MILD SPOILERS FOR ALL EPISODES FOLLOW – Set as a prequel to Bill Willingham’s comic series ‘Fables’, The Wolf Among Us is a fantastic neo-noire fantasy crime thriller drenched in blood and neon, billed as a mature version of classic fairytales. Focused on Sherrif Bigby (otherwise known as the Big Bad Wolf) trying to maintain order throughout Fabletown, the name given to basically a settlement based in 1986 Manhatten. The game draws upon the classic children’s fables, with characters such as Snow White, Beauty and the Beast, Mr Toad, Bloody Mary and Ichabod Crane. All familiar names and characters, yet you’ve never seen iterations of these characters before. Snow White is tasked with running the failing Fabletown, Ichabod Crane is a greedy pervert, Beauty and the Beast are facing marital and financial troubles and Bigby himself is plagued by violent memories and behaviours characteristic to his old persona. It’s the Brothers Grimm mixed with David Fincher’s trademark whodunnit filmmaking and with a bit of Hitchcock thrown in as well. Let’s not forget Chinatown.
After meeting with a young prostitute named Faith, Bigby and Fabletown is thrown into turmoil when her head literally arrives on his doorstep, and as more prostitutes start to die, Bigby discovers a conspiracy that throws the entire Town into peril over the course of five episodes, that occurs over a 9 month period as Telltale once again delves into the episodic format, to varying degrees of success. As I had waited for the entire season to come out before playing it together (something I also do with TV shows), I didn’t feel the excitement OR the frustration that came with a trademark end of episode cliffhanger. I didn’t really need the recap and preview for each episode either, as I played most episodes in one sitting. This wasn’t a big issue, but it would have been nice to skip it. Again, this is only because Telltale does the episodic format so it doesn’t count as a negative.
To really tell more about the story would be spoiling what is mostly a fantastic murder-fantasy-mystery, as the plot throws twist after twist that soon become quick to lose track of. The first episode is clearly the best one of the bunch, with a focused premise, amazing character development and really throws the player into Fabletown. Most of all, I was surprised to see how much I connected with Bigby and the residents of Fabletown. As the crux of the investigation, it was essential for people to connect with Faith, even if she only appears for half an hour, and I was damned surprised just how much I liked her, which made my emotional investment into the game so much more satisfying.