The Wolf Among Us, TellTale’s (the developers behind Walking Dead and Game of Thrones) game inspired by the comic book series Fables, is a gritty nuanced take on social dystopia. Despite its mid-1980’s setting, Wolf feels more than relevant for today.
The Wolf Among Us starts off as a mystery, and is able to maintain it (despite a number of twists) throughout, but that in itself is something of a McGuffin. Sheriff Bigsby, the aforementioned “wolf” of the title, digs through the rampant corruption of Fabletown and the myriad of unhappy denizens. What we we gather is that the Fables fled from their homeland and now live as refugees in plain sight, struggling with poverty and keeping their true selves hidden from the general public.
This class struggle is keenly examined in Wolf, and realistically explored via the dynamic of Bigsby / Snow and the ideological (if naive) “government” they represent, and the street-level realities Fabletown must deal with. Flawed characters are strewn throughout and the game does not flinch from their broken qualities. Whether it is entitled materialism, peddling and frugality, or hedonism, each aspect comes through to add an additional layer to the story and provide commentary on our society and the growing finanical divide between the classes.
The voice acting is excellent, as is common in TellTale releases. The gritty artwork, something I’ve called into question before as clashing with a franchise (looking at you, Game of Thrones) is right at home with the comic book origins and setting of The Wolf Among Us. I was also impressed with the music, particularly the main theme. It has the right blend of retro-modern sensibilities and atmosphere, and I loved it. The writing was solid, and the team should be commended for crafting an engrossing world and mystery that holds up well throughout five episodes.
Wolf performs fine technically on the PlayStation 4, and I was happy to discover that TellTale included the ability to “fast walk” through scenes, alleviating a frustration from previous entries. The game has a Platinum trophy that is not difficult to obtain, for those interested. The inclusion of an encyclopedia for the various characters and items, complete with extensive background information, is a great value-add.
While the first Walking Dead game is probably the fan-favorite, The Wolf Among Us deserves strong consideration for being the best. The mature and complex storyline, plus the imaginitive backstory and characters, provide an intense and satisfying experience. It’s one of those games where I hope there isn’t a sequel. The Wolf Among Us is one of the best and most unique games in the PS4 library. Well-worth the time and minimal investment.