Developer: Telltale Games | Publisher: Telltale Games | Played On: PC | Release Date: July 8, 2014 | Price: $4.99 | ESRB: Mature [Intense Violence, Blood and Gore, Sexual Themes, Partial Nudity, Strong Language, Use of Alcohol and Tobacco]
What’s more important: doing what you think is right, or making sure justice is served? Sometimes the two are not interchangeable. Morality plays a considerable role in The Wolf Among Us, and this has never been more apparent than in the season finale. In Episode 5, “Cry Wolf,” loose ends comes together, but not everything is tied up in a neat little bow.
Bigby is finally face-to-face with the man he believes is responsible for all the torment happening in Fabletown, but it wouldn’t be The Wolf Among Us without some danger in between capture. The action ramps up to a level we’ve yet to witness in the series, and it’s one that’s fitting for the climax. Car chases and some interesting transformations—all still wonderfully drawn and tinted in neon—call for an exciting fifth installment, and it’s all interwoven with events and choices that actually matter.
Yes, you read that correctly: your choices do matter.
“Cry Wolf” is a cultivation of all the decisions you’ve made up to this point, from offering to help secondary characters find work to whether or not you chose to let others be shipped off to the farm. Some of the choices you make are crucial to the courtroom drama section of the episode—which is just as exciting as the extended fight scene presented right before it—where people can easily turn on Bigby depending on what he’s done to them in the past.
Thus, episode five is an excellent representation of Telltale’s choice and repercussion system. A few secondary characters that previously didn’t contribute much to the narrative now play a role in deciding what type of moral character the sheriff has become, and if he can be trusted by the fables he swore to protect. Dialogue manipulation is important to keep people on your side, and this time you see the direct result of your choices, instead of reading little prompts telling you someone will ‘remember that.’ Whether or not you decide to replay the entire season to experience the different outcomes depends on your curiosity to see the buried meanings behind everything you encounter; you’ll question everything you’ve ever done, and if you made the right calls then, knowing what you know now.
Instances of odd camera angles and lax combat aiming mechanics are less noticeable this time around compared to past Telltale releases. In a few instances the camera angles worked in favor of the player who chooses to explore and act more like a detective, rather than walking straight where the indicators lead them.
There’s something to be said about the quality of great storytelling when you’re able to weave a mystery within a mystery, and that’s exactly what episode five brings to the surface about the entirety of season one. Finding who’s murdering the women of Fabletown has always been the priority, but if you choose to dig deeper you discover hidden clues to a larger puzzle that’s evident now that the episodes are all out. Who is really pulling the strings, and are you sure you trusted the right people?
This brings into question if season one is better enjoyed as a whole package rather than an episodic venture every few months. Despite the recaps at the beginning of every episode, there’s a different experience to be had when playing the episodes in succession and truly seeing behind the smoke and mirrors with the information fresh in your mind—that is, if you choose to look past the fog. Episode five is enjoyable without diving deeper into the lore of Fabletown, but it’s nice that fans have option to dig further if they want to, as it does bring a different type of appreciation to the game. The element of choice and the crime mystery itself is very meta in The Wolf Among Us, and it’s something I was only able to appreciate after finishing the fifth episode.
That said, small details like the rules behind spells and curses, and why characters can be seriously hurt from certain types of injuries when episode one had the Woodsman take an axe to the head and still be okay are not straightforward at first glance. In fact, this episode does a large exposition dump in order to achieve the level of meta the veiled mystery requires, which can make the narrative slightly confusing. But peeling back the layers and seeing what lies at the core is what sets The Wolf Among Us apart from Telltale’s other successful franchise The Walking Dead. Fans of the series looking to be rewarded for their keen eyes will feel quite satisfied.
Oh, and this isn’t the last we’ll see of Telltale’s Bigby—this episode makes that abundantly clear.
Telltale let us know it takes more than huffing and puffing to be the big bad wolf, but your choices determine if that’s all the other fables will ever think of Bigby. Murder and corruption is just a portion of what lies beneath the underbelly of Fabletown. The Wolf Among Us is a noir stemmed in fantasy and (actual) glamour that blurs the lines of right and wrong. I wasn’t able to appreciate the mystery of The Wolf Among Us until the last chapter, but what a gratifying experience it turns out to be.
+ Choices do matter, and they can drastically change the outcome
+ A great narrative once it all comes together
— Heavy exposition dump
9 / 10