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.
In Telltale's glimpse into the seedy world of Fabletown,
we've already seen murders, prostitution, sociopaths, and plenty of corruption.
Watching Bigby interact with the Fable community and its growing class
divisions serves as a great lead up to where the comics pick up. A Crooked Mile
continues to expose the issues of Fabletown's community, but also builds on the
ongoing murder investigation, leaving you piecing together exactly where it's
Last episode, Smoke & Mirrors, didn't have as much
momentum as I would have liked, but A Crooked Mile has much better pacing and
development. A Crooked Mile picks up with Bigby adding familiar Fables to the
suspect list and worrying about which Fables are in jeopardy. The second Fable
death is still lingering, the funeral is under way, and members of the
community are even more aggravated and demanding answers. This keeps you hot on
the tail of those responsible for the murders, assessing your leads and
following up on the most promising clues.
Telltale puts more of the investigation in your hands this
episode. You have three different places to visit, and you choose where to go
and when. Should you look for more dirt on the suspicious Tweedle Dee and Dum,
search the belongings of the recently-deceased Fable, or go to the apartment of
the newest suspect? No matter what, you can only go to two of the three
locations. Depending on your choices, you interact with different Fables and gain insight into various characters and events. Telltale does a good job of
giving you reasons to pick any of the three locations. Whichever one you don't
visit will be investigated by another Fable, which presents its own problems.
Do you trust your ally not to tamper with evidence? I second-guess who I can
trust constantly. Everyone feels like a suspect, and that's exactly how it
should be when you're investigating a murder.
As for the time and place choices, the end result leads you
to the same final destination, but seeing different variations on how you reach
this conclusion provides new content, making you feel like your choices mean
something. These impactful choices work well, so I hope Telltale continues
making them a part of future episodes. They make you assess what you're about
to choose without any right or wrong answers. This episode also features a
decision with far-reaching consequences; no matter how you choose, the future
will be immutably affected.
Making these choices as sheriff isn't easy. You don't
exactly have a fan club as the murders and corruption get worse. You must
decide how you want to handle and appeal to various Fables. Dialogue choices are
top-tier in this episode, ranging from how the Big Bad Wolf would handle a child
to confronting awful circumstances with sincerity. I felt like I was
determining what type of man Bigby's going to be in the middle of turmoil. You can
play him as a man doing everything in his power to redeem himself, or as a
level-headed man who prevents his in-the-moment emotions from clouding his judgment.
You aren't just picking Bigby's temperament. Telltale often
pits you against other characters; if you think another Fable is wrong, do you
risk calling them out and potentially put a strain on your relationship, or do
you agree to appease them? The role-playing choices don't stop there. When you
finally give in to Bigby's wolf tendencies, Telltale lets you decide how far to
take it. Having a slew of different ways to role-play as Bigby kept me more
invested in the experience than in previous episodes.
A Crooked Mile is a much more balanced episode than its
predecessor. The excellent pacing, the varied choices, and how the writers
still make me guess their next move keeps this episode riveting. Much like a
good murder-mystery television show, you see the plot starting to unravel, but
you're never confident that you know exactly where it will end up or who's at
the root of all the problems. The new antagonist introduced in the closing
scenes of the episode makes me excited to see where the next entry takes the story. One thing is certain: Something bad is going on in Fabletown, and Bigby is
tasked with changing the community's fate. Now the real question is: Will
unmasking the mastermind be as exciting as the build-up?
Email the author Kimberley Wallace, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.