface when their mouth opens, but is even evident in their mannerisms and actions.
Usually, you want either background noises to add to the overall feel of what you’re playing, or enhance the experience. One thing you don’t expect is that dialogue will be muddied due to a bad placement of cars honking, and driving past you in the background. Sure, there are subtitles, but not everyone likes to rely on those. Instead of being sucked into the game, and the overall storyline, The Wolf Among Us hinders itself in this aspect. Though, one redeeming quality is that when the music is well placed, it’s eerie and gives the game a dark feel. The same goes for background noises, when appropriate, they help add to the overall scene, and makes you feel as if you really could be in New York.
Hey, it’s only five bucks, right? Despite the apparent flaws that the first entry into the Wolf Among Us brings to the table, it’s still worth throwing down some chump change to get it. Telltale delivered greatness with The Walking Dead Game, and considering this is just the first episode – with four more to come, this is only the beginning. The hindrances of “Faith” can be fixed with a simple patch (if that’s something Telltale Games has in mind) and doesn’t take away from the overall story that has been laid out for gamers. If you’re a bit apprehensive about spending the five bucks, it might be best to check out the demo first.