The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
Faith, the debut episode of Telltale's The Wolf Among Us,
has a primary theme running through it: "Expect the unexpected." That's
appropriate considering that Bill Willingham's Fables - the world on which The Wolf Among Us is based - is all
about taking everything you think you know about fairy tales and twisting it.
In Fabletown, a secret community in New York where famed
characters conceal their true identities with magic, nothing is as it seems and
everyone has something to hide. Expect alcohol-indulging flying monkeys and
former heroes fallen from grace. The dark interpretations of these fairy tales
are gripping and Telltale never forgets that hook. Plenty of merciless fights,
foul language, and unfortunate circumstances unfold in the first episode when a
fellow Fable turns up brutally murdered. As sheriff Bigby (a.k.a. the Big Bad
Wolf), you must solve the case with the strong-willed Snow (White) along for
the ride. The two have blazing chemistry, to say the least.
The tale isn't happy, but it is intriguing due to its
multi-dimensional, outrageous personalities. Characters got under my skin so
much that I thought they could never redeem themselves, but then a new insight
would surface and I'd second-guess why I hated them in the first place. I
watched the Woodsman fight with the murder victim right before her death, calling
her every vulgar name in the book. But when he later found out about her death
he showed significant emotion, even toward Bigby, their long feud notwithstanding.
Fable's biggest lure is controlling Bigby. For a lead
character, Bigby is as great as they come. He has plenty of swagger, but he
also faces an interesting problem: trying to prove he's past his big bad ways.
How do you convince people to trust you when at one point you tried to eat
them? Do you give up and use force, or try to show these Fables a softer side
of Bigby? That's a decision that Telltale allows you to make throughout.
The choices don't just extend to dialogue. Telltale takes
consequences a step beyond its efforts with The Walking Dead by forcing you
decide between equally important crises. Telltale places important emphasis on
these, even stopping the action completely and letting you think before you
make your choice. It allows you to really consider the decision you're about to
make and weigh the positives and negatives. For instance, I had to decide
between two different places to visit. One had Toad, who called to say he was
in trouble; the other place had hot evidence regarding the murder. Consequences
come no matter what decision you make. In another event, two suspects fled in
opposite directions, and I had to decide who was more important to the murder
investigation: The thug who was snooping around the investigation, or the
Woodsman, who was last seen with the victim. These big choices are the shining
moments of the episode. The decisions not only make events unfold differently,
but make you second-guess and wonder about the outcome of the other, encouraging
The fights are bigger, faster, and rougher than previous
Telltale projects. The controls mirror The Walking Dead, with the face and
directional buttons driving quick-time events. While the controls feel
responsive and forgiving, the action unfolds quickly, giving you little time to
react. You must dodge objects thrown at you, and at certain points the game
gives you options to pick up your own, like a bottle or pool stick, for vicious
and satisfying hits.
When you're not fighting, you're investigating. This
involves researching the dead Fable using the magic mirror, tracking down
suspects, and examining various locations. Telltale struggled with making the
point-and-click portions engaging in The Waking Dead, but it's improved here.
Examining objects often allows you to catch characters in lies, giving you a
reason to explore. My only gripe is that investigation feels overly linear. Not
much is hidden, and it turns into a click-every-possible-object to advance
plot. At least I was intrigued enough to piece together the clues.
While the gameplay is still second-rate compared to the
story, Faith succeeds most because of its unpredictability. Even longtime
Fables fans will be shocked by some of the revelations. I read the Fables comics - which aren't required
for this prequel - and was still blindsided. The episode ends perfectly,
leaving plenty of intrigue on the table to bring you back. I've been agonizing
ever since, trying to figure out exactly what Telltale is planning after this
Email the author Kimberley Wallace, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.