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Game Info:

The Wold Among Us
Developed By: Telltale Games
Published By: Telltale Games
Released: October 11 2013
Available On: Windows, Mac OS X, Xbox 360, PS3
Genre: Adventure
ESRB Rating: M: Intense Violence, Blood and Gore, Sexual Themes, Partial Nudity, Strong Language, Use of Alcohol and Tobacco
Number of Players: 1 offline 
Price: $24.99

A big Thank You to Telltale Games for sending us a review copy! 

The Wolf Among Us (And by extension, the Fables comics series) opens with a very interesting premise: What if Fairytale characters lived in modern-day New York City? The dynamic of some of our favorite characters in this setting is part of what made the Fables comics so fascinating, and The Wolf Among Us is no exception. 

Players take the role of the Big Bad Wolf, or as he prefers to be known, Bigby Wolf. Bigby is the sheriff of the place known as Fabletown, and it’s his role to make sure they follow the rules. What are the rules? Don’t let the Mundanes (That is, us; the non-Fables) know you’re a Fable. Since some of the Fables aren’t human, they have two options: Pay for a magical spell called “The Glamour” which makes you look human, or go to a place called “The Farm”. Since Fabletown is in New York City, it’s a difficult job keeping the secret. 

Our story starts with a cab ride. It seems that Mr. Toad from The Wind In The Willows has called for some assistance. One of the residents, The Woodsman from Little Red Riding Hood, is causing a disturbance. This quickly turns into a mystery, and it’s not one that will be solved in this first episode. 

Highlights:

Strong Points: Strong story and excellent characters.
Weak Points: A few graphical hiccups and some inconsistencies with certain plot elements.
Moral Warnings: Lots of language, blood, gore (Including gunshot wounds, severed heads, and broken facial bones), partial nudity, tobacco use, and alcohol use.

Mechanically, this game is very similar to the previous Telltale hit, The Walking Dead. It’s a story-driven caper based around the choices you make. Most of the game is exposition on the story, with some elements of a point-and-click adventure game, and a few action sequences with quick-time-events. It’s almost unfair to call The Wolf Among Us a game, it’s more like an interactive story that twists based on the choices you make.  In all, episode 1 takes about 2 hours to complete; about the same amount of time the average episode of The Walking Dead would take. 

The story itself is nothing short of engrossing. The plot is sharp and polished, and sucks the player in if they let it. Since you are playing the Big Bad Wolf, there’s a good deal of choice regarding how to approach a situation. Will you be a jerk to people, and bully them for information when they won’t give it to you? Or will you shed your past, and take a fresh start? It’s all up to the player, and the choices change the game accordingly. 

There are, however, a few inconsistencies. If you try to hide a crucial piece of information from Snow White, she still finds out even though no one could have told her. Hiccups like this are relatively minor, but they do break some of the immersion. 

Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 92%
Gameplay - 18/20
Graphics - 9/10
Sound - 10/10
Stability - 3/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 34%
Violence - 0/10
Language - 0/10
Sexual Content - 5/10
Occult/Supernatural - 5/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 7/10

Speaking of hiccups, some of the graphical glitches from The Walking Dead are still rearing their ugly heads here. Spotty collision detection and the occasional animation error stick out, but they are much less frequent than The Walking Dead. A marked improvement however, is that the floating shader glitch The Walking Dead had is gone. It should also be noted that there are several known problems launching this game, some of which require replacing dinput8.dll.

On the subject of visuals, this game is a beautiful piece to behold. The cell-shading increases the charm of the world and the characters, and makes this game seem more like the comics that inspired it. The visual style is less dark than The Walking Dead, but the darkness has been replaced with an appropriate brooding feel. There are colors, but they are subdued. The lighting is appropriately moody, and the character’s clothes are as grimy as the world they live in.

The story is propelled by the fantastic voice work and atmospheric music. The characters are voiced believably, and this game contains some of the most immersive music of a Telltale game. The subdued score helps enhance moments of tension, or draw on the feelings of the scene, just as it should be. 

Morality:

This is not a game for children. This world is dark, grim, and unpleasant. There is lots of blood and gore (There are severed heads), and language of all sorts runs thicker than water. One of the characters is a prostitute, and the second episode shows a woman’s breasts as well as some outfits that are about as revealing as possible. 

The characters regularly smoke, especially Bigby. Bigby lights up almost every time he can, and several other characters are seen smoking. Drinking is also prevalent here; Bigby pours himself some Gin at his apartment, and has liquor at a bar. 

Even if this game was clean, I still wouldn't recommend it for children. At it’s core, The Wolf Among Us is an adult game, dealing with adult responsibilities. The struggle to contain the beast, and the balance of ethical choices would be too much for most kids. 

Conclusion:

The Wolf Among Us proves one thing: Telltale has an undisputed talent for storytelling. The story is wonderfully crafted, the characters are believable as ever, and the game is an auditory and visual masterpiece to behold. If anyone thought The Walking Dead was just a fluke, The Wolf Among Us can put those thoughts to rest. However, this game is meant for mature audiences. The gritty story of Fabletown is engrossing, but the gore, sexual content, and language may be too much for some. As for me, I cannot wait to see where Telltale takes us on this new story in an unusual world. As of this writing, episode 2: Smoke & Mirrors does not have a release date.

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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