Review: The Wolf Among Us: A Crooked Mile Makes The Tough Decisions Even Tougher
The Wolf Among Us: A Crooked Mile is not as straight up as the previous episode but it seems to have hit just the right pace for this series.
- Worth The Time?Shorter than a feature-length film and twice as engrossing. It's worth every microsecond.
- Things LovedExcellently paced, moves the story forward greatly. Great writing and even better voice-acting combine with the truly wonderful art style to once again breathe life into these characters. Finds the balance between action and having to direct/control situations to make players feel like they are forging a path in the investigation. Players will feel truly immersed in Bigby's character. Silence is golden. That ending.
- Things HatedThere were not enough new characters introduced. The murders seem to exist in a vacuum, we have yet to see the general Fabletown population. Dialogue options don't always clearly state what they will say.
- RecommendationIf you aren't hooked by now then A Crooked Mile will certainly pull you in like neither of the previous two could. It's got the brilliant pacing and character engagement that will draw you in. You truly feel like the Sheriff leading an investigation and shaping events. If you are already hooked onto The Wolf Among Us then you will absolutely love this episode.
- Name: The Wolf Among Us: A Crooked Mile
- Genre: Wolf Simulator
- Players: 1
- Multiplayer: None
- Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, PC, iOS
- Developer: Telltale Games
- Publisher: Telltale Games
- Price: $25 (Season Pass)
- Reviewed On: PC
Following the style set by Smoke & Mirrors (episode 2), A Crooked Mile sets off exactly where the last episode left off. The opening few minutes are frantic as Bigby deals with what was discovered in the closing moments of episode 2. It’s a blur of hurried responses as Bigby scrambles to figure out his next move.
It amounts to very little ultimately but allows us to feel some of what Bigby is feeling and really that’s part of what A Crooked Mile gets dead on – it makes us feel what Bigby is feeling through the pacing, the dialogue and the options made available to the player.
After the high energy of those first few moments, the game slows right down again.
This is a calculated move.
Episode 3 then starts building up momentum with each new plot point until it boils over in a crescendo ending. My God, it’s great.
As someone who has recently read the Fables comics which the game serves as a prequel to, episode 2 instilled some fears in me that the events of the comics or even their mere existence would soften or preempt the twists and key plot points in the games. Episode 3 threw those worries out of the window with some fresh characters and little twists that I certainly didn’t see coming.
It feels as if Telltale finally hit their stride here with The Wolf Among Us, striking a balance between the slower Smoke & Mirrors and the action-heavy Faith. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that this is Telltale’s best effort in putting us in the shoes of a character.
Bigby is in a precarious place and it is so tempting, so easy to just give in and let a situation derail into chaos. It takes restraint and thought from the player to keep things from going awry. Now that we’ve had two episodes to get comfortable with Bigby and maybe mould him a little, we are finally opened up to the full depth of his character.
With Snow White literally serving as your good conscious, there to urge the safer approach rather than kicking in a door, there are some interesting moments. Even when Snow isn’t directly involved in your decision, she is still a factor and this plays out brilliantly to Bigby’s feelings about her.
In addition to this, players will finally feel like they are directing and controlling a situation. This was something that we praised Smoke and Mirrors for but in A Crooked Mile it is even more prevalent. Less so in effectively interrogating a suspect and more so in other areas. There’s a big focus on managing situations, knowing what to say to people and more than once you’ll have to decide whether you want to go against morals or what you want to say in order to get what you want. It’s up to you whether things will spiral out of control or safely dissolve.
A Crooked Mile puts you in situations with characters you’ve built a relationship with over two episodes and asks you to make the easy choice, the right choice, or the choice that gets results in the murder investigation. Some of the decisions are not easy but some are mighty satisfying to watch play out. Especially at the end but that’s all I’ll say about that.
Ultimately, when Bigby feels like the case is losing traction, so do you. Conversations with character seem to go nowhere and run in circles. When there are moments of anger, you feel that too and briefly when Bigby assumes his partial wolf form, you feel mighty powerful as well.
The episode may only clock in at something over 90 minutes but there is a hell of a lot that gets covered. The plot is paced excellently, picking up speed with each new piece of evidence or plot point that gets revealed and it boils over in the perfect way for an episode where we’ve never felt more tightly linked with Bigby.
Another thing that A Crooked Mile does right is actually making silence the best option in some cases. There are moments where it’s better to simply listen or hold your tongue.
One the other hand, there are some dialogue options that say one thing but then Bigby’s spoken words append that with something you didn’t actually want to say. It only happened a handful of times but it was irksome nonetheless.
Despite all that was right with this episode, it could have been better still with more of the gritty detective work of Smoke & Mirrors. A Crooked Mile is more about plunging deeper into the world we broke into in the previous episode and finding out how far the rabbit hole goes.
Unfortunately, we don’t get to meet Alice just yet.
You might not know it from the game but the population of Fabeltown is big and we keep hearing about the effect that the murders have had on the general populous though we don’t get to see them. Bar one or two characters, episode 3 recycles characters we’ve already met. That’s great for the personal, tighter narrative surrounding Bigby but not so good for depicting a community thrown into hysteria.
You might have forgotten that these are the first murders Fabletown has encountered ever and I wouldn’t blame you. The game doesn’t do a good enough job of bringing that across.
Smoke & Mirrors was a bit jilting in its transition from tense moments to action to more emotional and personal conversations. A Crooked Mile makes those transitions far smoother while retaining the same high standard of writing.
There are some moments where the episode does feel on rails but for the most it feels more as if you’re cutting your own way through this investigation and all the bullshit surrounding the truth.
If you’ve played Telltale games before then you’re familiar with the little helpful reminders that tell “this character will remember this.” Well, it seems the folks at Telltale have developed a sense of humour because when talking to a drunken Fable the following comes up: “this character will not remember this.”
With morality being a prominent buzzword again thanks to inFamous: Second Son, The Wolf Among Us shows players that you can play it straight for most of the time but you won’t get punished with bad karma points for letting loose on an uncooperative suspect.
There is a particularly gruesome option right at the end and I felt nothing but satisfaction when I chose it… until I saw the reaction on Snow White’s face and then I felt regret. That right there sums up why this is a superb episode in The Wolf Among Us and certainly the high point for the series thus far.