|Genre: Adventure & RPG|
|Min OS X: 10.6|
|The Wolf Among Us - Episode 1: Faith|
November 5, 2013 | Steven Marx
Mac OS X: 10.6.8 | CPU: 2 GHz Intel | RAM: 4 GB | HD Space: 2 GB | Graphics: 512 MB VRAM
Admit it, you've always wanted to be the Big Bad Wolf, or at least wondered what it would be like, haven't you? Or is that just me? Well whether you have or not, now is your big chance, in Telltale Game's follow on to their Game of Year winning The Walking Dead comic book adventure series. The Wolf Among Us - Episode 1: Faith (Wolf:Ep1) puts you in the role of Bigby Wolf (get it?), sheriff of Fabletown, a neighborhood in New York City populated by characters from stories and fairy tales that you grew up with, although they may not be as you remember them. As sheriff, it's your job to solve a series of murders plaguing Fabletown, and you'll do this by investigating various locations and interacting with the other Fables. And how you interact with these characters will influence how the game plays out. Based on the Fables series of comic books but set before the events of those stories, The Wolf Among Us features an engrossing storyline, interesting characters and dialogue better than I've heard in many movies, making this one of the most entertaining games I've played in a long time. And this is just the first episode.
As with other games of this type, gameplay in Wolf:Ep1 is pretty straightforward. The WASD keys for moving and mouse dragging and clicking are all that's involved. While there are occasional action scenes requiring fairly quick reflexes, these are few and far between and the game shows you what you need to do, you just have to be quick enough to do it. You can die and have to respawn from the last checkpoint, but that isn't likely to happen often. The focus of this game is on the story and your interactions with the characters. And as opposed to many games of this type, how you interact with these other characters will in fact influence how the game plays out.
Each time you have a chance to talk with a character, a series of dialogue choices pop up, with a shrinking bar showing you how much time you have to make your decision. These decisions allow you to, in essence, be naughty or nice or subtle variations in between in dealing with different characters, and often how you deal with them will affect how they deal with you. As you make your choices and influence other characters' feelings about you, their reactions will sometimes pop up in the upper left of your screen ("He'll remember that" for example), letting you know that your actions will have consequences later on.
This gives an otherwise short game (or episode in this case) some replay value as you may want to test some of your interactions to see if you can change how things play out. And while your actions do have real consequences, there is a storyline that will play out in its larger outline regardless of how you work your way through the story. The fact that I did go back several times to test out different scenarios, however, is sign of how engaged I was in the story. I was actually interested in seeing if I could change certain outcomes, which is a sign that the game designers succeeded in their goals of creating an interesting story with characters worth getting to know.
As you meet new characters, you will unlock their stories in the Book of Fables, one of three sets of Extras in the game. Looking them up will give you a little more background on the character, although this adds more depth to the story rather than useful information to your character. The second element, which is kind of fun, is Player Choices. At several points in each Episode you will make important decisions that will influence how the story plays out. Afterwards, you get to compare your decisions with those of everyone else who has played the game, to see if you're following a similar or different path. This is also helpful if you want to play like few have played before. And the final extra is Achievements, which is essentially completing each chapter in the episode, along with an additional achievement for completing all the chapter and another for unlocking all the characters in the episode. While not a major or even essential addition to the game, these extras do provide more depth and fun.
A Note On the Rating
You may have noticed that this game has an M rating and be wondering if that's really true of a comic book adventure based on fairy tales. It is. From the language to the graphic violence and subject matter, this game is very NSFW or children. That said, it's alternative take on fairy tales was fun to play along with, and some of the dialogue had me chuckling as I realized what was being discussed. So take the rating seriously, but if you're old enough it's a fun revisionist fairy tale history.