It’s no secret that The Walking Dead was one of, if not the best games of 2012. Selling over 8.5 million copies, helping to revive a weakened genre, and earning over 90 game of the year awards is proof enough that Telltale Games can create a story that keeps us coming back for more. Unfortunately, when you create a game as amazing as The Walking Dead, whatever comes next is going to be held to the same high standards. Thankfully, Telltale Game’s new endeavor, The Wolf Among Us, is already shaping up to be something just as extraordinary as The Walking Dead, if not more so.
Based on Bill Willingham’s classic comic book series, Fables, The Wolf Among Us places you in a world in which many famous fairy tale characters (Fables, as they call themselves) are not only real, but living amongst the humans, concealing their true identities through the use of magical hexes known as “glamours” and living in a New York City community known as Fabletown. Taking place approximately 20 years before the first issue of the Fables comic, The Wolf Among Us gives you control of Bigby Wolf, who you might know as the Big Bad Wolf, only instead of hunting down Little Red Riding Hood you’re now the sheriff of Fabletown, trying your best to keep everyone in check while keeping your existence a secret from the humans (known as Mundys to the Fables). In the midst of this struggle to keep everything in order, something happens in Fabletown that hasn’t happened in a very long time; a murder. It is now up to you to figure out who exactly is responsible for this murder and why they would commit such a crime. Where The Walking Dead started you off with a tension filled car crash, The Wolf Among Us also throws you into the action almost from the very beginning. Tasked with responding to a call from one of Fabletowns residents, (I won’t spoil anything for anyone that hasn’t played) you are quickly thrown into the fray, and Telltale sets the tone and pace for the game early in an incredible way. Fans of The Walking Dead won’t see much of a difference when it comes to gameplay, as Telltale has decided to stick with the same point and click gameplay. However, it’s the smaller things that make the biggest differences; Bigby is a much more hands-on character then TWD’s Lee Everett, something that Telltale takes advantage of. It seems as if the action sequences have been tweaked a bit, with many fights forcing you to move a reticule into a matching spot while Bigby is being tossed about, giving you a very real feeling of struggle and desperation during the fight. Dialogue sequences are also much faster, it seems, forcing you to think on the spot and act quickly when talking with your fellow Fables. In games that don’t feature a whole lot of gameplay, it’s usually the story and characters that have to take control and keep the player engaged. This is where Telltale Games’ titles excel and The Wolf Among Us is no different. Through one episode, it is clear to see that this story is expertly crafted and that the characters themselves are incredibly developed. Voice acting is just as big of a factor to games like this; especially games that are based on comics where longtime fans already have in their heads an idea of how a character might act or sound. Fans of the series have no need to fear, however, because lead actor Adam Harrington turns in an amazing performance as the voice of Sheriff Bigby. The rest of the cast of voice actors are equally as incredible, doing such a great job with these characters that it only pulls you even further into the game’s world. Towards the end of the first episode, each moment is so tense that it leaves you on the edge of your seat. The last scene of the episode is so shocking that it nearly left me with my jaw on the floor and wishing that every episode was out now, so I wouldn’t have to wait to see how this story plays out. At the end of the day, The Wolf Among Us is already in contention for one of the best games I have played in 2013 and with four episodes left to go, it has a strong chance of becoming a much better gaming experience then The Walking Dead was, which is quite a feat in itself. Telltale has done more than deliver on the high standards they set with TWD and aside from a few frame-rate issues while playing, it’s clear that The Wolf Among Us is going to be another smash hit for Telltale Games.