Sometimes you’re so involved in a game, you don’t even realise. It’s not until the credits roll that you become aware you’re hunched forward, squeezing the controller so tight that it creaks as you release your grip. I’ve heard a lot of people suggest that ‘The Wolf Among Us’ lacks the constant pacing of events of that ‘other’ series Telltale Games is known for but after finishing ‘Episode 3: A Crooked Mile’ it’s become clear to me just how much Telltale have mastered the art of suspense.
Anyone familiar with a Telltale game, will know the tension that comes from seeing the words “So-and-So Will Remember That” appear at the top of the screen. It’s a stark reminder that everything you do impacts the game world. In ‘The Walking Dead’ I learned the hard way that fence sitting comes at a high cost and it wasn’t a mistake I planned on repeating in ‘The Wolf Among Us.’ So from episode 1, I never chickened out and took the ‘beige’ option. For better or worse, I made sure to commit to every situation.
The’Walking Dead’ was about physical survival but with ‘Wolf Among Us’ I’ve never felt more directly responsible for the mental and emotional well being of a character. You come into the role of Bigby Wolf with a whole backstory and history behind him. The world is already full of people who think you’re a monster, a bastard and a killer. Instead of giving you the choice to sculpt your past, you have to decide if you’re going to live up to people’s expectations or prove them wrong. It makes for some incredible character moments and in my opinion, dwarfs the murder mystery that many people think is the core of the games narrative.
Episode 3 is what really drove home this distinction for me, between simple ‘whodunnit’ and great character drama. Instead of another episode of new characters and locations, a lot of the tensions between existing characters come to a head. From a tense funeral stand-off to a brutal confrontation in an alleyway, this episode just didn’t pull any punches. Speaking of pulling punches, the temptation for violence is one of the most compelling aspects of this game and that really came to a head for me in Ep 3.
Snow White has so far made for an interesting sidekick, because every time I begin to feel close to her (thus, compelled to protect or impress her) I end up doing something that seems to repulse her. Whether it’s punching a suspect or growling back at her, she seems to remain this constant, moral compass that challenges your restraint. Especially towards the end of the episode, I found myself questioning how much I actually valued Snow’s opinion. There were so many strong, narrative reasons, pulling me down a certain path. I could feel the beast lurking there, right under the surface, threatening to come out and my attachment to Snow’s character was becoming less and less of a reason to ignore that impulse to let loose.
But with Ep 3, I felt like everything was pushing me. We had a time limit, a runaway suspect, a personal attack on our life… Things were definitely coming to a boil and I was getting mighty itchy for a showdown. Long story short, I made a judgement call right at the very end that may promise to be one of the biggest decisions available yet in the game. Imagine an event like The Red Wedding from ‘Game of Thrones’ and knowing you were directly responsible for it. Even as I committed the act, I was already feeling those pangs of regret, knowing there was no return. It was a bold episode for Telltale and I can’t wait to see how these actions create different repercussions in future episodes.
It just goes to show that instead of sitting on the fence, huffing, puffing and blowing that mother fuckin’ fence down can much more exciting.
If you’ve played episode 3 of ‘The Wolf Among Us’, why not let us know what you’ve thought of the series so far? Twitter: @Bigheadmode2rrr