The Wolf Among Us: Episode 1 – Faith Review
The Big Bad Wolf, also known as Bigby, enters a cab as the city of New York illuminates the screen, a scene that could be straight out of Bill Willingham’s Fables comics. Set in NYC’s pre-Giuliani era, the streets are full of mystery and promise. The graffiti warns of its danger, the towering buildings make you feel small, and the darkness tenses your muscles. The smokaholic Bigby arrives at the Tenant Building in South Bronx to lecture Mr. Toad, who’s “out of glamour,” (not wearing his human form). Since this episode is set a decade and a half before the first Fables trade, all the references are explained for newcomers to get in on what’s happening in Fabletown.
As you lecture Mr. Toad, you choose your responses via the controller’s face buttons, just like in The Walking Dead. The infamous “Mr. Toad will remember that” prompt appears in the corner during the conversation, but soon it’s interrupted by a loud noise. Bigby goes to investigate; as he does, he can observe items on the floor before reaching the door. As he walks in, a scene of violence and swearing unfolds as the Woodsman, recognizable from Little Red Riding Hood, and a mysterious lady fight.
The drunken Woodsman is unhappy that Bigby has decided to pay him a visit, and the two soon engage in an intense QTE fight. During the tussle, Bigby can throw the Woodsman into different objects around the room, like dressers and desks, or grab objects like bottles to deal extra damage. The two soon fly out the window and crash onto a cab. Fables are hard to kill, so this battle is far from over. The Woodsman soon takes the edge, choking Bigby as you tap “A” to fight his strength. As things start to fade to black, the woman from before takes the Woodsman’s ax and slices right through the back of his skull.
While the Woodsman lays bleeding, she takes out of her rage by pushing the ax even further into his skull, and Bigby can stop her or let her carry out the punishment. Either way, it’s not enough to kill him, as he mysteriously escapes, while Bigby has an intimate chat with the girl, but never gets her name.
Bigby arranges to meet up to get more details, but runs into Beauty, who is obviously keeping a big secret from Beast but won’t say what. A day in life of a Fable is hard work, so Bigby goes upstairs to unwind, but there in his chair is none other than Colin the pig, who says Bigby owes him one for terrorizing him as the Big Bad Wolf all those years ago. Colin acts like your therapist almost, asking you how you feel about certain things that happened over the course of the night. He’s a smoking buddy for Bigby as well, and his quips towards Bigby are hilarious. The game gives you yet one more choice in how you treat Colin. You can give him a drink or deny him one. Telltale said the way you form relationships and how you treat people will factor into the story.
Before Bigby can rest long, Snow White soon arrives to show Bigby the brutal murder of a Fable, a rare occurrence in Fabletown. Different clues at the scene of the crime can be investigated, and you decide how much digging you want to do. I examined everything from the body parts to blood leading to the alley. Snow asks Bigby's advice on telling the acting mayor Ichabod Crane, to which Bigby can choose to support her or not. She reacts depending on what you choose.
Arriving back with her at Crane’s office, we’re introduced to the vile man; he talks down to Snow, blames everyone else for the murder, and demands a massage. Part of the fun is role-playing as Bigby, so I quickly try to side with Snow and tell off the jerk. As he leaves, Bufkin appears drinking Crane’s wine, and he’s set to help Snow and Bigby figure out who the Fable is that turned up dead. Bigby looks to the magic mirror, mocking the “mirror, mirror, on the wall” phrase trying to find out clues. The mirror visually reveals where people are, but won’t provide the exact location. After looking through a book of Fables, we track down a name and the victim’s origins.
Before leaving, the first big divergent path is presented. Mr. Toad, a worrywart, calls us frantically about a suspicious person in the building, but we also need to inform the victim’s fiancé, who could also be a suspect, about the death. Consequences exist for both choices: Mr. Toad could very well be in danger, but we could miss out on a juicy lead. I stare at the screen, contemplating. Telltale has done it again; I’m a conflicted mess, and that ends my demo.
I want to play more; the characters have humorous lines, the choices make me think, and shaping Bigby is captivating. The Wolf Among Us is keeping up with Telltale’s newfound reputation, and it could even bolster it.
Want more on The Wolf Among Us? Check out our debut feature.