It’s been quite a journey this season for Sheriff Bigby Wolf. There’s been a whole lot of fighting, investigating, smoking and (in my case) bastardry on the way to his final confrontation with The Crooked Man. Every one of the four previous episodes has been a triumph, but does the season 1 finale do justice to everything that preceded it?
The episode starts where episode 4 left off- with Bigby right in the belly of the beast confronting The Crooked Man and his gang. You very quickly find out exactly the identity of the killer you’ve been chasing, and the pace never slows down from there. Apart from one small section and the episode’s ending, most of the events here are action sequences as Bigby pursues The Crooked Man and tears apart anyone standing in his way. It feels noticeably different to the previous episodes as there is very little detective work to do and not a whole lot of choices to make, at least early on, but it makes sense given the climactic nature of the episode. The action scenes are well done as always apart from now and then when my input on the QTEs wasn’t recognised, annoyingly. It didn’t cause any real trouble though. Stand-outs here included a wolfed-out Bigby chasing a car through the streets and over the rooftops, and a hectic fight scene in which Bigby finally shifts into his final form: a massive, quadrupedal wolf, as seen in the comics and poster for the episode. Though it’s brief, it’s great to finally see the literal Big Bad Wolf in action. As I said, there aren’t a whole lot of choices this time around, but there ones that are here are decent. As I’ll elaborate on later I’ve found my choices to be rather consistent, but I still appreciate them- they’re something telltale do well. The episode tries something new later on in the form of attempting to win a crowd over to your side, despite the various bastardy deeds you may well have committed, and one choice that led to me receiving the message “Fabletown is afraid of The Big Bad Wolf” (I’d already won the crowd over though, so it was all good). The whole thing ends on a big sequel hook, which leaves me in two minds: I’d be very happy with a season 2 of TWAU, but as an ending, I’m really not a fan of sequel hooks- they never sit right with me.
So, is it any good as an episode? Well if you look at it stand-alone, it’s definitely one of the weaker episodes for me. The action sequences are always best in this series when they’re supplementing conversations. It has its moments as an episode, but there are better ones. The third and fourth episodes in particular really standing out for me. As a season finale it’s damn strong, feeling suitably climactic with high stakes, and bringing this specific chapter of the story to a close.
Now, as for the season as a whole:
I loved Telltale’s “The Walking Dead” season 1 (I’m really enjoying season 2), and this carries on the studio’s high standard. Though I often had more trouble with the choices in TWD, I found those in TWAU easier: I’ve been a bastard. A psychotic, malicious, power-abusing bastard, and I’ve loved every minute of it. I basically made my Bigby Wolf a stand-up guy with women (with one exception, she knows who she is), not take any shit from men and offer no mercy to those who cross him. I’ve been a consistent and content user of the [Punch Him] dialogue option whenever it’s been available, and I’ve done quite a few things that many would consider “Over the line”. That was the role I’ve played with Bigby, and I don’t regret any of it. I don’t have a lot of experience with the “Fables” comic, but I’ve read a bit, and I love the way Telltale have written him here. The way they’ve created the world and filled it with characters they can have die creates suspense not often seen in prequels, and it pays off rather well. The detective elements are well-handled, particularly in the excellent “A Crooked Mile” in which a ticking clock mechanic is introduced, the combat sections, though handled with QTEs suit the game well, and as always, the choices are excellent. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this season of “The Wolf Among Us”, and I’m definitely looking forward to more of it.
Oh, and that main menu. Christ, that main menu. I’m serious- it’s worth mentioning. Go check it out.
By James Lambert