Feature

The Wolf Among Us, From The Outside – Part II

by Jeff Cork on Feb 21, 2014 at 08:40 AM

Back in October, when the first episode of Telltale Games’ new series The Wolf Among Us debuted, I thought I’d try something different. Rather than play it alone, like I did with The Walking Dead, I got my wife to give it a shot. She doesn’t play games, but I thought she might enjoy this one. I wrote about her experience with the first episode here, and now it’s time for our post-Episode 2 recap.

As before, there are spoilers ahead. I’ll be talking about the plot and other game details.

A lot went on in the first episode, regardless of whether you’re an avid gamer. You met the game’s protagonist, Bigby Wolf, and learned about the bizarre world that he inhabits. My wife got to process the concept of fairy-tale characters slumming it in New York while also wrapping her mind around an unfamiliar controller and a completely foreign style of game. She did a great job.

She voiced her concerns about whether or not her decisions would ultimately matter, but it seemed like we would be heading into the second episode with a nice bit of momentum. Now that she’s done with the follow-up, it looks like that energy is just about exhausted. 

“Episode two lost some of it’s novelty, so maybe it was a little more boring,” she said afterward. “It just didn’t feel as though as much happened in the episode at all. It felt shorter, and it felt like less stuff happened. It didn’t end on a noteworthy cliffhanger – oh, Crane looks bad, what a shock.”

I don’t think the four-month waiting time between installments did the game any favors, either. When we started the game, it took a while for everything to click back into our memories – even as the “Previously on The Wolf Among Us,” thing whirred onto the screen in awkwardly segmented chunks. (Side note: If you’re playing on the 360, I feel your pain. These loading times are an embarrassment, though it gave my wife time to check messages on her phone.)

In the first episode, she let the Woodsman go, so Bigby ended up interrogating Tweedle Dee. She was curious to see how her choices affected future episodes, and I pointed this out as one example. 

“I think it’s interesting, but even if you’re interrogating someone else do you still end up in room 207?” she asked. “I would think that one of the benefits of a game like this would be that you could go back and make different choices and have completely different outcomes, but it doesn’t seem like this is the case. I could be totally wrong, though.”

We’ll jump ahead to room 207. Bigby’s investigation takes him to a sleazy hotel, which he links to the murder of a troll disguised as Snow White. Bigby (and players) walk through evidence as he searches the room, and connects the dots between the items he finds and a storybook version of Snow White’s tale. My wife was not impressed.

“I don’t play a lot of video games, so I can only imagine how frustrating that would be for anyone who has extensive knowledge of what a video game is,” she said. “It was a tedious and ridiculous the way they walked you through all the different steps. And the way they said ‘You connected the evidence,’ was too basic, and it felt dumbed down.” 

I couldn’t agree with her more. You would have to go out of your way to bungle these obvious clues, such as assuming an apple on the scene was there because the killer was hungry and not because it was supposed to represent the legend’s iconic poisoned apple.

Overall, she wasn’t as forgiving about the second installment of the game. Fortunately for Telltale, she’s a pretty loyal viewer. She stuck with Lost all the way through its run – even the third season. We’ll see if the third episode of The Wolf Among Us can win her over.

 

Here are a few last quick notes:

  • What did she think of the topless dancer in the Pudding & Pie strip club? Funny you should ask: “It didn’t phase me at all. I would rather see the naked drawn woman up there than Bigby gouging the eyes out of Beast. Maybe I don’t appreciate the violent stuff. The fact that the nudity could be a bigger deal than someone gouging someone’s eyes out is completely ridiculous. I wouldn’t have even thought about it if you hadn’t brought it up."
  • What’s guiding her decisions: “I’m still using the same strategy. I didn’t want [Bigby] to resort immediately to violence, but I understood that he was eventually going to get there. Like, I knew that hitting Georgie was going to be the only way that I was going to get the information [about room 207].”