Article first published as PC Game Review: ‘The Wolf Among Us: Episode 5 – Cry Wolf’ on Blogcritics.
It’s taken nine months, but TellTale Games has finally wrapped up the "Fables" comic book-based "The Wolf Among Us: Season One" with "Cry Wolf." Unfortunately, there’s no word on a second season yet and it if there is one, it’s unlikely that it will come anytime soon. Telltale is still wrapping up the second season of "The Walking Dead" and are hard at work on the new "Tales From the Borderlands" and a "Game of Thrones" adaptation. It’s really a shame, since with finale of "The Wolf Among Us," TellTale has finally seemed to hit their stride.
It’s been the lack of actual gameplay that hold all of TellTale’s brand of adventure games back from mass appeal. The narrative is the hook to their newfound success and the "Fables" storyline is arguably even more compelling than their take on "The Walking Dead," particularly the current season. It is only with "Cry Wolf," where the developer has figured out a way to cross this gameplay hurdle. They were actually able to create a compelling boss fight with their recipe of dialogue choices and quick time events. The entire episode is surprisingly well paced and a fitting ending for the tale.
Without spoiling too much of the episode, "The Wolf Among Us: Episode 5" picks up right where "Episode 4" left off, with Sherriff Bigby in a seemingly impossible situation. Despite The Crooked Man’s seemingly simple solution, there really is no way for Bigby to accomplish his goals without everything going badly. Once it all goes south, the Big Bad Wolf has to give chase, but in the end, Bigby and you must rely upon the power of persuasion to find resolution. For the most part, everything gets all cleaned up. In the final scene though, TellTale offers up a twist that will make you question everything you thought you knew about what has been going on.
Despite all of the problems, TellTale’s "The Wolf Among Us" has been great ride. In many ways, it’s a lot like a cell-shaded, fantasy version of a TV crime drama. The drawback of course is that the series is only five episodes long and took nearly nine months to release. With each episode taking about two hours to get through, playing through the game as each episode is released is really a chore. There aren’t many gamers with kind of patience.
If you like a great narrative in your adventure games and haven’t yet tried "The Wolf Among Us," now is the time to give it a shot. While TellTale’s proprietary game engine doesn’t push the technical limitations of the platforms, the cell-shaded art direction is well designed and pleasing to look at. The early episodes of the series can drag a bit, but by the time you get the last third, everything is running at an appropriate pace. TellTale has also masterfully placed a small twist at the end that will leave you hoping that their not quite done with Bill Willingham’s "Fables" universe.