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The Wolf Among Us: Episode 1 - Faith

Score: 80%
ESRB: Mature
Publisher: Telltale Games
Developer: Telltale Games
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Adventure/ Action

Graphics & Sound:

Telltale Games is known for a few things. One is their ability to make strong episodic adventure games and another is their faithfulness to the original artwork and style of the license they are dealing with. Well, The Wolf Among Us: Episode 1 - Faith is no different.

Right off the bat, you feel like the game is based off of a graphic novel, and if you are familiar with Bill Willingham's Fables series, you will notice the familiar lines and dark shadows from the graphic novels. Characters like Bigby, Snow White, the winged monkey Bufkin and Beauty and the Beast look to be solid representations of their comic-book counterparts.

The Wolf Among Us features a good mix of subtle and out of the way background music, plus voice acting that rarely feels force or phoned in. While my first impressions were that of a film noir style narrative, that was quickly dispelled. The story isn't quite in the main character's head enough to really sell that style, but even so, the tone and the mystery fit the classic noir detective mystery nicely.


The Wolf Among Us: Episode 1 - Faith starts off by setting up the world. At some point, all of the fairy tale characters from all of the stories had to leave their old worlds behind. They all moved to our world and settled in and around New York City. Most live in a neighborhood called Fabletown, but other, less fortunate fables live in some of the seedier parts of the city. Think of this as a version of Once Upon a Time where everyone remembers who they were and tries to keep a low profile.

The game follows Bigby Wolf, formerly the Big Bad Wolf. He is the sheriff and his primary job is to make sure the rest of the world doesn't know about their existence. Some days are easier than others, but between non-humanoid fables who don't use enchantments to blend in and fights between others that are way more drawn-out and more brutal than anything else on the streets of NYC, Bigby has his work cut out for him.

The first episode, "Faith," starts off with Bigby having to break up a fight between The Woodsman and a working girl that Bigby knows is a fable, but doesn't quite recognize. The story really picks up when the unknown girl's head shows up on the steps of Fabletown the next day. What follows is an investigation that sends the sheriff all over the city to not only find out who the victim is, but why anyone would want her dead.

For those gamers who played through Telltale's The Walking Dead games, you can expect the same style of adventure here. The main difference is that there is a lot more action in this series. Where The Walking Dead was filled with a low and ever-present tension between the characters and what might be just beyond the walls, there weren't that many quicktime based fighting sequences. That isn't the case here. As the sheriff of a group of powerful, and often angry, supernatural creatures, Bigby ends up getting in a lot of fights, so if you didn't like the "fighting" mechanics of The Walking Dead, then you might not want to jump into The Wolf Among Us.

What most people liked about the previous title and is gladly brought into this one is the decision system. Like The Walking Dead, characters remember the way you treat them and the decisions you make. Dialogue branches naturally based on your attitudes towards characters and more obvious big decisions can change a lot about how the game ends, including who survives. There are a couple of points in The Wolf Among Us: Episode 1 - Faith where you have to decide between two paths. These include deciding which locations to investigate in which order, as well as who to chase when two people you seriously need to talk to run in opposite directions.


The Wolf Among Us: Episode 1 - Faith isn't really a hard game. At no point was I unsure what to do next, and I only recall one quicktime fight sequence where I failed, and that was because I was rapidly pressing the wrong key for some reason. I played through the story a couple of times and tried out several of the choices, but I never really got the feeling that those choices had a major impact on either my character or those around me. Sure there is a point where you can keep one character from dying, and there is a point where you will have to let one of your suspects go, and those will impact future episodes, but I never really came across the "hard choices" of The Walking Dead. The result is a game that has the mechanics of The Walking Dead, but the emotional impact of your average adventure title. I'm not saying that every game has to be as heart wrenching as The Walking Dead by any means, but given how close this title feels to Telltale's last game, it is hard not to make the comparison.

Game Mechanics:

The Wolf Among Us: Episode 1 - Faith doesn't feature a lot in the way of inventory puzzles. Instead, the game focuses on dialogue options and making sure you examine everything you need to before moving on - after all, this is a murder investigation. While there are times when using your inventory item will progress the story, these are rare and only occasionally affect how the story plays out. One minor example of this is if you decide to give the eventual murder victim some money before she leaves the scene. While this doesn't change her fate, it does mean you won't have money later when you might need it.

Like I said above, there are a lot of action sequences in The Wolf Among Us, and like The Walking Dead, these are handled by quicktime key presses and mouse clicks. These can be either using the [W], [S], [A] and [D] keys to dodge hits and thrown objects, or rapidly pressing the [Q] key. During fights, you will also have the occasion to click on parts of your enemy's body in order to land a blow. From the game's first encounter with the Woodsman to the final mad-dash after your suspect, you will find yourself using these action keys much more than in past Telltale games.

If you enjoyed the gaming style of The Walking Dead, but didn't like the fighting mechanic therein, then I doubt you will enjoy what ends up being a good chunk of The Wolf Among Us. That being said, these events add a lot of energy and momentum to the story and I rarely had issues getting through one in one shot. If you are an adventure game fan and somehow haven't played The Walking Dead, well, go give that game a try. Trust me, I like The Wolf Among Us, but since it still has several episodes left before its done and all of the first season of The Walking Dead is out already, then that should be your first move. You won't be disappointed.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

Minimum System Requirements:

Windows XP Service Pack 3, Core 2 Duo 2GHz or equivalent processor, 3 GB RAM, ATI or NVidia card w/ 512 MB RAM video card, DirectX 9.0c, 2 GB available hard drive space, Direct X 9.0c sound device.

Test System:

Windows 7 Ultimate, Intel i7 X980 3.33GHz, 12 GB RAM, Radeon HD 5870 Graphics Card, DirectX 9.0c

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