The Wolf Among Us is an episodic game by Telltale Games based on the Fables comic book series by Bill Willingham. Since I am almost always late to most video game parties and all five episodes have been released at the time of playing, it didn’t feel at all very episodic to me but was instead a point-and-click adventure/mystery drama that didn’t play so much as a game as it did an interactive movie.
A huge selling point of Telltale Games’ episodic series was that every choice you make can lead to enormous and vastly different consequences. Apart from the gorgeous graphics and the promise of excellent story-telling, I liked the choice-based mechanic of the game because it felt like an opportunity for me to learn how to be more unyielding and maybe, a bit more zen too.
You see, I’m a chronic worry-wart and making choices is almost always excruciating for me. I irrationally suffer through the process of making decisions for myself, and suffer twice more when making decisions for others. Huge or tiny choices, it really doesn’t matter. All is fair in mental health problems and war. If I had my way, it can take me as much time to choose what Jollibee value meal to order, or what internet service provider to choose as much as it takes to decide if I should move out of my folks’ home or not, all of which can be a looong time. And when I finally make the decision, it will always feel like something’s amiss, that maybe I still missed a pro or a con on my list of pro vs cons. Or I didn’t do enough research. Something. Anything. Sometimes, I get so bogged down by the gravity of the act of choosing (not so much the choices, as sometimes the outcome is irrelevant), that I give up and end up not making a choice at all.
That is why choice and consequence games can be a good way for me to make decisions fast (before a timeout!), stay firm about them and not look back (e.g. whine too much). I need to learn how to live with the decisions I make. Unless I die in which case, I go back to an earlier save point.
But I digress. This post is about the game and not about me, and The Wolf Among Us didn’t feel at all like the decisions I made throughout the game really had much effect on the plot line. They didn’t feel like they added up to something big nor did I see any changes that may have been defined by tiny dialogue options that I had to click before a timeout bar disappears. Apart from a couple of obviously huge decisions (which you would know are huge choices because they are totally IN YOUR FACE), I didn’t think that every other time-based choices made an impact to the story as have been over-hyped. They would probably make you miss a two second retort from the eponymous Bigby Wolf, but nothing major will probably happen. I just didn’t feel any sort of gravity from the choices I had to make. Choose this or that, or not choose at all, and it would probably not matter*.
Apart from this misgiving, The Wolf Among Us still delivered on the two other things I expected from it – gorgeous graphics and the promise of a good storytelling. It was very beautifully made and the story kept me intrigued all through the end.
If you like Fables, fairy tales, and Once Upon a Time (TV series), you would probably like this game. If you like noir movies, this game may be a lot of fun for you too.
*If you think I’m wrong, let’s discuss. Gravity of the matter is almost always subjective anyway.