So it’s been a little while since I’ve reviewed things on a regular basis (I managed to get the last couple out while writing my university dissertation), and during that time I played, though didn’t find time to review, episode 3 of Tell Tale’s “The Wolf Among Us”. I decided it’d be easier to review that alongside the recently released episode 4, and I’ll be doing the same for episodes 2 and 3 of “The Walking Dead: Season 2”. So, let’s get into it.
Episode 3: A Crooked Mile
Now, back in my review I commented on how the apparent reveal of the killer brought an end to the intrigue that had built up over episode 1 and much of episode 2. Turns out, that was a premature statement. Much of this episode is spent trying to A) Track down episode 2’s suspect and B) Figure out if they really are responsible for what happened. Both in terms of story and gameplay this is a tense episode, and shifts the pace quite a bit from the last two episodes. Though there are still fight scenes, they’re rather brief, and far more time is spent on doing actual detective work. All you have to begin with is a time- you have to find out where you’ll have to be at that time, and who your suspect is going to be meeting. You have three locations to search for clues, and a ticking clock reminding you that time is short. I managed to arrive at the location in question slightly late, but still got to the episode’s conclusion, and without any real trouble. Said conclusion is one of the game’s more visually cool action sequences, if one of its less involving. The episode also has some good character moments, particularly with the ever-suffering patrons and owner of the Trip Trap bar. The choices are still interesting and well-implemented, even if I do lean heavily towards the “Psychotic Bastard” side of the spectrum. There’s one moment in particular that stands-out among my usual bastardry in this game, and I’m delighted to report that there are still many opportunities to randomly punch people you’re talking to in the face if the conversation isn’t going your way. Hey, I may be cheap, but dammit if I don’t get results.
The change of pace adds to the already excellent mechanics and story, making this an episode to definitely check out.
Episode 4: In Sheep’s Clothing
[SPOILERS FOR EPISODE 3] After the bloody conclusion to the previous episode in which Bigby Wolfed out and potentially murdered Tweedle Dum (depending on your choices. I jumped at the chance to shut him up once and for all), only to be gravely wounded by Bloody Mary and have Ichabod Crane taken from him and Snow [SPOILERS END] Bigby is fixed up in his apartment by Dr. Swineheart and told to take it easy for a while. No more randomly punching people and needlessly starting fights when simple conversation would suffice, basically. But little does Swineheart know that I’ll be in the cold ground before I stop randomly punching people in the face in this game, and indeed there is no rest for the wicked, so on I go. The whole of this episode is spent trying to track down “The Crooked Man”- the shadowy villain running everything from behind the scenes, and fits back into what TWAU does best- a mixture of questioning suspects and getting into brutal fights. There aren’t really many choices here- it’s said in dialogue that choosing to go to one of the two leads first might hamper your chances of finding anything at the other but that wasn’t the case for me- both locations went very well. Apart from that there are a few interesting conversation choices, but nothing really feels too drastic. It may be because I’ve been clearly following a path with Bigby (Polite and calm with women, to-the-point and often violent with men) and I see no real reason to deviate from it now, but no choices in this episode really stood out for me. Well, except for one, and that was more of picking what I thought looked cool. The episode ends on a cliffhanger, much like Season 1, Episode 4 of “The Walking Dead”, and like in that episode you get to pick a dialogue response here right at the end that will start you off in the finale. For the record, I chose to light a cigarette. It was glorious.
Although none of the choices stood out in this episode (Which is odd given some of the great ones that have been in previous episodes), the episode itself was great. The mixture of story and gameplay continue to show that Tell Tale are at the top of their game, and cements “The Wolf Among Us”‘ current place on my top five games of the year. Can’t wait for the finale.
By James Lambert