Despite this wallpaper might make you feel, The Wolf Among Us is not a 2D game, not even close really, but it does have a very distinctive style. I don’t feel like waxing on about Telltale’s visual style since most people should be familiar with it at this point. It’s very stylish, it’s very oil-painting, but more importantly it’s the standard for all games from this developer. For better or worse, that gives it a pass.
Now to start out, what is important is if their oil painting makes sense with the game. Does it pull you out of the experience, or does it paint a picture for you, draw you into it more and more. Luckily, it does the latter. Wolf is based off of a comic series, and not only that the entire game is about fairy tales. When you have a theme so stylistic as that, it helps to have art that sets it apart from everything else.
Fair warning, Wolf Among Us is a mature game, very mature in fact. You will recognize many of your favorite fairy tale characters in it, but you might be shocked by what they are. You’ll find a jackal as a pawn store owner, a frog as a single father, and most importantly, a wolf as a sheriff.
Telltale’s story telling system ties into this very nicely. Each character has their own story, and while the story might have some relation to their fairy tale roots, it is definitely not limited to that, and the result is an interwoven narrative that takes advantage of the entire cast, and gives you moments of satisfaction, loss, and rage over injustices that happen over the course of the story.
Now, Wolf suffers from the same problems that all Telltale games do, you’re not doing much. Oh, you make decisions, and for a Telltale game these decisions are pretty damn emotional to you, and definitely have an impact on how you feel as the story progresses. That said, your choices are not going to change the story, not integrally and not in any meaningful way. You’re making decisions in a linear story, and whatever changes are there, they are there mostly independent of the major events gripping the town.
Bigby, or the big bad wolf, is an incredibly enjoyable character. He has a job no one wants, in a town that hates him, and often having to go about his duties with no support at all. It’s no wonder he falls to smokes and alcohol to handle everything, because it is quite the miserable life. That said, he’s a wolf. This game literally made me empathize with the big bad wolf. Bravo, Telltale.
Now, there is a singular trope lasting throughout the game, and that is every fable (or most of them) has their animal form, and only looks human because of magic. After the first five minutes of the first episode, you want to see Bigby transform into the big bad wolf, you just do. There are multiple stages of his transformation, and when he finally does for the climax of the game, it pays off every penny.
In The Wolf Among Us you should expect to see your childhood heroes grounded in reality, and as the big bad wolf you will interact with each and every one of them. The result is an immersive world, an intriguing premise, and one of the best storytelling experiences of this year.