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The Wolf Among Us: Episode 1-Faith: Leaving You Hungry Like The Wolf

 

Mixing story telling and gameplay has been a struggle for developers for decades. Last year, Telltale Games took a fantastic lead in its dark, heart warming interpretation of The Walking Dead. Now in a formula familiar to last year's, Telltale moves away from the apocalyptic wastelands of zombies to a gritty suburban populated by fairy tales. Despite its change of scenery, Telltale stays true to what made The Walking Dead so great with its excellent storytelling and quicktime based gameplay all rendered in beautiful comic book visuals.

The story takes place in New York, in a small community known as Fabletown, where famed fairytale characters resign and conceal their true forms with magic. You are Bigby Wolf, Sheriff of Fabletown, and former Big Bad Wolf, you have been entrusted to keep the Fables of Fabletown safe, while also trying to refrain from your Big Bad ways. A Fable is dead on his doorstep and it's up to Bigby as well as the strong-willed Snow White, to uncover the mystery within the Fable community. From a toad who refuses to conceal his fairytale appearance from the world, an alcoholic flying monkey, and a lumberjack who has fallen on hard times, Fabletown is filled with interesting and intriguing characters.

Where Faith stands strongest though is in its character of Bigby. Bigby is a complex character faced with a difficult problem; trying to prove that he has truly refrain from his old ways. How can you convince people to trust you when you were once a murderous savage? Do you give up and use force to get what you want, or show the Fables the kind-hearted side to the Big Bad exterior? This is a choice Telltale leaves to you.

As with most Telltale games, The Wolf Among Us is another point and click adventure, much like its spiritual successor The Walking Dead. It takes many ques from its previous success, from the dialogue choices involving the four face buttons to informing you if a character will remember your action or chose. The decisions not only make events unfold differently, but make you second-guess and wonder about the outcome of the other. This helps the player stay engaged in the story as well as really consider the decision you're about to make and weigh on the positives and negatives. With action comes consequence so chose wisely. Its through these big moments where the game shines brightest.

The other factor of the game, the game-play itself, is filled with intrigue. You'll be spending your time investigating crime scenes and in heated action sequences. This is where the game feels linear to an effect. Most crime scenes are limited to one room, so you'll be spending your time walking around, with little to explore, until you find something to click on. After you found all the items and clues to a crime scene, the narrative shuddles you off. As for the action sequences themselves, they are fast paced and filled with thrill. The sequences are played out through quick time events, which are controlled using the face and directional buttons. You will have objects thrown at you, leaving little time to react, as well as grabbing items such as glass bottles and pool cues to use in combat for the satisfying hits

One minor issue I had with the game is its frame rate. Sometimes during cutscenes, the game will begin to hiccup. Its an unfortunate issue considering that a player can be so easily attached to this world then feel completely lost for a second or two. This isn't a deal-breaking mind you, it didn't for a second stop me from enjoying the story. This is but a minor issue when compared to the excellent story arc of Bigby Wolf.

For what it is, The Wolf Among Us is a strong recommend for story lovers. While the game-play is still second-rate compared to the story, Faith succeeds most because of its unpredictability. Even fans of the “Fables” series will be surprised by some of the revelations. The game shows great promise and an excellent beginning to what should be a phenomenal story. As soon as the credits started to roll, I already wanted more and am left agonizing waiting for the next episode to be released.

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