Bluebeard Probably Did It: A Review of “The Wolf Among Us”
I’m late to this party, but it’s one I’ve been meaning to crash.
Telltale Games’ “The Wolf Among Us” was given to Xbox Gold members for free back in April, and I’ve just recently been able to finally FINALLY sink my teeth (pun intended) into it — shout out to my friends who reminded me that I had it. You’re the real MVPs, as they say on the internet.
I’ve only gotten through episode one because, you know, responsibilities and everything, but let me just tell you: it is totally worth the Tumblr hype. In fact, it deserves more. I want to see it all over my dashboard the next time I log in, kiddos.
First thing’s first, if you don’t like Telltale Games, just ignore your feelings for a second and play this anyway.
“The Wolf Among Us” takes us into the realm of fairytales, but in a modern-day setting. It’s essentially “Once Upon a Time” for Xbox, just with more death. (No, really, I mean it “Once” fans, there’s more death.) You play as Bigby Wolf (get it?), who is the Sheriff of Fabletown, where you live alongside the other fairytale characters of old.
From Snow White and Beauty from “Beauty and the Beast” to Ichabod Crane and Bluebeard, any fairytale character you can think of has been implemented in this game. That might be an exaggeration —like I said, I’m only on episode one. But there are a lot of characters, I promise.
The clincher is that, by law, all of these characters must be wearing a “glamour,” which is a spell that allows them to appear human. Otherwise, as Bigby threatens several characters, they are sent to the ever-ominous “Farm.” This usually instills fear into whoever he threatens with it, so I really can’t wait to see this “farm.”
The most striking thing about “The Wolf Among Us,” for me, is its amazing design and art. Something I just recently learned is that the game is based on the “Fables” comic series by Bill Willingham, to which I say: Bless you, Bill Willingham. “The Wolf Among Us” is beautiful and I thank you from the bottom of my Bigby heart (I hope you got it last time, or you won’t get it now).
Let me continue heaping piles of praise onto this gorgeous game by also saying, “Wow, golly, A-1 storyline. Aces, really, love it!” Because I do love it. Fabletown characters begin to be murdered viciously, and, surprise: it’s up to Bigby Wolf as sheriff to sniff out the killer. (More puns, they make it too easy.)
One of my favorite things about the storyline is that, even though Bigby is the “hero” of the game, everyone hates him. Well, almost everyone. Almost all of Fabletown’s inhabitants fear Bigby for his past — he is, after all, the wolf in every fairytale from the “Three Little Pigs” to “Little Red Riding Hood.”
In fact, his days of “Little Red Riding Hood” are the first that are referenced when Bigby (“Bigby” stands for Big Bad, okay? Big, Bad Wolf? There. I told you. Happy?) is called upon to investigate a domestic disturbance between the Woodsman and a mystery girl. The Woodsman even directly says to Bigby something like, “Remember that time I filled your stomach with rocks?” and that makes us fairytale fans go, “Oh, I do!”
At risk of spoiling the storyline, let me just implore you, even you Telltale Games-haters, to pick up “The Wolf Among Us” somewhere and put it into your respective console of choice.
It’s a beautifully rendered game with an equally beautiful storyline and characters, and really drives home the whole “fairytales are for adults, too” argument. I promise you won’t be disappointed.