Previously On: The Wolf Among Us - "Cry Wolf"

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Posted by alex (3742 posts) -

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Editor's Note: As always, this is a spoiler focused recap of The Wolf Among Us' finale. If you haven't played this episode and intend to do so, don't read this!

I've had my share of issues with Telltale's first season of The Wolf Among Us. After a strong start, this fantasy-tinged police procedural progressively found itself having greater and greater trouble justifying its episodic structure. With each episode, the choices the player encountered seemed less and less vital, the investigation became less interesting the larger it grew in scope, and characters that made a strong impression early on began to disappear into the background. The Wolf Among Us essentially backed into its final episode, needing a strong, thoughtful conclusion to justify the diminishing returns of the last couple of episodes.

Fortunately, "Cry Wolf" delivers mostly that. Mostly.

"Cry Wolf" is at once a definitive end to the story arc that's been building since that severed head appeared on Fabletown's doorstep, and something of a non-ending, too. The murders Bigby and friends have been investigating are eventually solved, the Crooked Man and his criminal organization receive some measure of justice (depending on how you choose to proceed), and life in Fabletown eventually returns to a sort of normalcy; and yet, questions remain. Some of those questions are of the intentional variety, while others just feel like minor plot holes never addressed for the sake of narrative convenience. If your hope for The Wolf Among Us was that every loose thread would be tied up in a neat, purely satisfying way, "Cry Wolf" may leave you feeling a bit cold. Then again, if you've been playing The Wolf Among Us all this time and expecting some kind of simple, happy ending after everything that's taken place, you probably haven't been paying close attention.

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After all, nobody in The Wolf Among Us is exactly an innocent. Even the characters very much on the "right" side of the law will bend the rules, lash out in anger, and make truly terrible decisions. Bigby Wolf himself is no exception. All throughout this season, Bigby has had ample opportunity to commit acts of impulsive violence, to ignore the pleas for help from his friends and colleagues, and to just generally be a raging dick. For my part, I've tried to avoid those pitfalls wherever I could. I tried to only fight when attacked, to respond kindly to those who needed kindness, to help anyone I could. I wasn't always successful. That I chose to punch the Woodsman during his interrogation was a fact that some Fables refused to let me forget, and I made no secret of my contempt for anyone who willingly agreed to work for the Crooked Man's gang. But those few transgressions aside, I felt compelled to try and keep Bigby as a fairly upstanding character, even as the choices the game presented me with seemed increasingly pointless in the grand scheme of things.

As it turns out, those choices weren't as pointless as they seemed at the time. All along, Bigby's behavior has been tallied by the various people around him, just waiting for an opportunity to be thrown back at him in a moment of judgment. The first half of "Cry Wolf" is all about getting to that moment. The episode picks up where the last left off, with Bigby surrounded by the Crooked Man's goons in his lair. While I half expected this to be a drawn out scene, it's actually just a brief exchange before the Crooked Man implicates Georgie as the killer. He tries to wipe his hands of Georgie as quickly as he can, offering up a deal with Bigby to try and end this peacefully, but Georgie isn't having it. He flips out over being made the scapegoat, which sends everyone in the room into a frenzy. Suddenly Bigby is surrounded by numerous members of the gang, and it's an all out brawl as he tries to escape and pursue the Crooked Man, who dives through a nearby portal back into the real world. In the fray, one of the Tweedles is killed (or at least gravely injured--I can't be certain because they both disappear from the episode at this point), Jersey Devil goes down in a heap, and Georgie skips back to New York with Vivian. What follows is a tense chase scene, arguably one of the best action sequences Telltale has ever done. Bigby goes full werewolf here, leaping from rooftops onto cars and dodging and weaving through traffic.

For reasons I can't quite fathom, Georgie and Vivian end up back at the Puddin' and Pie, AKA literally the first place anyone would ever look for them if they were on the run. Bigby arrives just in time for a dying Georgie to lay plain his and Vivian's role in everything. The strippers at the club are all under a spell cast by Vivian (who reveals herself as the girl from the story The Green Ribbon--never mind that these ribbons are purple), which prevents them from ever speaking out against their employers. Meanwhile, Georgie did indeed kill both Faith and Lily, but on orders from the Crooked Man. For how long this scene goes on, you don't get a whole lot of vital info here. Vivian is not a character that has had much screen time in this series, so her big reveal felt a bit off. Likewise, when she expresses her guilt at it all and makes the decision to end her life, I didn't exactly react. I chose to let her decide for herself, because (grim as this sounds) I didn't really care that much. Georgie's dismay over her death didn't do much for me either, though I at least felt obligated to kill him off before leaving the club, if only because he did me the favor of telling me where to find the Crooked Man's hideout. I could have left him to die, but in keeping with how I've been playing Bigby all along, it just didn't feel right to do so.

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Finding the Crooked Man leads to another terrific action sequence. I know I've said action isn't typically Telltale's strong suit, but this series has managed to balance fights/chases with conversation/investigation in a terrific way. The final battle against Bloody Mary is no exception. Again, Mary isn't a character that's been well-defined in this series, but what definition she does have is definitively vile. So having the opportunity to kill her off not just once, but many times over was entirely satisfying. I say many times over because this battle owes at least a little bit of inspiration to that crazy fight in The Matrix: Reloaded with the hundreds of Mr. Smiths. Bloody Mary's EX attack is apparently to make tons of copies of herself, which surround and slash away at Bigby. That leads to Bigby getting angrier and angrier until he reaches his final form, which is literally a very big, very bad wolf.

Dispatching Mary gets you to the Crooked Man, and the moment you've probably been waiting for. He pulls a gun on you the second you walk into his office, but he expresses a willingness to cooperate, provided you bring him back to stand trial. Obviously, there is a ruse here. This guy is a charmer and a manipulator, and there's no way he'd agree to be arrested unless he thought there was a way out for him. Incidentally, you can choose to kill The Crooked Man right then and there, and the ending that plays out is considerably different from what happens if you bring him back alive. For my part, I found the ending where he stands trial far more interesting.

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That's also the first choice I made (I went back and replayed to see what happened when I killed him), so that's the ending I'm going to recap here. As I said above, this is the moment where Bigby's actions throughout the season come into play. After the charges against the Crooked Man are read, he is given the opportunity to defend himself, and he does so by explaining exactly what I predicted he would in my recap of episode four. He talks at length about how the Fabletown home office abandoned its citizens and left them to fend for themselves, while he went out of his way to help those in need. He continues to pretend he had nothing to do with the murders, that Georgie acted alone. And when it's suggested that he should still be responsible for the actions of his employee, he presents the argument that so too should Bigby's actions reflect on Snow White, given that she is acting deputy mayor.

I imagine that if I had played Bigby a different (and much more violent) way, this argument might have held more water. As it is, the only infraction the Crooked Man is able to present here is the (mild) beating I gave the Woodsman--after all, I only hit him once. Additionally, apart from a bit of sarcasm, I'd chose to act kindly to nearly all of the Fables in the room--saving Auntie Greenleaf's tree, showing respect to the trolls during and after Lily's funeral, not beating the shit out of Beast when given the chance--meaning none of them had any real reason to hold a grudge against me. On top of that, the salient point is made that Bigby's infraction took place under Crane's leadership, so the point is sort of moot anyway.

Yet the Crooked Man continues down this path, and still somehow manages to start convincing the other Fables that maybe he should be found innocent. This, perhaps, is a symptom of writing a story with flexible outcomes. Because I mostly played Bigby to the letter of the law, there wasn't much ammunition for the Crooked Man to fire back at me with, yet the argument still had to take place in order for the story to progress as intended. This is something I really only noticed after finishing the episode. At the time, I appreciated the way the game opted to conclude its story by mixing your own behaviors into the trial. But in retrospect, the argument falls apart if you don't do enough to make it valuable. The idea of painting everyone's behavior (including Bigby's) in shades of grey is a good one, but it just doesn't hold up if you don't play the game a specific enough way.

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Regardless, the game eventually solidifies the Crooked Man's guilt irrespective of what you've done. When the Crooked Man finally resorts to pointing out that Bigby actually lacks any physical evidence of his guilt, Nerissa miraculously appears (now free of the spell that kept her from talking, thanks to Vivian's suicide) to say she was there when the Crooked Man ordered the girls' deaths. Her eyewitness testimony is all the citizens of Fabletown (or, at least, the ones relevant to this story) need to find the Crooked Man guilty. That brings up the question of how to punish him. Some want him tossed down the witching well, as is custom in Fabletown death sentences, while others want to use magic to imprison him.

Eventually the choice is laid on your shoulders. There's no way to please everyone, so you're faced with what at first feels like the most intense choice the game has yet given you. And then, right as you're about to deliver your decision, the Crooked Man goes and makes it easy for you. He attacks, trying to choke Bigby with his handcuff chain, though it takes little effort for Bigby to subdue him. Now you have the choice again, and I'm sorry, but if you chose to imprison him at this point, I don't know what you're doing. Fables evidently don't die unless killed, so imprisoning him for life means imprisoning him until the inevitable heat death of the universe. Why should a man so vile and manipulative be allowed to continue existing at the expense of the community, when he can just be done away with entirely? Granted, I decided to skip the more gruesome option of beheading him right then and there, and instead sent him plummeting down the well. Not everyone was happy, but at the very least, it seemed like some measure of justice had been exacted.

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Of course, cleansing Fabletown of the Crooked Man's influence didn't exactly just set everything right. Once the case is resolved, life seemingly returns back to a sort of normalcy, albeit one that's far from perfect. Snow (who, apart from one great speech during the trial, barely appears in this episode) is now fully engaged as Deputy Mayor, and as such has little time to talk to Bigby amid all her paperwork and meetings. Though Colin seems to find a way to stay, Mr. Toad and his son are sent to the farm. Odd, given that I chose to give him the money he'd need for glamours in the last episode, but apparently Snow wouldn't acquiesce and let them stay. This is a point of some bitterness for Toad, so when his boy asked me to give Snow a gift for him (a colorful beetle from his collection), I didn't refuse.

All of what I've described here makes for a satisfying enough conclusion to an uneven, but generally entertaining season, but that's not all that happens. A final conversation takes place between Bigby and Nerissa, who is off to start a new life. This final stinger pulls the rug out from a number of previously held beliefs about the nature of the killings, the testimony she gave during the trial, and even the victims themselves. When all is revealed during this sequence, you'll be forgiven if you don't completely grasp what, exactly, the game has just told you. It's a reveal that will make sense to those who have paid close attention all season long, but if you're even remotely forgetful (as I tend to be with these sorts of episodic games), you may have the sudden urge to go back and play some of the earlier episodes to figure out what it all means.

This, again, is my biggest issue with The Wolf Among Us. There's a good detective story in here, one that is far more layered and tricky than it initially seems. However, with weeks stretching between episodes, it's been difficult to keep track of all the little details, not to mention maintain strong connections to the game's characters as they float in and out of the story. "Cry Wolf" closes out the season about as well as could be hoped for, given what took place in earlier episodes, but it doesn't land with quite the impact it seemingly could have due at least in part to its episodic structure. In the parlance of our times, perhaps The Wolf Among Us would benefit most from a "binge" play, which is to say playing all of the available episodes in quick succession, now that they're all out.

I'll touch on that more in my full review of the season, which I'll have written up soon. For now, I'll just say that "Cry Wolf" made me feel better about this first season of The Wolf Among Us, especially after its lackluster middle episodes. It won't please everyone, but it gives the level of closure a good finale should, and leaves just enough open to pique my interest in what might happen in future seasons, which I'll just go ahead and assume Telltale is probably planning for.

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Random Notes:

  • If you want a bit more dialogue on what takes place at the very end of the game, I'll just put it out there that I chose to run after Nerissa after she tells you what she tells you. The implication that she may have been Faith in glamour all along is an interesting detail, and one that forced me to go back and replay a couple of the early episodes just to try and grasp which hints toward this I'd missed. I suppose I should have known, given Faith's backstory and the constant use of glamours by various Fables. I'm curious if it took anyone else besides me a little time to actually figure out what the reveal was, or if most people understood it right away and I'm just a big dummy.

  • No big list of bullet points this time around. Just wanted to thank everyone for sticking with me for this partial season of recaps. Again, I'll have a full review of the season up on the site soon, so keep an eye out for that. If you've got any feedback about how I've gone about covering these episodes, feel free to leave it in the comments. And if you're looking for longer, spoilery discussion, be sure to check out the thread on our forums for precisely that. Thanks again. Awoo!
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#1 Posted by Corevi (6796 posts) -

This is the first time I've read one of these recaps since it's the first time I've finished the episode day of, and just wanted to say this is a pretty great article. Keep up the good work.

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#2 Posted by JauntyHat (378 posts) -

Just finished this yesterday as well, and I'm right with you on your first Random Note. At first I thought it was trying to make me think much deeper and "out of the box" with that string of dialogue from Narissa but I guess it'd make (some?) sense that it would be Faith in the end. If your conclusion is right then that opens up another BIG question of who WAS the first murder victim?

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#3 Posted by Rirse (328 posts) -

The imprisoning fate is really cruel, as he gets turned into a mute raven.

Also the general census on the ending is either Faith swapped places with the Little Mermaid, or it was Nerissa disguised as Faith in the first episode, who was setting up you finding her head, as Faith was already dead at this point.

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#4 Posted by AlisterCat (8080 posts) -

The imprisoning just means he gets turned in to a crow and lives in a bird cage. He's no drain or burden on anyone. I was happy with that outcome, I wouldn't have been happy if it literally meant him in a cell. He is probably going to have one shitty life.

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#5 Posted by MrGtD (487 posts) -

The final choice is the Noir-est fucking thing, and I love it so much. You can choose to either make the ending The Usual Suspects, or Chinatown. I chose Chinatown, and I think it's the only real option.

Forget it Bigby, it's Fabletown.

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#6 Posted by galenblade (26 posts) -

Love your recaps, Alex.

As for me, when I got the very final reveal, I didn't know what the hell she had just said either. Considering that the main callback was from the very beginning of the first episode, which I had played nearly a year ago, it didn't hit at all until I started reading afterwards. Maybe adding a visual part to the flashback instead of just the auditory would've helped.

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#7 Posted by AlisterCat (8080 posts) -

There's a lot of discussion about the ending. Most people don't understand it and a there's plenty of confusion about who is who. I thought the same thing you did.

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#8 Posted by StarvingGamer (11518 posts) -

I think that Telltale's protracted episodic format is exactly the worst way to play this sort of detective story. Never mind that they almost completely abandoned the cool investigation mechanic from that earlier episode with Toad, by the time episode 5 hit I could barely remember anything from any of the previous episodes outside of the biggest key plot points. Because of this, I had abso-fucking-lutely no clue what Nerissa (Faith?) was getting at during her Keyser Söze moment at the end of the episode.

My goldfish-like brain aside, episode 5 was a huge disappointment for me. The action was ugly, the car chase was laughably dumb given how slow and lumbering they made Bigby seem, and the entire trial lacked any sense of tension or stakes. In the end the Crooked Man came off as a poor used-car salesman, not some manipulative criminal mastermind. His big defense was basically him doing this:

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Oh well, at least I still have The Walking Dead to look forward to.

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#9 Posted by SlashDance (1867 posts) -

Wait... so it's Faith glamoured to look like Nerissa? I thought it was the opposite. Like Faith was already dead before the start of episode 1 and Nerissa was just trying to get Bigby involved or something? I don't know... as you said, keeping up with every little detail was kinda hard with all that downtime.

I really liked the series but I still feel like the first episode is the best one, and I don't like that Telltale is making super short episodes now...

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#10 Posted by Octaslash (770 posts) -

This and the Walking Dead are probably the only two games where I have been comfortable playing kind of an asshole. I totally murdered the Crooked Man because I thought he would talk his way out with his silver tongue bullshit. It made the ending a little more interesting because it pretty much put Bigby and Snow on trial. I ended up calling everyone out on their hypocrisy and promised to be a little better.

I'm really looking forward to all of Telltale's upcoming games. It seems like they've totally dropped the illusion of point and click adventure. That's fine by me.

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#11 Posted by DarthSontin (6 posts) -

For me, the part that confirmed that Nerissa was actually Faith was the voiceover that referred to Donkeyskin being a master of disguises and able to hide in plain sight. It makes sense from her perspective, what better way to protect herself from her previous life than faking her own death.

When "Nerissa" (Faith?) describes how Lilly and "Faith" (Nerissa?) died after she ratted them out to Georgie, my assumption is that they were set up on purpose from the beginning. It all makes sense- she sets them up to be murdered by the Crooked Man's gang and then sics Bigby on the Crooked Man to take them out.

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#12 Posted by hollitz (2375 posts) -

It took me watching the ending twice to figure it out, Alex. And the story was MUCH more fresh in my mind as I got the game on the Steam sale and plowed through it recently.

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#13 Posted by SplitSecond (39 posts) -

I really love the universe of Fables and The Wolf Among Us was no exception. However as an episodic game I wonder how much it was hindered by being a prequel to the larger body of fiction. The end result was never really in doubt - The Crooked Man had to be caught and captured, Snow White ends this story as Deputy Mayor and Bigby is still Sheriff. With the finale essentially written in stone it's pretty hard to have serious consequences based on your choices.

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#14 Edited by Teddie (2137 posts) -

"And then, right as you're about to deliver your decision, the Crooked Man goes and makes it easy for you. He attacks, trying to choke Bigby with his handcuff chain, though it takes little effort for Bigby to subdue him. Now you have the choice again, and I'm sorry, but if you chose to imprison him at this point, I don't know what you're doing."

That scene is actually what made me decide to imprison him instead of throwing him down the well. I might be giving the Crooked Man too much credit here, but I thought his intent in that scenario was a last ditch effort to destroy people's trust in the Fabletown government by making Bigby look like a monster (his final words in that scene are along the lines of "Remember this moment when you're trying to sleep", feeling that Bigby is about to end him).

Dunno if you found out the alternative, @alex, but the "imprisonment" for the Crooked Man is being turned into a raven, and having his ability to speak (apart from the occasional squawking) taken away. So a pretty tedious eternity for him whether you kill him or drop him down a supposedly bottomless well.

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#15 Edited by LaserJesus (136 posts) -

@mrgtd: Damn it, you beat me to it.

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#16 Posted by I_Stay_Puft (5578 posts) -

I find it funny Alex chose the most intense option of the three when dealing with the Crooked Man but was also maybe the only real way to handle the situation while appeasing everyone. With him outright attacking you I'm sure whatever decision I made wouldn't have that much effect.

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#17 Edited by CallumCee (11 posts) -

I have really enjoyed the coverage of these! I also think quantifying these into a final review will be slightly difficult giving the lull in the middle, so I don't envy you there.

I agree that this episode was a whole lot more satisfying that the previous couple, though I wasn't overly satisfied with the Crooked Man's trial. I also played Bigby's character by the law and the people of Fable Town really had no great gripes with me so his attempt to turn the thought on my wrongdoings felt misplaced and the people seemingly agreeing with his weak points made me, again, say "how fucking stupid are these people?!".

It's hard for games with various different outcomes to get things like this completely smooth, I understand. But at the climax of the game it sort of distanced me a bit from the experience.

Curious now to see if there'll be a season 2 leading directly off of this and what exactly could be carried over user-save-wise to the next season. (Return of Collin perhaps?)

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#18 Edited by JimiPeppr (609 posts) -

Great write-up!

Personally, I appreciated the episodic nature of WAU. It forced me to think about each episode individually, and I got the opportunity to come up with my own theories (and read others) for what I thought might happen (kind of like chapters in a mystery novel... sometimes I'll force myself to put a book down at the end of a chapter so I can cogitate). If I had all five episodes at once, I probably would have just gone along for the ride.

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#19 Edited by rocketfalls (98 posts) -

Eh, I think you've got it wrong. I think it's less that Nerissa is actually Faith, and more that Faith was actually Nerissa. It makes more sense, given how Dr. Swineheart did an autopsy and everything, and I think is more thematically resonant that Nerissa glamored herself as Faith in the beginning after she was already dead in order to give Bigby a reason to care about the case. Otherwise she would have just been another one of the stragglers whose death and tragedy was overlooked and unnoticed, just like Nerissa was talking about in her little monologue at the end of the game. Bigby never met Faith. It's been Nerissa all this time.

Of course I think there's room for interpretation, I think stuff about both theories makes sense, and the ambiguity of it is an interesting way to leave the season, but just thought I'd leave that here as something to chew on. I thought it was much more likely than Nerissa having been Faith all this time.

My experience with the ending, I actually chose to kill the crooked man and bring back his body because I'd promised Georgie ( his scene with Vivian affected me pretty heavily ) to pay him back, and because I assumed the crooked man would attempt to weasel his way out during the trial. It was kind of aggravating that while arguing with everyone, the only thing that the game could stick against me was that Snow had wanted to burn Aunty Greenleaf's tree, she used that point repeatedly against me even though I -- Bigby -- had prevented Snow from doing it in the end. That part seemed to have slipped her mind.

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#20 Edited by hermes (2604 posts) -

I am with you, I was confused by the last sequence too...

Unfortunately, I had a bug on my PS3 that made many of my decisions reset to a default value. So, during the recaps I noticed that I DID burn Greenleaf's tree, and was kind of a bastard to Collin and Toad, while in reality I was always as gentlemanly as possible.

That took me out of the game a bit, since a lot of the trial seems to rest on past decisions, and it was frustrating to find the Crooked Man accusing me of things I didn't do.

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#21 Edited by meissnerd (221 posts) -

I think the episodic structure of WAU is a weakness as well because like Alex, a lot of the details from earlier episodes had vanished from my head, particularly about Faith. Details aren't as critical in the Walking Dead as every character is ostensibly living on borrowed time; details are meant to flesh characters out and aren't arcing towards a larger mystery. Furthermore, its easier to bounce back when starting a new chapter in WD because its always just "oh right, so and so is about to get/has already been bitten by a zombie". Thats a bit reductionist I know but its why I think WAU would have benefitted being one larger game.

I loved your write-ups Alex. Are you going to be covering the Game of Thrones and Borderlands games as well?

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#22 Posted by steelknight2000 (570 posts) -

Are we sure the Witching Well means death? I don't want that asshole making his way back through some magic hell portal.

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#23 Posted by MATATAT (1225 posts) -

I managed to do just enough stuff shit through the season where the trial held a little more weight but it was still confusing because we already established that the Crooked Man was breaking the law by creating illegal glamours. I mean yeah its unfortunate that regular glamours are expensive but who cares its the law you broke it. I mean, granted, my Bigsby did some unjust stuff mostly things like killing one of the Tweedles because screw those guys but I was fine with Bigsby going to jail possibly but that kinda defeats any sequel and the game wasn't about to let me confess my sins. In retrospect I do agree that there are subtle details that, had I remembered, would have made the story coalesce a little better.

I think if they do another game for this franchise they should either make all the games to basically the point of completion so every couple weeks or every week they can release a new episode or they need to just release it as a single game. The latter would probably make more sense in the long run since two weeks between episodes means everything would basically need to be done and certified by the time the previous episode comes out.

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#24 Posted by Khazo (17 posts) -

I actually binge played all the episodes in the last week leading up to the finale. Doing this I never really experienced any episode as lackluster, because the next was right around the corner. I was really into the story and the mystery while chasing after Crane and eventually getting to the bigger picture. I'll have to look at your past recaps to see which episodes specifically you're talking about and what you're problems with them were.

I was mostly satisfied with the ending. I played the game pretty much the same as you, not even beating on the prisoner, so it felt really forced that the Crooked Man tried to use Bigby's brutality to turn the opinion of the crowd. To me it felt too much like the ending of the first Walking Dead season.

Another decision, that had seemingly no impact was to let Tweedle Dee or Dum live. From what I could tell it would've changed absolutely nothing if he was dead or alive in the end.

Apart from that I enjoyed the game and it definitely benefited from playing all the episodes one after the other.

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#25 Posted by boss_wreckman (59 posts) -

Loved the episode by episode recap, Alex.

I had that moment of goldfish-amnesia at the very beginning of this episode, not remembering why I was standing in this room, who was missing, or who murdered whom. I think I'll give it a few months then tackle the season all at once and finally sort out my Donkeyskins from my Mermaids.

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#26 Posted by emfromthesea (2262 posts) -

Are we sure the Witching Well means death? I don't want that asshole making his way back through some magic hell portal.

The "rules" of the Witching Well are explained in more depth in the comics.

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#27 Posted by damnboyadvance (4197 posts) -

It took me a minute to figure out what exactly the game was getting at with Nerissa saying Faith's line. I knew it would be something like Faith and Nerissa being the same character, but I couldn't connect it to the glamours right away. Personally I think Faith was Nerissa in glamour, not the other way around, but this is something I'm sure will be addressed next season.

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#28 Posted by Gnorbooth (300 posts) -

Enjoyed TWAU, though I agree that the episodic nature didn't really do the game any credit this time around. What was that first gap between episodes 1 and 2, like four or so months? Just nuts.

The ending lacked the initial hit of a big moment as like others I was having trouble fully recalling what was being mentioned. But now having had time to digest it, I do like the twist. And I like it way more if Faith is still kicking around. The intrigue builds with her being the puppet master that literally plays everyone in Fabletown so she can get out of her situation (which also matches up with her Fable quite well). She played Crooked Man and his goons. She plays Bigby. I think it also makes a nice nod to the femme fatale stylings you tend to see in noir type settings. And I think it also loops back around to the idea and theme of Bigby is just a tool for others to use.

Anyways, really enjoyed most of it, but I've learned my lesson. Next Telltale game, I'm not picking it up till after all the episodes are out.

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#29 Posted by westinlee (9 posts) -

Interesting that your story for Bigby was to play him as a Boy Scout who finally turns to violence and murders the guy at the end. Might be a symptom of video-game-playing-itis that you did everything that sounded the most 'right'. I loved the way the game pushed me to have fun with the conflict within Bigby - to make him *want* to be good, but people just won't let up...and sometimes he loses control. And likes it.

That made the trial at the end substantially more interesting. The Crooked Man was right. I WAS a monster.

The ending twist was classic noir and super enjoyable. I love the idea of there being an additional, honest-to-god detective story underneath the 'normal' gameplay that you'll never catch if you're just 'playing the game right'.

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#30 Posted by xanadu (2037 posts) -

@alex You may be interested to know if you choose to put him in jail the magic lady turns him into a crow and puts him in a cage. . I almost feel that is a fate worse than death.

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#31 Edited by Evan223 (117 posts) -

Could some who has read the comics say if the twist at the end is made clearer in the comic books? Preferably spoiler tagged of course. I'm just curious to whether the "Ad" at the end of this episode was just a general advert for the books in general or if it was to imply that the stuff with Nerissa is expanded upon in the books.

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#32 Edited by BrassHi (35 posts) -

Maybe this is just me, but I was really irked by the lack of time given to The Crooked Man's motives. Why does he rule this racket over the people of Fabletown? What does he get in return? Is it money? Because the fact he has an castle in the ether made me assume that perhaps money isn't an issue for someone like this...

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#33 Posted by forkboy (1650 posts) -

I really loved my time with The Wolf Among Us. I really fucking loved it. Great fun. Fantastic atmosphere. I find these games are best when you don't look too close at the details & especially playing them through a second time with different options. Like with Walking Dead, to me, Lee's journey is the one I experienced and there can be no alternative. Bigby was a decent guy who tried to do right and sometimes let his temper get the better of him. Who took mercy on Georgie in the end.

Also, on the subject of the sentence for The Crooked Man, jeez. When Auntie Greenleaf suggested magical imprisonment, I dunno, it just felt fucked up. The idea of being imprisoned until, as @alex says, the heat death of the universe, that just seems horrifying and way worse than death. There was no way I could do something that awful to anyone. Even The Crooked Man, as this guy who prayed on the most vulnerable Fables, who ordered the murder of those he felt would not be noticed missing, he doesn't deserve that. Even Bloody Mary, as demented and bloodthirsty, no way could I have done that!

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#34 Posted by Onekumar (3 posts) -

I'm one of the lucky few that got the game on discount from the steam sale, binge played episode 1-4, got 2 weeks to ponder over the story, and then play episode 5 when it was released. I feel like I got the best of both worlds and a crazy good discount. Subsequently, I feel like this is the best adventure game I've ever played. I didn't feel like every choice I made mattered because hell, that isn't how the real world goes either. The story & writing were top notch and that ending was a great twist that I should've but didn't see coming. I doubt we'll get a season 2 but this has me a lot more excited for Game of Thrones then I care to admit.

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#35 Edited by Cybexx (1633 posts) -

I like that they leave it up to you to figure out the ending. I didn't quite get it initially. My initial train of thought was that all the girls were clones or at least the ribbon was giving them very specific speech patterns. But after a good night's sleep the idea that Nerissa was glamoured as Faith made the most sense.

I was kinda surprised that the ending seems to hint at a second season, considering Bill Willingham is bringing an end to all the Fable comic series soon I thought this series would for sure be a one-off.

As a side note, the preview image from the 3rd episode, The Crooked Mile, used to have the image of a blond female mundy police officer with a bandaged head, holding a gun at the gates of that Fabletown office. Which I thought meant they were thinking of doing a side-plot where Bigsby had to deal with the New York police force while trying to solve the murder, which could have been cool but they just magic their way out of police problems quickly at the beginning of episode 2.

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#36 Posted by ArbitraryWater (15697 posts) -

As someone who played all of these episodes back-to-back over the course of two days I got most of the implications of the last conversation with Nerissa. I also ripped the Crooked Man's head off, because I played Bigby as the guy who wanted to do the right thing but would eventually flip off the handle when pushed far enough and the ending reflected that.

As for the series itself, I think it starts so strong and peters out, but I think you're right that the episodic nature does it no favors (and I'm sure did even fewer favors when the episodes were like 2-3 months apart). I liked it, but maybe not as much as The Walking Dead. The illusion of choice is even more fragile and there are some parts that are all over the place.

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#37 Posted by gla55jAw (2780 posts) -

I loved this game. I always have a problem in games with a good/bad choice, of always playing a goody-goody. I've been replaying the episodes after I finish my "main" game, to see what happens if I play Bigbie as a complete dick (and to get those trophies for the platinum, which I just got minutes ago). I actually think after I finish replaying this episode, that I'm going to go back and play the entire season again; picking choices that I think Bigbie would make, not just - all good or all bad. I sort of view him as a character that for the most part will try to do the good thing and actually care for the residents. At the same time, t if he gets pissed off, he sort of loses control.

I really hope there is a second season, I just started reading the comics...and I guess that's a first for me. Comics...right?

Looking forward to your review, @alex. I didn't think the middle episodes were as lackluster as you did, just felt a couple of them were a little too short.

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#38 Posted by golguin (5469 posts) -

I chose to imprison The Crooked Man because once everyone saw what a cool guy Bigby is he would be in charge. All the characters backed him up during the trial and that final decision sealed the deal as seen during the "prologue". Forcing The Crooked Man to live has a crow is a pretty great punishment.

At the end I was left with a big question mark. I was like, "Is the game saying they were the same person? How could they be the same person? Did they randomly have the same speech mannerisms? I literally forgot about the glamour."

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#39 Posted by MadBootsy (1011 posts) -

Great write up Alex.

I will say that The Wolf Among Us never hit me as hard as a lot of the crazy moments in The Walking Dead, but overall it was a satisfying "first season". As some people have already pointed out, imprisoning the Crooked Man meant he spends the rest of his eternal life as a voiceless crow, which I found to be a fitting punishment for him. Looking forward to your full review!

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#40 Edited by LoktarOgar (649 posts) -

@alex Where does Wolf Among Us rank in your list of game representations of New York? I remember you liking it a lot at first and I feel like, regardless of how you or anyone else may have felt about the middle episodes, the atmosphere in this game never lets up. Probably the best of any game I've played since Vagrant Story.

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#41 Posted by kadayi (192 posts) -

Agreed about the observation about being a season that would benefit more from binge play versus protracted play. I hopped on board when the game was first released and in truth it's hard to remember the fine detail of what happened in the early episodes for sure. Presently replaying it, partly to try out some different things, but partly to find some personal clarity with regard to events at the end.

Overall I warmed to the series more with the final episode, and albeit I wouldn't put it on a par with TWD in terms of quality I'm hoping that the game sold well enough that Telltale commission a second season.

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#42 Posted by singateco (31 posts) -

There was no "you are the real monster" option for Vivian which was really dumb. Who cares about your little life control issue when you made sex slavery market and put head cutting ribbons to girls. and no, I'm not shocked by this whole thing, Telltale, I just saw her with the Crooked Man crew. It was pretty obvious that Vivian wasn't innocent. Just let me kill her for what she did.

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#43 Posted by Stonyman65 (3806 posts) -

For me, the part that confirmed that Nerissa was actually Faith was the voiceover that referred to Donkeyskin being a master of disguises and able to hide in plain sight. It makes sense from her perspective, what better way to protect herself from her previous life than faking her own death.

When "Nerissa" (Faith?) describes how Lilly and "Faith" (Nerissa?) died after she ratted them out to Georgie, my assumption is that they were set up on purpose from the beginning. It all makes sense- she sets them up to be murdered by the Crooked Man's gang and then sics Bigby on the Crooked Man to take them out.

And then she walks away clean.... It makes sense in a really fucked up way. What a total Keyser Soze moment there.

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#44 Edited by StudsMcKewl (99 posts) -

I was a big fan of this episode and the season in general, mostly because this world and the characters in it are so unique. Also I got to huff, and puff, and blew Bloody Mary down; which was rad.

Great write up Alex, I'm looking forward to the review.

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#45 Posted by TheSouthernDandy (4139 posts) -

@darthsontin said:

For me, the part that confirmed that Nerissa was actually Faith was the voiceover that referred to Donkeyskin being a master of disguises and able to hide in plain sight. It makes sense from her perspective, what better way to protect herself from her previous life than faking her own death.

When "Nerissa" (Faith?) describes how Lilly and "Faith" (Nerissa?) died after she ratted them out to Georgie, my assumption is that they were set up on purpose from the beginning. It all makes sense- she sets them up to be murdered by the Crooked Man's gang and then sics Bigby on the Crooked Man to take them out.

And then she walks away clean.... It makes sense in a really fucked up way. What a total Keyser Soze moment there.

Alright....alright...I'd never considered that. I don't know if I agree with it but it's a hell of a theory. Interesting

I just finished the game, loved it. It didn't hit me nearly as hard as the ending of Walking Dead did, but I really enjoy that universe and those characters. Bigby is awesome. Really like Snow too. They're all great.

I'd have to agree with Alex, the space between episodes hurts a detective story like this. Hope it's not too long before Telltale gets back to it. Guess I'll have to get into the comics wont I.

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#46 Edited by Ghostiet (5832 posts) -

Played through. Great season. Didn't feel stuff wasn't clear, although I played most of it back-to-back due to Telltale's famed scheduling. Fantastic twist in the ending and I love that they've left two interpretations of what happened with considerable evidence for both.

What makes this game weird overall is its relationship as a prequel to the Fables comics. In The Wolf Among Us, Bigby at his worst isn't as much a colossal, cynical dick as the one from the actual comics. Here, he's a misunderstood individual who tries to atone or finds his reputation too hard to fight against. In Fables, he's an unrepentant piece of shit who turns in the first place only to score with Snow White. This is at odds with the source material, but in a way I'm fine with , since Fables is a great premise with shitty, cynical execution.

It's a similar reason for why I think Telltale's TWD is better than the comic - the comic was great up until point, after which it degenerated into a humorless story of brutal shit happening after brutal shit and characters turning into psychopaths. While perhaps realistic given the setting, it doesn't make for compelling storytelling or even something that's fun to read.

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#47 Posted by DerekDanahy (890 posts) -

Thanks for the write-up Alex. I enjoyed it.

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#48 Posted by Undeadpool (6971 posts) -

@xanadu said:

@alex You may be interested to know if you choose to put him in jail the magic lady turns him into a crow and puts him in a cage. . I almost feel that is a fate worse than death.

I'd agree. Even before I knew what his ultimate fate would be, I didn't want him to go to his grave with the satisfaction of knowing he'd shown everyone that Bigby really WAS just some savage beast.

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#49 Posted by Haethos (339 posts) -

Really wish there had been shorter delays between episodes. I definitely enjoyed the series as a whole and had my mind blown by Nerissa (I let her walk away, Bigby's "oh damn, she's good" face as he smokes was totally worth it), but I don't remember a lot of the smaller details and plot points from the previous episodes.

Crossing my fingers for a second episode, but reading through some of the collected Fables volumes on Comixology to tide me over.

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#50 Edited by flasaltine (2546 posts) -

I don't think the episodes suffered because of the long delay, I think that whatever happened to the game between the long gap of episode 1 and 2 hurt the game. I remember the next time on thing being completely different from what was actually in episode 2. There was an obvious drop in quality from the first to the second and they became a lot shorter.

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