Why We Need More Games Like Wolf Among Us

Here is everything that makes the Wolf Among Us one of the best games in the genre.

Why We need more of the wolf among us
More of Wolf Among Us

The news of another delay for The Wolf Among Us 2 stings. But, here’s the silver lining, it’s the perfect time to revisit the phenomenal first game. The Wolf Among Us is a masterpiece in narrative-driven gaming, and its underappreciated brilliance highlights the need for more titles like it.

What made The Wolf Among Us so captivating? Was it the grimy, noir atmosphere of Fabletown? The gripping detective gameplay that had you piecing together clues in a world of fairytale creatures? The amazing character design and unique visual choices? Or perhaps it was the unforgettable characters and the weight of your choices in shaping their fates?

Key Takeaways
    • The Wolf Among Us is an underrated masterpiece in narrative-driven gaming.
    • It blends a grimy neo-noir world with reimagined fairytale characters, stunning visuals, and impactful choices that put you in the driver’s seat.
    • We crave more games like this for its fresh take on classic stories and the immersive experience created by your choices.
    • The Wolf Among Us isn’t just crying out for a sequel, it’s a blueprint for future narrative adventures.

The Story & Setting

One of the first things that immediately pull players into the game, is the gritty neo-noir aesthetic and the characters that inhabit this world. Based on the Fables comic books created by Bill Willingham, the setting of this game is truly unique.

Players are dropped head-first into the grimy back alleys of New York.

The Fables Comic Book
The Fables Comic Book

The main twist is that the characters we see on our screen are the popular fairytale characters we all love and know. Here, tucked away from the human world, reside the characters of our childhood fairytales, forced to co-exist after being exiled from their magical Homelands.

But these aren’t the Disney princesses and dashing heroes you remember. The trials of exile and time have worn them down, leaving them a touch tired and far more complex. Bigby Wolf, the notorious Big Bad Wolf from Little Red Riding Hood, now serves as Fabletown’s sheriff. His gruff exterior barely contained his struggle to outrun his past.

fairytale characters
Fairytale Characters

Once the epitome of innocence, Snow White now works alongside Bigby, her naivety replaced by a sharp wit honed through years of navigating this treacherous world. That’s not it, as we also encounter Beauty and the Beast. Their fairytale romance is now more like a distant memory replaced by a strained codependency.

Ichabod Crane, the perpetually nervous schoolmaster from Sleepy Hollow, serves as the corrupt mayor. Now imagine having this setting but for a detective mystery game. Well, you don’t even have to imagine long, as this game places you directly in the footsteps of Bigsby the Wolf.

As the town sheriff, you get tangled in the middle of murder and conspiracy that would take you deeper into the underbelly of the corrupt Fabletown. For me, the story and setting were enough to play this game to its end.

The Graphics Are Amazing

While the game utilizes the Telltale genre’s signature cel-shaded graphics, it pushes them further to create a truly captivating aesthetic. The colors are a masterclass in neo-noir.

Heavy shadows are contrasted with bursts of neon and the glow of the moon, perfectly mirroring the game’s gritty atmosphere.

Ichabod Crane and the Woodsman
Ichabod Crane, The Woodsman, and Bigsby Wolf

The smoke was so thick on the screen that sometimes I could smell it. Environments are meticulously crafted to complement the narrative. Fabletown’s rundown apartments and smoke-filled bars are rendered with a level of detail that draws you into the world. 

This unique visual style works well for the characters and comic book setting. In my opinion, having this approach to the graphics is the right use for the graphic novel material at hand.

Instead of going for ultra-realistic graphics, it is a good change of pace to go completely on the other end of the spectrum for this unique visual aesthetic.

Neo Noir Setting
Neon Aesthetic

The character designs themselves deserve special mention. While retaining the essence of their fairytale origins, they’ve been reimagined for a more mature audience. Bigby Wolf’s imposing figure and gruff expression convey his inner struggle perfectly.

Snow White retains her trademark beauty, but a hint of weariness lurks in her eyes, hinting at the hardships she’s faced.

The Telltale Mechanics

Another element that solidifies The Wolf Among Us’ brilliance is its masterful use of Telltale’s signature mechanics. These mechanics go beyond simply presenting a story.

They actively engage the player in shaping your campaign, making every choice feel impactful and leaving you invested in the consequences.

Dialogue Option Telltale Mechanic
Dialogue Options

Conversations play like branching trees, with each selection offering a glimpse into Bigby’s personality and influencing how characters see him. Do you choose to be assertive and take a hard line? Or perhaps a more empathetic approach will yield better results?

The weight of these conversations can sometimes be nerve-wracking, as characters remember their actions and past choices. This potentially impacts future interactions and even alters the course of the narrative.

Further amping up the tension are the well-placed Quick Time Events. These sudden bursts of action suddenly get you fully engaged in the key moments.

The events expect you to react quickly and test your reflexes. A successful QTE might allow Bigby to apprehend a suspect, while a misstep could lead to a brutal altercation.

quick time events
Quick Time Event

These moments of frantically mashing buttons so you can beat up on the long-time rival, the Woodsman, are equal parts exciting and tense. However, remember that Woodsman will remember till the end how many punches you land.

We Need More Games Like This

The grimy neo-noir world, unforgettable characters, stunning visuals, and Telltale mechanics place you at the heart of the story. But why do we crave more games like this? The Wolf Among Us offers a unique blend of nostalgia and fresh perspective.

It reimagines familiar characters for a mature audience, breathing new life into beloved tales. Additionally, Telltale mechanics create a truly immersive experience. The weight of your choices fosters a deep connection, making us yearn for more games that allow us to influence narratives and witness the consequences firsthand.

The Wolf Among Us is a case study of what makes narrative-driven games special. It deserves not just a sequel, but successors who learn from its mastery.

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