[$4.99] The Wolf Among Us

Discussion in 'iOS Apps' started by gamesfriend, Jul 15, 2014.

  1. gamesfriend macrumors newbie

    Jun 14, 2014
    The violence in this introduction stands out as a way to overcompensate for The Wolf Among Us’ inherent silliness, to convince us that it’s brutal and dark. The overwhelmingly grisly murder that sets the game in motion only reinforces that idea.
    Adventure games usually handle cop stories well: You talk to people, gather clues, and make connections. Bigby does those things in The Wolf Among Us, too, but they don’t culminate in some solved puzzle as much as they change the tone and texture of Bigby’s relationships with other characters.

    In other words, this is a narrative experience, and the game’s whodunit is a plot device, not a game mechanic. Collecting evidence may unlock new dialog options, but its main purpose is to deepen the game’s mystery and to force Bigby to make decisions. That said, the choices players make over the course of The Wolf Among Us—some small, some large—form the game’s backbone, and every interaction seems to tie into Telltale’s narrative Rubik’s Cube.

    Unfortunately, performance problems on older devices like the iPad 2 crop up with regularity. Stuttering frame rates and delayed inputs make for shambolic action scenes and disrupted cinematics, and The Wolf Among Us suffers from general instability and locks up often. These technical problems are a black spot on an otherwise gorgeous game, especially since it depends on smart camera work and pacing to sustain its story.

    Like in Telltale’s previous series, The Wolf Among Us “remembers” certain choices and uses them to shape the story to come. This is an increasingly common narrative trick, but I’m skeptical of games that notify the player so obviously when it happens. Granted, “Faith” is only the first of five episodes, so it’s hard to see if and how Bigby’s kindness toward, say, Bufkin will play out. What’s clearer already is that Bigby’s character, his relationships, and “Faith”’s plot points are highly malleable.The Wolf Among Us’ surveillance seems like it would extend to the quick-time events that govern its fights. Bigby’s potential for ultraviolence rears its head more than once in “Faith,” and his restraint—or lack thereof—should have narrative repercussions. It doesn’t.

    Here’s the rub: it’s not always clear what a given QTE will do, or which ones can be skipped without losing the fight. This has an unfortunate chilling effect on roleplaying. In one early fight, Bigby steals an axe while a QTE prompt hovers near his opponent’s neck. Thinking his next move would be to decapitate someone, I skipped it and failed the fight. I was punished for playing Bigby less violently than Telltale intended.Turns out, Bigby merely breaks the guy’s jaw, but that’s beside the point. When Bigby talks to people, Telltale encourages us to roleplay, to make decisions that have lasting consequences; when he’s fighting someone, we get bottlenecked along a narrow path.

    You won’t get another crack at the body, even if there are other clues to gather, and the implication is clear: moving the story forward is more important than investigating. It’s frustrating that “Smoke” curtails a chance to do something both the character and mechanics are ostensibly suited for, especially since the investigation in Toad’s apartment worked so well in “Faith.”

    That same pressure to move quickly exerts itself through the timed dialogue system that Telltale has been using since The Walking Dead. This design makes sense in the context of a zombie apocalypse, but this episode never earns the sense of urgency imposed onto it.

    By episode three, The Wolf Among Us has settled into a familiar rhythm: Bigby talks to people, makes choices, conducts investigations, and occasionally gets stabbed, pummeled, or shot. The game’s design is well established, and episode three displays the best and the worst of what The Wolf Among Us has to offer.

    Meanwhile, Snow’s assertive, authoritarian streak that began in Aunty Greenleaf’s apartment continues during a showdown with Colin. After being proverbially stuffed into a fridge in the first episode, it’s nice to see Snow come into her own and exert some agency, even if I don’t necessarily care for her new hardline politics. Her change from a white outfit into dark grey isn’t just a matter of fashion, either. (I do wish she hadn’t accused me-as-Bigby of excessive violence, though—I haven’t dismembered or killed anybody yet!)

    Later, Bigby asks the un-glamoured Toad why it’s “so hard to just follow the rules,” and the answer is that Bluebeard and Crane have rigged the game against him. “It’s getting hard to tell the difference between the Business Office and Fables like the Crooked Man,” Toad replies, cutting to the heart of the matter.

    Bigby, of course, is at the center of these rising tensions, and his moral authority as a dispenser of justice and keeper of the peace is slipping. This is especially clear at the end of the episode, when Tim points out that Bigby, in his role as Sheriff, is complicit in creating a situation in Fabletown that allowed a criminal like the Crooked Man to become so powerful in the first place.

    That makes for tense, terse writing as it is, but Telltale’s games live and die by forcing players to make interesting decisions. Nothing in “A Sheep’s Clothing” comes to a head, but it’s clear that Bigby will soon have to choose between Snow and Colin, between doing what’s right and doing what he can, between enforcing the law and trying to make Fabletown a better place.

    In short, the writing in “In Sheep’s Clothing” serves the game’s most interesting decisions, and The Wolf Among Us’ mechanics illuminate and inform this episodes’ themes and dynamics. Despite being a relatively straightforward episode—there’s one standard fight scene, one minor branching path, and lots of exposition—the link between the writing, the mechanics, and Bigby’s last decision make “In Sheep’s Clothing” the richest episode to date. Reivew From http://www.gamesfriend.net/review/the-wolf-among-us
  2. Th3taJ macrumors member


    Jul 14, 2014
    Milford, NH
    This is such a great game! :cool:

    I feel like all TellTale Games narrates their creations so beautifully and make their games really intense without being an action-based game. I can't wait to see TellTale's Game of Thrones rendition and Tales from the Borderlands.

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