Have You Played…The Wolf Among Us?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

The Wolf Among Us [official site] remains one of the only games my wife and I have bonded over. She just doesn’t really care for them, but that doesn’t stop me for always keeping an eye out for something that she might be willing to try. When I pitched The Wolf Among Us, I knew she’d bite (Boo – Ed). An urban fantasy game about fairy tale creatures? Who wouldn’t like that premise!

It might sound foolish, but what I love about The Wolf Among Us is how very little of it could actually be described as a game, and the few elements that remain cleverly hidden. Our arrangement had me manning the controller with my wife deciding what decisions to make, though I admit to more than once disobeying her in favor of a choice I thought was better. Everyone has their flaws.

But that setup worked beautifully for us because we both had equal input into the game; she was Bigby’s brain and I was his fists. And The Wolf Among Us balances those two aspects of rather well. We always felt whisked away to the next action scene or important decision. When we later decided to give The Walking Dead a try, we abandoned it after only two episodes because it had the exact opposite problem. Instead of being two equal participants in an unfolding story, The Walking Dead was pitched with such long winded moments of “game” that she might as well have been watching me play Doom. She was bored, and I unable to enjoy myself because of it.

And that’s why, despite having a pretty great library, The Wolf Among Us will always be my favorite Telltale game. Sure, there are better told stories, but The Wolf Among Us was perfect for us instead of just being perfect.

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  1. HopeHubris says:

    I’ve played it, I enjoyed the story, but the QTE’s killed the game for me

    • Czrly says:

      Yes. The setting and execution were really nice but QTEs and timed dialogue choices just ruined it.

  2. Smigulp says:

    Funny, I’ve just finished downloading it. Nice timing :-)

  3. Riaktion says:

    The only Tell Tale Narrative type game I’ve played through is Tales from the Borderlands and my my what a glorious game that is. Might be another one to try as I recall it is pretty balanced between QTE and narrative decisions. Also it is funny.

  4. JakeOfRavenclaw says:

    It stumbles a little in the last episode (although I did like the very, very ending–a great example of choice that has no practical effect on the story, but definitely lets you decide who Bigby is and what he values and what kind of note you want to end on). Still, for the most part it’s a truly exemplary game, and one of Telltale’s best so far I’d say. Love the art design and soundtrack especially.

    One thing I appreciated about this one is that it mixed up the QTEs a bit–there’s an early fight with a character who you don’t want to hurt because he doesn’t understand the situation, and the typical button mashing become a more fraught experience as you wonder whether you really want to succeed at the QTE or not. But then later there are fights where Bigby is just unleashing all his rage and frustration, and slamming on those buttons just feels so good.

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      gritz says:

      Agreed. I don’t hate QTE’s just for being QTE’s, and a lot of them were especially satisfying in this game.

    • Toadsmash says:

      It also had a hell of a cliffhanger of an ending. Game wasn’t perfect, but by the standards of video game writing, it was still years ahead of 95% of the industry, and I thought better than Walking Dead in a lot of ways. Still hoping it gets a second season.

  5. Monggerel says:

    Didn’t much like the story, the plot, the characters and the whole thing overall, but the intro sequence was fantastic.
    link to youtube.com

    (is that how you link? to youtube? I’m bad at comments)

  6. Freud says:

    Yes. Twice. Once as a good guy and once as a bastard.

    I was surprised by how different it was for me as a player and how uncomfortable I felt not being the good guy, especially when I scared and intimidated the kid. I guess it’s a testament to the writing and acting.

  7. Booker says:

    To me this is the best game of this type Telltale has ever done. It was a massive win for me in almost every category. Liked it a lot more than their Walking Dead games. Of course The Wolf Among Us is also the only game of theirs that just won’t get a continuation. So I’m guessing it didn’t sell very well.

    • Toadsmash says:

      Why do you say that, though? The ending sure the hell left a major loose end.

      • Buggery says:

        It’s been a while since I played, but I seem to recall the ending lead into the comic series? Not so much a cliffhanger as a good prequel, really.

        • malkav11 says:

          Very few of the characters featured in A Wolf Among Us are present, or at least prominent, in Fables up to the point where I lost track – i.e. somewhere around trade paperback collection 14 or 15. So although it’s definitely a prequel, I don’t think its ending is paid off by the comic series. Maybe I’m wrong. It’s been a while.

  8. Replikant says:

    The best part is the ending. I like such carefully constructed stories where the last page of the book does not merely serve to wrap the story up nicely.

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    Thulsa Hex says:

    I really liked this one — even more than the Walking Dead. It felt more inventive, for one, and the overall atmosphere and aesthetic was wonderful. I’d jump on a sequel (or “season 2”) in a heartbeat, while I’m in no rush to finish S2 of TWD.

  10. Darth Gangrel says:

    No, but I got it in the Telltale Humble Bundle and intend to make it my very first Telltale and episodic game. Telltale’s recipe for these games might have some bad parts, but the source material seems more than interesting enough to compensate for that.

  11. Coming Second says:

    Telltale blow hot and cold – even if you buy into their schtick in the first place. This was definitely one of the hot ones, however. I thought how the ending for this and TWD Season 1 came together were perfect examples of how to give players satisfying self-determination within a railroaded narrative.

  12. haldolium says:

    Hell yeah!

    The Wolf Among Us is by far one of the greatest adventures that has been released by Telltale. It really should deserve a lot more attention instead of their crossover shit, but then again, so should Sam&Max.

    Still, outstanding game series.

  13. klops says:

    No, I haven’t.

  14. malkav11 says:

    I think it’s probably my least favorite of the ones I’ve played (haven’t seen enough Game of Thrones to get into that one yet, and Minecraft Story Mode I’m not sure I should even bother trying), but I still enjoyed it quite a bit. And yeah, the poster above is right. Tales from the Borderlands is fantastic and you should give it a go.

  15. zsd says:

    I thought it had solid character writing and a great art style that helped to carry it over some mediocre plot choices and a painfully silly premise.

    “Quick, what’s the most literal possible interpretation of the words dark fantasy?”
    “Okay, fairy tales…fairy tale characters, but they’re in the big city, and everything’s gritty and dark and The Little Mermaid is a prostitute.”
    “That’s the stuff.”

    Also, I think it stretches the term “fairy tale” a bit when you include characters from stories by clearly identifiable authors.

    Still, it was a fun ride, if not one I’m likely to ever revisit.

    • Coming Second says:

      It’s based on an actual comic book series, fam – just like TWD. All of Telltale’s adventure games are spin-offs. Don’t blame them if you found the premise inherently goofy, in other words.