A stylish new fantasy adventure.
Stepping out from the monumental shadow of Telltale’s superb take on The Walking Dead, the first episode of the five-part The Wolf Among Us series immediately stakes its own claim as one of the most exciting adventure games of the year. Titled Faith, this episode makes filling the shoes of Bigby Wolf, the sheriff of a magical version of New York City populated by the fairytale characters that we all grew up with, is an energetic and memorable experience. Telltale builds upon the same emphasis of choice and consequence as its 2012 predecessor, while providing a starkly different tone via just how physical it is for an adventure game.
Throughout this two-hour chunk of adventure, I enjoyed making many tough decisions as the imposing sheriff of this strange, dangerous, and magical world. I had no qualms with roughing up a suspect, busting down doors, or tearing apart a room during a fight. That last one is particularly important, because the action scenes in Faith are absolutely fantastic.
Think of them as choreographing a fight scene in a movie through the lens of a choose-your-own-adventure book. During a scuffle, the action periodically pauses for a brief moment and gives you the choice of how to proceed. Do you try to talk your way out of a fight, or surprise them with a sucker punch? Toss your opponent at a dresser, or smash them into a sink? Use a bottle, or keep swinging your fists? The handful of these scenes provided a nice bit of excellent chaos, and I felt the urge to replay each one in order to see what sort of different outcomes I could reach if I’d chosen differently. These work particularly well on an iOS device, as the act of tapping on a object to grab it or swiping across the screen to swing a fist feels incredibly satisfying.
This physicality isn’t just limited to our actions as Bigby – the entire world is populated by brash, violent, and downright entertaining characters. As a prequel story to Bill Willingham’s Fables comic series, the story revolves around solving a shocking murder while trying to maintain a semblance of order among a tight-knit community of displaced fairytale characters. Every moment of this episode’s investigation is filled intriguing characters, mysterious settings, and fantastic writing.