Review: The Wolf Among Us: Episode 3 – A Crooked Mile

After the events of ‘Faith’ and ‘Smoke and Mirrors’, we are now reaching the point in Telltale’s The Wolf Among Us series where the stakes get higher. Bigby Wolf has reached a point where he now has a prime suspect but if it becomes common knowledge amongst the residents of Fabletown, it could tear the community apart. This menace, as well as animosity he has earned during his investigation, has driven Bigby to the edge – to the point where his alter ego threatens to make an appearance. Not only does the drama and tension continue to build in ‘A Crooked Mile’, but so does the vice grip this game holds over my attention.

• Developer: Telltale Games
• Publisher: Telltale Games
• Reviewed on: PlayStation 3
• Also Available On: PC, Mac OS X, Xbox 360
• Release Date: Available Now

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Picking up moments after the end of episode 2, Bigby has just discovered the identity of a lead suspect via some unsavoury photographs. Though repulsed, he must weigh up his options, specifically regarding how much he should tell those involved in the case. He has already seen his actions take a turn towards his former lifestyle, but this new revelation may see the end of Fabletown if it gets out.

When Bluebeard threatens to unravel his case by rashly wading in, Bigby is given the choice to either go to his suspect’s home, investigate a known contact of the person or find out how much the Tweedle brothers know.

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You will notice how careful I am being regarding the plot. The story here is genuinely intriguing and I would not want to ruin the experience for those who may be either behind or undecided on the game. Regardless of your position, The Wolf Among Us continues to be superbly written. A Crooked Mile is also the most focused episode yet, with Bigby’s goal crystal clear from the start. Thankfully, the plot does not hang around and gets on with things far faster than I was expecting.

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Again, the lore of the world continues to grow. We meet a number of new characters in this episode – but the more interesting developments involved the core cast and their fluctuating personal relationships. Bigby, in particular, is often put in situations which directly or indirectly affect the views of those around him. As one character puts it, Bigby “has got a hot head and a big heart, but sometimes that isn’t the best combination”.

The decision I mentioned earlier is an example of Telltale trying to ensure you don’t miss anything. Regardless of the order you take, you eventually go to all three locations anyway. The only real difference being the context you get when you visit a different area first. For instance, you might find a relatively benign clue in one area. If you instead choose to visit that area last, you may get the meaning of the clue immediately. Either way, it adds up to the same amount of knowledge. This might sound frustrating for those looking for truly unique experiences when playing, but the illusion of choice doesn’t hurt the story – in fact it allows it to tell a relatively complex narrative without creating plot-holes from missing knowledge (I’m looking at you, Heavy Rain).

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Despite the higher tensions, Telltale has also realised that this is not The Walking Dead – so some humour is allowed. Though sporadic, the visual gags and quips from the cast alleviate some of the stress that can often be suffocating in their more well-known series. My favourite involved a joke at the expense of their own gameplay mechanics. After talking to a drunk character, the usual prompt appears in the top left of the screen – this time, with the statement that the character in question “will not remember that”.

The escalating story is becoming more and more intriguing
The cast are phenomenal, especially in the last scene
The added humour is very welcome
The illusion of choice issue is most apparent in this episode

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During the final scene, we are given one hell of an action scene. Bigby is pushed to the raggedy edge, and makes some choices you just know are going to come back and bite him. A Crooked Mile sets up the final two episodes perfectly… now, we just have to play the waiting game (which is nowhere near as fun).

The review copy of this title was purchased by the author.
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