Previously On: The Wolf Among Us - "A Crooked Mile"

Posted by Alex (2294 posts) -

Editor's Note: As a reminder, this is a spoiler-heavy discussion of the latest episode of The Wolf Among Us. Those who have not played the episode but intend to probably shouldn't read this.

The episodic structure of Telltale's The Walking Dead franchise is arguably one of the best things about it. As a series that deals regular moments of sheer soul-draining sadness, there is a feeling of emotional reprieve that comes with the end of each episode. Maybe you're still itching to see what's going to happen in the next chapter of the story, as I often am, but more times than not, I'm also grateful that I get a break after two hours or so of constant character deaths, tough decisions, and abject misery pouring in from every corner of the game's world.

The Wolf Among Us is a game that certainly deals in moments of dread and unexpected death, and comes with a generalized feeling of depression that permeates every personality you come into contact with. But it's nowhere near as pervasive as in The Walking Dead. After all, this is a noir-flavored detective procedural, and not an apocalyptic survival tale. Yet the two series offer similar gameplay designs and an identical release structure, and only one of them directly benefits from either of the above. Unfortunately, it's not The Wolf Among Us.

Overall, I've been enjoying The Wolf Among Us so far. Visually, it manages to bring together the neon-tinted grime of 1980s New York with the fantastical world of Fables in a stunning way, and the story has plotted out some nifty twists that I never saw coming. But its third episode, "A Crooked Mile," finds this first season suffering a bit from its own structure and game design. Lacking that sense of relief one gets from finishing an episode of The Walking Dead, every episode feel like it blows past, like you're just getting to something good before the rug is pulled out and you've got another month-long (or longer) wait until the next story piece. That's especially true of "A Crooked Mile," and episode that laser-focuses on Bigby's hunt for the vile presumed murderer, Ichabod Crane. While it makes sense from a storytelling perspective, that intense focus on investigation puts the onus on the game's investigative mechanics to pick up the slack left by the lack of surprises in the episode's plot, and that's just not something this series' gameplay is well-suited for.

After episode two left him standing in a blood-soaked hotel room, glaring angrily at a photo of Crane molesting a prostitute "glamoured" to look like Snow, it's no surprise that Bigby becomes hellbent on finding his former employer. But even with that reveal at the end of the last episode, it becomes clear early on that Crane as the murderer of Fabletown's working girls still doesn't make a ton of sense. Crane's twisted way of sating his unrequited desire for Snow certainly deserves some justice (as does the reveal that he's been embezzling money from Fabletown for years), but nothing about the guy strikes as a cold-blooded killer. Still, with Crane being the only available suspect, it's no wonder that "A Crooked Mile" becomes all about finding him before he skips town.

I've been playing Bigby as a character always on the verge of unchecked rage, allowing him to express his frustration with the constant stonewalling by the other Fables he encounters, while only resorting to actual violence in the most dire circumstances. At the beginning of "A Crooked Mile," as Bigby storms off to find Snow so he can tell her what's been going on, I was initially worried that room for that kind of nuance might be lost in favor of an anger-fueled revenge bender. Thankfully, as you show up at Lily's funeral looking for Snow, the game continues to offer you nicely varied choices for how to proceed. No matter how mad Bigby might have been, I wouldn't have felt right barging into the funeral service, so I chose instead to let Snow continue her speech and inspect the tributes people had brought to honor their fallen friend. This is the first of the "big" choices the game offers you, though it also seemed like the least consequential. Regardless as to how I chose to proceed, the thuggish pair of Dee and Dum would inevitably arrive to cause a commotion, apparently on the hunt for the same man that I was. I tried to play the sequence as coolly as I could, allowing Lily's sister Holly and her friends to intimidate the pair. Yet I still ended up with a gunshot wound for my trouble. Of course Bigby survives, thanks in no small part to the help of a kindly doctor, but it wouldn't be the last wound I'd suffer over the course of the episode.

Once Bigby is patched up in the main Fabletown office, the game branches in a way that calls back to one of the choices in the series' first episode. Here you're confronted by an enraged Bluebeard, a magical mirror that can't be repaired (due to Crane stealing a piece of its shattered glass before skipping out), and multiple locations that must be investigated prior to 2 A.M., when Crane is apparently going to be meeting the witch that's been supplying him glamours. The three locations--Crane's penthouse apartment, the offices of Dee and Dum, and the bar managed by Lily's sister--would each take a considerable amount of time to poke around. For my part, I opted to go to Crane's apartment first, which led me to find Jack Horner robbing the place blind. Jack pleads with you not to arrest him, and despite being given multiple opportunities to ruin the guy--especially after Snow shows up asking what's going on--I decided to not reveal that Jack was burglarizing the apartment. For all I know, that may have zero impact on the story going forward, but I preferred the idea of him owing me a favor. Jack does give some useful info about the witch, who is named Auntie Greenleaf, but not enough to indicate where she might be.

For the second location, I chose to go to Holly's bar. There I found Grendel and the Woodsman, drowning their sorrows following the funeral. To me, the relationship between the trolls and the few Fables who frequent the bar has been the most interesting. They're the hardest luck cases among the Fables, it seems, and their contentious relationship with Bigby (and any authority figure, for that matter) has resulted in some of the most interesting dialogue in the series thus far. You don't get quite as much out of the conversation that follows here, due mostly to the time constraints and your singular desire to look through Lily's belongings before Holly burns them, but there are a few good moments here with both Grendel and the Woodsman, who seems far more defeated than in previous episodes. This is another opportunity for the player to be a dick, or extend an olive branch to a group of people who seem utterly wary of him. I chose the latter, as I often have, and once again, it's debatable whether I made any inroads with them at all. The mistrust these Fables feel toward you seems to run incredibly deep, and I'm beginning to wonder if this series has any designs on allowing the player to ever repair those relationships.

After talking to them for a while, and a bit of conversation with a barely-awake Holly, I was allowed to go through Lily's things. Among some other trinkets, I find an address book that points you directly to Auntie Greenleaf's location. By the time I got there, it was past the 2am deadline, and a little girl opened the door, playing confused in a way that had me immediately suspicious. Like, who leaves a little girl all by herself in a seedy apartment in the middle of the night? Plus, this is a witch who supplies glamours, the cloaks that Fables wear to keep themselves hidden from the real world. The game seemed like it really wanted to surprise the player by revealing that, yes, this girl was Greenleaf in disguise, but I had that feeling from the moment she opened the door, so it fell a little flat for me. Still, Greenleaf is an interesting new character that, unfortunately, you don't get very much out of here. Snow makes a lot of threats, demanding that Bigby put her under arrest and burn the sacred tree she uses for all her magical spells. That's certainly a change of pace for Snow, but makes sense considering how violated she must feel knowing what Crane was up to. Still, being a dirty hippy at heart, I couldn't bring myself to burn the tree. Instead, I made Greenleaf an offer: report to the officially licensed witches of Fabletown and work for the good guys, or lose her tree. Begrudgingly, she accepted, and told us that Crane was on his way to the Pudding and Pie, AKA the Fable-owned strip club we uncovered in the last episode.

Why would Crane go there? Evidently he meant to brace the girls working at the club to try and find out the identity of the true killer. He'd taken a ring from Greenleaf, one designed to make anyone tell the truth--even those with spells cast upon them to keep them from saying anything. Unfortunately, the ring's magic has long since been drained, and when you arrive, you find Crane futilely trying to shake the truth out of one of the girls. With every utterance of "my lips are sealed," Crane becomes more frantic, but eventually he has no choice but to give up. He knows he's screwed, and when faced with the prospect of fighting a very angry man-wolf, he gives himself up.

Unfortunately, you never get the chance to properly question him, as you're immediately greeted outside by Dee and Dum, alongside a new character to the series: Bloody Mary.

Right away, it's apparent that Mary is a psychopath. She cracks a twisted smile at every utterance of potential violence, and she's here at the behest of a mysterious figure known as The Crooked Man. We don't know much about The Crooked Man yet, though it's strongly implied that he's something of an underworld boss in Fabletown, and likely Georgie's benefactor in his club management and prostitution schemes. Whatever his role, Mary makes it clear that he wants Crane. Ostensibly, he wants him because Crane owes him a goodly sum of money, but the implication also seems to be that he doesn't want Crane talking to the cops, which probably means that Crane's a dead man if he's taken by Mary. So naturally, Bigby and Snow resist giving Crane up. That goes very poorly right away, with gunshots ringing out and Bigby down on the pavement.

But then it happens. The moment the series has been building to for a while, where all of Bigby's defenses go down and the wolf truly comes out. Even with all the diplomacy and dialogue I've been making Bigby engage in, I knew eventually he'd lose it, and what better time than with a pair of ugly twins peppering you with shotgun blasts as you creep ever closer to them. This is maybe the most awkward moment of gameplay in the series yet, unfortunately, as you're required to keep mashing a button to shrug off the gunshots and make your way to Dee and Dum. It goes on for a weirdly long time, and it's not especially fun. It becomes more fun once you finally get there and extract a bit of revenge on the twins. Yet, even while going full bore on the two of them, I was able to stop myself from killing one of them outright. As (justifiably) angry as Bigby was here, I still can't see him as a reckless murderer, so I let Dum live. Not that Mary was looking to afford me any such mercy. The episode ends after Mary shoots Bigby with a silver bullet (one of those mythical methods of monster slaying that apparently proves true in this world), and Crane is sent off to The Crooked Man, possibly to never be seen again.

It's an appropriate enough note to close things out on, though I couldn't help but feel like "A Crooked Mile" was missing something. In the first episode, the writers spent a great deal of time just introducing you to, and explaining the basic mechanics of the Fables' world. In the second, all of the investigative work was bookended by two big twists that managed to shake up everything you thought you understood about what was going on. "A Crooked Mile" introduces new characters and throws a couple of curveballs in the player's direction, but nothing seems to land with much impact. As a result, the gameplay is forced to do more heavy lifting, and that's not something Telltale adventures ever excel at. The Wolf Among Us is at its best when the story is driving the player forward, and while the hunt for Crane had its moments, it never felt like it was terribly important in the grand scheme of things--why would you reveal the true identity of the murderer this early in the story?

As a result, much of what you do in "A Crooked Mile" feels like investigative busywork. It's connective tissue, meant to bridge the first act of the season to its eventual conclusion. Having those kinds of episodes in your seasonal structure isn't by itself a bad thing, but as I mentioned at the top, The Wolf Among Us already has this issue of feeling a little light as each episode comes to a close. At least in the first two episodes, I felt like I learned quite a bit about the world and characters I was interacting with. In "A Crooked Mile," the solitary focus on tracking down Crane ensured that I wouldn't be learning much of anything new, and the introduction of Bloody Mary and Auntie Greenleaf didn't do anything to counteract that. While I'm certainly very curious to see what happens to Crane, what The Crooked Man's true role is, and what will ultimately become of Bigby, "A Crooked Mile" is ultimately the least satisfying episode of The Wolf Among Us yet.

Random Notes:

  • Apologies for the lateness of this recap, as PAX preparations got in the way of me doing this in a more timely fashion.

  • So the one place I didn't go, Dee and Dum's office, apparently would have introduced me to another new character in Flycatcher, otherwise known as the Frog Prince. He's working as a janitor in their office, and will take you into a hidden room where they have a bunch of evidence pertaining to Crane stashed. Not having seen the bit, I still think I picked the two more interesting locations to investigate, as the part in Crane's office does a lot to flesh out Jack's character, and the part in the bar is probably the most vital scene in the whole episode. The office scene sounds like one of those bits in a Law & Order episode where they talk to someone for like five minutes and then you never see or hear from them again.

  • Of the choices I made, it looks like I was on the majority side of everything except with how I handled Jack. When you first encounter him, he tries to make a deal with you to avoid getting arrested, but I chose not to make it right away. I also had no intention of turning him over, but I thought it would be more fun to make him sweat a little. Interesting that only 29% of players (so far) opted not to make a deal with him right away.

  • Looks like it's a near 50/50 split on those who did/didn't kill Dum. I dunno, it really didn't seem like the right move. I've only had Bigby choose to even punch people twice (including a particularly satisfying clocking of Georgie in this episode), so to have him go full murder on a suspect didn't feel right. I'm sure I'll probably pay for that decision in the end.

  • Considering what a terrible thing it must be to learn that a creep like Crane is using your image as a sexual plaything, we get surprisingly little development from Snow in this episode. Apart from that bit in Greenleaf's apartment, Snow maintains pretty much the same exact demeanor and personality she has all season long. It's weird, but it seems like only the worst characters are getting much in the way of character progression in this series. I still feel like I barely know much of anything about Bigby, Snow, or any of the other "good guys," outside of their storybook histories.

  • Bluebeard's involvement in all this is the one piece I can't fit right now. All I recall of his involvement from earlier episodes--another problem with the multiweek delay between episodes is that my broken-ass brain can't always remember the major plot details--is that he's one of the wealthier Fables and is doing his own police work because...he just feels like it? There definitely appears to be an ulterior motive at work, but Bigby and Snow frequently just letting him do what he wants feels odd as hell. This might be one of those cases where the lack of a complete understanding of Fabletown's power dynamics might just be confusing me.

  • When is Colin coming back? I miss that little pig dude.

#1 Posted by Konig2540 (68 posts) -

I have to agree on Episode 3 lacking serious story development. I picked the game up recently though so I didn't have to wait between episodes... so I'm a little worried my interest will fizzle out by ep. 4. Hopefully not, it seems pretty cool although I do not know where they're going from here other than pursuing a killer we already know the identity of..

Maybe Colin is the Crooked Man?! (not serious, but I also miss Colin.)

#2 Edited by ThunderSlash (1830 posts) -

Yup, the episode felt a lot like filler to me. You spend most of your time chasing a lead that ends up being false, and are introduced to new characters that feel honestly like background characters. The only exceptions are The Crooked Man and Mary. And I thought that Mary was a bit lame, with her being deliberately manufactured to be this big bad nemesis type. So far, I feel that the episodic nature of The Wolf Among Us is not helping it, and that it is going against the one big detective story it is trying to tell. It honestly feels like each episode is just a chunk of one whole story, so nothing really gets resolved until the last episode hits.

Contrast that with how the first season of The Walking Dead was executed. In which each episode was really its own thing and that there wasn't an huge underlying main plot thread that it needed to follow.

Edit x2: I think I broke the comments in the article with an edit. My bad.

#3 Edited by Alorithin (125 posts) -

Wish they'd subvert a trope every now and then. The little girl actually being a little girl and Bigby catching shit from Snow for doing his gumshoe thing on her house could have been a great "Clementine just saw you pitchfork that cannibal" moment.

#4 Posted by civid (482 posts) -

I thought the writing of Episode 2 was weirdly off, which leads me to liking this a bit more though I agree completely with Alex on this episode feeling like busy work. The first episode was really strong and I still like the art style, but the whole fairy tale angle doesn't give me much I hate that the series will often just presume that the player knows who the fuck all these people are - case in point; Bluebeard. I have no idea why Snow don't trust him or why he's made out to be a bad guy.

It's still better than Walking Dead Season Two which I so far have found to be somewhat weak both in the technical department, gameplay-wise and the writting. I still don't feel like Clementine really is a 'character' per say, and I have yet to really connect to any of the other people.

Also while their replacement for "The Govenor" seems like a great character but I still fucking loath the original guy, so I really fear what they will do with the third episode

#5 Posted by Jonny_Anonymous (1091 posts) -

@alex Can't say I agree with you here, I am far more interested in the mysteries of Wolf Among Us than I am in the Walking Dead but then again I actually read the comic so I'm already invested in these characters and I already know how it's going to turn out for some of them since this game is in canon with the book.

Oh and you definitely will be seeing the flycatcher again down the line.

#6 Posted by EthanielRain (882 posts) -

Glad to see one of you duders talking about this game. I really enjoyed the first 2 episodes, but thought the third one was pretty bad (although I did enjoy finally unleashing Bigby's murderous side on Dee/Dum). The fourth seems like it's the tipping point for the game, hopefully it's great.

#7 Edited by damnboyadvance (4061 posts) -

I made all of the same choices you did, Alex, except that I stopped by Dee and Dum's office between Crane's apartment and the Trip Trap. Nothing significant happened though, as Bluebeard made off with the one valuable piece of evidence he'd come for. Bigby did meet Flycatcher, but apparently I was one of only 3% of people that didn't offer him a job when presented with the opportunity. I know, I'm a dick.

It seems highly unlikely that either Bloody Mary or The Crooked Man are the killer. The killer murdered a prostitute in glamour that made her look like Snow, which shows that the killer is after Snow. So if either Bloody Mary or The Crooked Man were the killer, wouldn't they attempt to capture Snow along with Crane?

#8 Edited by sravankb (106 posts) -

I didn't read this article, and I'm not sure about this game. I liked The Walking Dead, but this seems too...try-hardy.

Anything that tries to grimdark the shit out of what we conventionally consider to be children's fiction never turns out well, IMO. Anyone here think I might be downplaying what the game has to offer?

Is it better than just "everyone's an asshole and everything sucks, the game"? Please do realize that I have no knowledge of the Fables series or this game. All I've shared is just a first impression based on a few details what I've heard about the game's world.

#9 Edited by Brackynews (4094 posts) -

I've been happy so far with the mix of trope expectations and modern surprises. I also played the first 3 episodes quite close together. My Bigby is not a killer, and is trying to "bury the hatchet" with Woody *heh*. I don't regret tearing Grendel's arm off, but that guy hasn't any "more flies with honey" redeeming qualities to him as yet.

We've seen that Crane is inept with magic, and only seems to know what he reads in books.

The things I'm waiting for are:

  • The same person who cast the spell at the Pudding did it on the magic mirror, obviously.
  • Who did TJ hear laughing, and will Mr. Toad become a victim as promised?
  • What is actually doing the beheadings? Sharp or magic?
  • The initials CM are also in the address book at the Tweedles' office.
  • Is Flycatcher really naive? Is he secretly bitter at being fired?
  • Will King Cole return?
#10 Posted by golguin (3969 posts) -

I thought episode 3 was the strongest episode so far and I really enjoyed it. I thought it strange @alex that you needed to mash a button during the Bigby transformation scene. On the 360 version you just press forward as you shrug off the shotgun blasts. It was an extremely hyped scene for me so I killed the Tweedle without hesitation because I got caught in the moment.

#11 Edited by SgtSphynx (1490 posts) -

@alex said:

(including a particularly satisfying clocking of Georgie in this episode)

The only bit of violence I didn't feel bad about afterwards. I tore Grendels arm off and felt super bad about it, but I forgot which save file it was on and that ended up being the file I ended up using going forth. I play Bigby as though he were me, which oddly enough ends up being that he is trying to be a nice guy while barely containing the rage that is obviously boiling underneath his facade.

#12 Posted by bybeach (4899 posts) -

I am going to play the Crooked Mile first, then read this article. I took in his (Alex's) first paragraph, and then checked the length of the article. Most anything Alex writes that is not wrestling oriented interests me. So frustrating that he goes to such length on a series I have been bouncing back and forth on, and I cannot read it!

Well I can, but nope. Guess I can assume the title Crooked Mile alone should give me some hint of being jerked around the story landscape.

I'll be back.....

#13 Posted by flameboy84 (180 posts) -

The one thing that's constantly at the back of my mind refers to this:

The mistrust these Fables feel toward you seems to run incredibly deep, and I'm beginning to wonder if this series has any designs on allowing the player to ever repair those relationships

I've not read the comics but if this relationship exists in the comic we are kind of fighting a losing battle this I think there is a problem. I feel like there is no tension and this comes as a result of the writers having to tread water and not ruffle to many feathers as they can't alter anything that is already canon. They already confirmed it is a prequel and in the same continuity so what can they do. Walking Dead's way of it being a completely different story let's the shackles off and it's all the better for it.

#14 Posted by SgtSphynx (1490 posts) -

@alex My memory is a little fuzzy but as far as Blubeard goes, he's the one fable that made it out of their world with his wealth intact, so a good amount of what Fabletown has become is thanks to him. He's also a supposedly reformed serial killer who killed his wives via beheading. Also, he wants to be Fabletowns mayor in place of Old King Cole who hasn't shown up in the games (not sure if he even will.) Ichabod is merely the Deputy Mayor who actually does the day to day running of Fabletown.

#15 Posted by Zeeman155 (79 posts) -

Weird how TT's Walking Dead's 3rd chapter was one of the stronger (if not THE strongest). Yet this seems to be doing the reverse. I still feel the 1st chapter may have been the strongest so far. The fight scene at the end should have had way more impact and payoff considering the moment that it was. Maybe they just did too much hyping for it in the "next time's" on the last two episodes but even the beginning scrap with the woodsman felt better.

#16 Posted by angularcyrus (5 posts) -
#17 Edited by clush (427 posts) -

I don't like how the game forces you into certain trains of thought.

-Greenleaf: I knew what was up as soon as she opened the door, yet you have to play out the scene and then act all surprised at that shocker reveal?

-Crane: Even though you have the opportunity to tell Snow you don't think Crane is the killer, this doesnt change ANYTHING in the script. You will still act as though you're completely tunnelvisioned on him.

They handled this pretty well with the woodsman in Ep. 1, but with the whole shtick of the game being how your decisions affect the story you're being funneled down a critical path pretty hard. Thinking like a detective and keeping your options open isnt how you're supposed to approach this game, apparently.

Other than that I'm enjoying it quite a lot, except for the ridiculously slow pace at which the Ep's are released.

#18 Edited by danm_999 (75 posts) -

Good write up Alex. I agree with your assessment, I enjoyed the episode, but felt it was weaker as a stand alone episode.

That said, it has my favourite meta Telltale joke to date "Gren won't remember this".

#19 Posted by LackingSaint (1833 posts) -

@sravankb said:

I didn't read this article, and I'm not sure about this game. I liked The Walking Dead, but this seems too...try-hardy.

Anything that tries to grimdark the shit out of what we conventionally consider to be children's fiction never turns out well, IMO. Anyone here think I might be downplaying what the game has to offer?

Is it better than just "everyone's an asshole and everything sucks, the game"? Please do realize that I have no knowledge of the Fables series or this game. All I've shared is just a first impression based on a few details what I've heard about the game's world.

Yeah, I appreciate your thoughts but you're pretty far off the mark both in terms of the game and the comic series it's based on (both of which i've partaken in). A big point is that those original fairytales were "grimdark" in themselves, and it's just transfixing those terrible, bloody stories into a real-world setting. It's all really interesting and the characters are super-compelling. I definitely wouldn't write it off as being dark for the sake of it.

#20 Posted by Dasdude (91 posts) -

This series started very well, but I'm suspecting something changed during development that caused some pretty major writing revisions to take place. My sketchy evidence is as follows:

  • Big delay between ep1 and ep2
  • Lots of small bugs in ep2 (far more than ep1 in my case)
  • Achievement names for ep3 make little sense in context
  • The title card for ep3 was changed completely before release (it used to include a previous character who was nowhere to be seen in the episode)
  • Matter of opinion, but I thought the writing in ep1 was better than in the next two episodes

I think TWAU's plot is becoming something different than what TTG originally planned, and perhaps they had to settle for less to keep delays to a minimum.

#21 Posted by LackingSaint (1833 posts) -

@dasdude said:

This series started very well, but I'm suspecting something changed during development that caused some pretty major writing revisions to take place. My sketchy evidence is as follows:

  • Big delay between ep1 and ep2
  • Lots of small bugs in ep2 (far more than ep1 in my case)
  • Achievement names for ep3 make little sense in context
  • The title card for ep3 was changed completely before release (it used to include a previous character who was nowhere to be seen in the episode)
  • Matter of opinion, but I thought the writing in ep1 was better than in the next two episodes

I think TWAU's plot is becoming something different than what TTG originally planned, and perhaps they had to settle for less to keep delays to a minimum.

Between the sometimes very shoddy animation, and the occasionally spotty writing, I think it's really apparent that TellTale is being stretched to the breaking point with all these projects at once. They need to accept the fact that they're a big-name developer at this point and hire on more staff.

That said, TWAU Ep1 is bar-none my favourite Episode of a modern TellTale game, and I loved the tough choices and ending moments of Episode 3. Episode 2 is a bad omen though, for sure; meandering, awkward and very filler-like.

#22 Edited by Smorlock (58 posts) -

Weird, I thought it was by far the best WAU episode, and maybe the best Telltale episode since WD's first season ender. The pace of it was just really great, it moved fast and was exciting the whole way through.

#23 Posted by audioBusting (1623 posts) -

I think I chose to tell Bluebeard that the investigation is none of his business, and he says something like, "this is my money!" It sounds like he's funding most of Fabletown.

#24 Posted by bkbroiler (1636 posts) -

This was my favorite episode, too. I particularly liked the battle rage section at the very end. I felt like Telltale did a great job of amping the player up to kill him, which is why there is such an even 50/50 split on it. I think players are conditioned not to kill characters in Telltale games, for fear of being yelled at by companions.

I do think Telltale has altered the storyline quite a bit between episode 1 and 2. However, I am still confident that it is going someplace interesting and felt Episode 3 kept the plot moving forward nicely. I'm so hooked on the Fables universe now I'm 20 issues into the comic!

#25 Edited by Milkman (17030 posts) -

This episode didn't blow me away like episode 1 but I definitely think it was an improvement over episode 2, which I don't think was very good at all.

One thing that I'm not really fond of with this series so far is that they seem to want to try and shock you with these cliffhangers and then they end up just pulling the rug from under you and whatever happened suddenly doesn't matter at all.

End of episode 1: SNOW IS DEAD

10 minutes in episode 2: psych, she's not dead.

End of episode 2: CRANE IS THE KILLER

By the end of episode 3: Nah, he's not.

I feel like there's not a lot actually happening and it's just a series of fake outs biding time until the true nature of whatever is going on will actually be revealed.

Despite all that, I'm still really enjoying the game as a whole and I'll pretty much follow Telltale anywhere at this point.

#26 Posted by MachoFantastico (4793 posts) -

Telltale on real form right now, both The Walking Dead Season Two and The Wolf Among Us are killing it right now in my opinion.

Super interested to see more of Tales from the Borderlands to, what I've read about it as me intrigued.

#27 Edited by SunBroZak (1204 posts) -

@dasdude said:

This series started very well, but I'm suspecting something changed during development that caused some pretty major writing revisions to take place. My sketchy evidence is as follows:

  • Big delay between ep1 and ep2
  • Lots of small bugs in ep2 (far more than ep1 in my case)
  • Achievement names for ep3 make little sense in context
  • The title card for ep3 was changed completely before release (it used to include a previous character who was nowhere to be seen in the episode)
  • Matter of opinion, but I thought the writing in ep1 was better than in the next two episodes

I think TWAU's plot is becoming something different than what TTG originally planned, and perhaps they had to settle for less to keep delays to a minimum.

A couple of us speculated in a previous thread that something happened with the voice actress for the police officer. One of the previous title cards featured her in it, as if implying she would have a large role in the series. But as far as the past two episodes go, she has had a very minimal impact on the story.

Edit:
Also, I have to wonder if the lack of character development for Snow and Bigby is due to the comic readers knowing plenty about them already. It seems to me like Telltale doesn't want to retread a lot of the information that is learned in the comics, fleshing out less known characters instead.

#28 Posted by Sweep (8927 posts) -

Everything you said is true. However:

Moderator
#29 Edited by LikeaSsur (1565 posts) -

Isn't this how most noir stories go? There's an exciting beginning (murders), investigative work (Finding the motel), and then a suspect that totally did it but actually turns out to be a red herring (Crane)?

As far as I'm concerned, The Wolf Among Us is going along as planned, and it's all still great.

#30 Edited by civid (482 posts) -

I'm thinking about picking up the comic if nothing else to better understand the characters background and motivation. How many should I buy? Is there a specific volume that focuses on the characters from The Wolf Among Us? Any lexicon which goes through wwhere the different characters are from (their respective fairy tale)

#31 Posted by Hardtarget (253 posts) -

Did Alex play some other version of The Wolf Among us that isn't freaking amazing or something? Cause the first 3 episodes I played are better than any of season 1 of The Walking Dead.

#32 Posted by OneManX (1693 posts) -

I enjoyed the end of Episode 3, just getting a small glimpse of how big of a badass Bigby is. I got hype as I was mashing that button.

#33 Posted by golguin (3969 posts) -

@sweep said:

Everything you said is true. However:

Holy shit I'm dying here.

#36 Posted by bybeach (4899 posts) -
@sweep said:

Everything you said is true. However:

WHAT THE HELL!!!!!!!!!! Gawd I couldn't stop laughing!

Hey Bigby, the Town is starting to find out........guess all wolves want to be Pole Dancers (putting it politely). Dogs have this urge after all.

I just finished episode 3, then read Alex's write up. Yes, this is hopefully the airy loose center episode that often is betwixt the substantial beginning and end action. Hopefully now things will start to pick up though the last episodes, the 2 or 3 remaining. Or there might be another episode like this.

And yes, the end could have been accomplished to great dramatic effect with about 5 shotgun blasts less. Bigby should have been allowed to cover more distance while doing his other hardcore wolfie thing.

Oh do I wish I had that glitch, reminded me so much of the doctor's rolling head in Fallout-new Vegas.

#37 Posted by Xpgamer7 (2384 posts) -

I feel all the aforementioned parts are true, but I think this episode, while not as good as the first was far better than what I felt was a disappointing second episode. This episode did have sequences like the early yet inevitable tweedle fight, but the sense that you aren't truly in control of the situation has been present in all the episodes and made me feel no worse in that situation. In fact the series has made me feel that Bigby and the others have an increasingly large lack of control on everything around them. They're understaffed and led on a mix of emotion, morals and bureaucracy. The lack of actual control is purposeful, which is somewhat but not completely contrary to The Walking Dead where your choices having strong effects is paramount to the experience.

I'm not as much a fan of the strained tension between the lower class fables as Alex. But despite my dislike of it for pulling so much out of the past for a character I can't truly change the image of(despite some intentions of the game to play up his want and attempts for that very change), It adds strong pacing in character drama to ease the investigative and action scene split. It's a great alternative to the common buddy cop-esque idea of characters to bounce drama or levity during scenes that follow the normal course of action.

There are a few other things such as the three way choice that had a bunch of different aspects to consider, or that this episode actually made good on the second episode's ending unlike the reverse twist of the first. But mainly it managed to feel like you weren't running up against the limits of the game's framework for the sake of the framework, which scenes like the Georgie one from last episode break immersion to a point that you notice every damn pause and how A or B the system is rather than thinking about the characters, overarching plot and the driving forces behind A or B. Story wise this episode plays through that tension without skipping a beat. Unfortunately the final fight scene breaks the game in the same way but for the fighting system. It almost feels like the MGS "Button Mash to relate" school of intensity, bringing to focus once again the system of hitting the button better than any intricacy that could have been implemented with the variety shown in past action scenes.

Overall I really enjoyed the episode. It's a mid season episode full of investigation and breadcrumb trails. It's about exploration and well.. investigation. I am somewhat worried about the depth of the rabbit hole as these kinds of episodes usually start after a big shadow figure reveal similar to this one's end. It leaves me wondering how well the last two episodes will fill the story considering a whole new area of interest opened up. Still, if they hold the length of this episode with polish as good or better I'm very excited for the rest.

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