THE WOLF AMONG US EPISODE 3 REVIEW
The best episode of Wolf Among Us is full of moment-to-moment excitement, great characters and a show stopping finale.
Posted by PlayDevil.com Staff on May 6, 2014 09:40 (May 6, 2014 09:40)
Written by: Joe
Stop Pretending ...:
Spoilers for Wolf Among Us Episodes 1 & 2 Follow
"It feels like you enjoy it, when things go wrong. Because it gives you an excuse to stop pretending."
This is the worried precursor Snow gives near the beginning of Episode 3 of The Wolf Among Us, and for better or worse it's right on the money. Bigby's quest for the truth takes many dark turns in A Crooked Mile, which continues Wolf's satisfying tradition of answering questions whilst posing juicy new ones.
Whilst Episode 2 left us with plenty to think about, it was a slow moving episode without much moment to moment excitement. Fortunately, that is not the case with A Crooked Mile, which kicks off with a bang and ramps up until it's excellent close. Bigby and Snow are on the hunt for Ichabod Crane, their director of operations, who is now a wanted man. Tailing him through the darkest parts of Fabletown the pair run into some seriously seedy characters, ending in a showdown with a new face who explodes onto the scene and immediately carves out a place for themselves as best character. This finale is Wolf's best moment, but the hour and a half that precedes it are filled with the brutal action and cunning writing the series' is known for.
New characters and excellent turns from the already established cast make this Wolf's strongest outing yet, revealing the personalities behind a lot of faces we hadn't gotten to know fully. Bluebeard's violent knee-jerk reactions hide someone who genuinely cares about Fabletown, albeit for their own reasons. Holly - the ogre who runs the bar - becomes a fully realized character thanks in no small part to her vulnerability in this chapter. Even the Woodsman, who shares a bloody lifelong feud with Bigby, opens up into more than just 'Suspect #1'. The always excellent writing allows this cast of monsters more humanity than I was expecting, and made the journey that much more interesting - and important.
It's this care that Telltale weave into every facet of their tale that cause some of the hardest decisions in Crooked Mile. Because even the sleaziest of Fabletown residents have something more to them than just villain or saint, Bigby - and we as players - genuinely care about them. As I played I tried my best to do right by these people, to play a good sheriff to the community, but thanks to Telltale's love of heartbreaking decisions, someone is always going to get hurt. I ended up disappointing those closest to me in my efforts to do the right thing, and it's this incredible balance that colours every decision grey, not black or white. It's riveting stuff that made even the most mundane decision one I would agonize over.
In the Fables comic series, author Bill Willingham's intricately crafted Bigby is the most interesting character in a huge cast of interesting characters. He is at once good and bad, and fosters a real dark side that shows its face every now and then. It's this dichotomy that has captured readers for over a decade. Telltale have done the impossible in not only capturing that inner struggle Bigby faces, but making his struggle yours.
By putting these moments in your hand, through a series of simple button prompts and quick time events, they hand responsibility over to you. Whether you're choosing which lead to follow, who to side with in an argument, or even some of the darker decisions I couldn't spoil, this is your story as much as it is theirs. Bigby isn't a conflicted character because Telltale have written him that way, it's because they've effortlessly forced you to be one. By the end of the episode I'd realized you can't please everyone, these people don't know what's good for them, and that I was going to help them whether they wanted it or not. I leaned into the darker side of Bigby and became the monster Fabletown deserved. It stunned me in the best possible way, to watch as my friends were repulsed by me, my choices, my actions, and think "You don't know it yet, but I'm doing this for you."