The Wolf Among Us is now into the home stretch as episode four is released to the public. Happily, for fans of the series, this latest episode keeps the positive momentum of past episodes going in a good direction. Things happen, and Bigby continues to find himself negotiating a world where upholding the law is mostly a good thing, but there are some serious problems with the current system that are hurting many innocent people. Fables the comic book has always been about putting fairy tale characters in realistic, humorous and morally ambiguous situations. Telltale’s interpretation is upholding that legacy nicely.
The technical side of things remains the same; the PS3 version reviewed has performance issues. They’re well documented and don’t need a repeat. The important thing here is that Telltale continues to follow a traditional narrative arc of rising action, rising stakes and, in true interactive fashion, some choices that need to be made, some easy and some hard.
It’s hard to talk about the fourth episode of a five part series without getting into spoilers about past episodes. But really, no really it has to be stressed at this point that YOU SHOULD NOT BE JUMPING INTO EPISODE FOUR OF A FIVE EPISODE GAME AS YOUR FIRST EXPERIENCE WITH THAT GAME. Having said that, I feel no remorse at all about discussing past plot points, although of course, even those moments may differ based on the choices players make at key junctures in the game.
Bigby is now recovering from the absolutely brutal encounter he just barely survived at the end of episode three. In true Fable fashion, recovering actually means “suck it up, get back on your feet and get back to the job,” since Fables can endure what would be mortal wounds for mundane humans, or “mundies,” as the Fables call them. Things have taken an unexpected turn, and the murder mystery has gotten a bit more complicated as murderer and victim aren’t as straightforward as they were shaping up to be.
Telltale once again does a great job of engrossing the player in 80s New York populated by fairy tale characters. There’s a definite film noir tone to this mystery with classic tropes such as the “mysterious dame,” waiting for a detective in his office and other little touches that make the player feel like Humphrey Bogart on the case. That’s assuming Humphrey Bogart interrogated trolls and transformed into a homicidal werewolf-ish creature to get his point across more sternly. More of the fantastical elements rear their head in this episode, reinforcing just how different Fables are from their mortal counterparts. There’s actually a reduction in locations visited in Sheep's Clothing compared to past episodes, but they pack a lot of drama—and most importantly for a mystery—investigation into these locations that it doesn’t feel like a budgetary consideration.
Telltale has now set itself up for what will hopefully be a satisfying conclusion to this latest episodic series. It’s not as emotionally charged as the original Walking Dead game, but in many ways is a more entertaining experience. Telltale has always been good with humor, and that’s something that comes out more naturally in a world inhabited by Fairy tale characters. We’ll likely have to wait until the end of summer before we see the final episode, but if it plays out well, Telltale will have another respectable notch to add to their adventure game belt.