Warning: Spoilers for The Wolf Among Us Episode 3 below.
Now, that’s more like it.
You might remember in my review of the second episode, I was unhappy with the fact that aside from the ending, not much else happened to move us forward in the plot. Well, I can happily say that this is not the case in the games third episode, as A Crooked Mile throws us forward almost immediately, and leaves us with so much to think about, that I was ready for Episode 4 right away.
Episode 3 starts off the same way it will eventually end, with a bang. Deciding to crash Lily’s make-shift funeral, Bigby reveals Crane’s apparent murder of Lily and sick obsession of Snow to her, right before the Tweedle brothers show up to threaten Bigby to leave Crane alone. Of course, it doesn’t go well, and Holly, Bigby, and Grendel are all shot (although they all recover later on). Starting off the episode with such an intense scene was a great decision on Telltale’s part, as it leaves with us with an adrenaline-fueled state as we have to undercover just what is going on in the town.
What had to be one of the biggest issues I had with Episode 2 was the lack of story progression, as the end was the only time we felt the story moving forward, and even then it was almost spoon fed to us. Episode 3 changed that drastically, as nearly every choice you made felt as though there was a consequence to it. Going to one place meant you would be missing out on another clue, and taking too long to answer certain prompts left you with more questions then answers. This makes the game feel much more organic, and way more dependent on player input; I don’t feel like I’m running through a linear, pre-crafted path (even though I am), I feel as if I am genuinely missing out on things should I make the wrong choice.
However, not all was perfect. A handful of little things kept coming back to me as I played through the episode; as it seems to be the case with TWAU on consoles, the frame rate and cutscenes continue to cut and slow down when playing, which left me with some truly frustrating moments. Also, some of the conversations between characters just don’t feel as meaningful as in the teams other game, The Walking Dead, although there is plenty of time to change that as the story advances.
I don’t want to spoil too much for those who haven’t played, but later on in the game, we finally come to what feels like the only logical ending for this episode: a bloodbath. After catching up to Crane, we find out that he has been embezzling money from Fabletown in order to pay off his debts to the Crooked Man, and arrest him for that and the (maybe) murder of Lily. This is when everything goes to hell, as while escorting him out, they are cornered by the Crooked Man, the Tweedles, and a new, terrifying villain: Bloody Mary.
In a world where Telltale has delivered a handful of huge, impactful moments to us through not only their The Walking Dead series, but also in the few episodes of TWAU, we’ve had, it’s a true wonder that one of their best moments yet happened at the end of this episode. We had been waiting for it for some time, and Bigby’s transformation into his wolf, big bad wolf form, did not disappoint in the slightest. Between Mary and the Tweedles peppering you with gunfire, to all the pent up anger Bigby had, to us as a gamer finally getting to become the wolf, it was truly one of the best moments Telltale has presented us. The final fight to end the episode had everything you could want from a fight as the Wolf; finally getting the upper-hand on the Tweedles, even killing one of them (if you chose to do so), the pure strength and stamina you have as you fight (who else could survive THAT much bullet damage?), and even a touch of humanity, as even Bigby in his Wolf form is not invincible, and eventually succumbs to all of his injuries.
As I said earlier, the episode began the same way it ends, and it ends with a huge bang. Mary finally takes down Bigby, breaks his arm, and takes Crane, leaving you bleeding to death as she promises to be in touch. It happens in such a rush that we have almost no time to process what’s happening, and by the time we do, the episode is over, and we’re left with a small clip of what’s to come. If Smoke and Mirrors was the worst episode of this short series, then A Crooked Mile was it’s best, full of story, excitement, death, and even more mysteries that I cannot wait to solve.
- Bigby's transformation was wonderfully done, and felt just as terrifying as it looked.
- Bloody Mary's introduction
- Xbox 360 frame rate issues are almost unbearable.
- Mirror Died!? WHAT!?