The Wolf Among Us – Episode 4: review

Wolf Among Us

Wow, Telltale are finally getting into the swing of acceptable release windows for episodic games, reducing the space between episodes three and four down to a respectable month and a bit. And who could blame them? After the explosive finale to A Crooked Mile, we’re sure they’ve had rabid fans clambering at the office windows screaming for them to get number four out. But before we begin, if you haven’t played the Wolf Among Us yet, you’re clearly in the wrong place. We’d recommend you check out the review of part one first.

Have the uninitiated left yet? Good. Let’s get our wolfy teeth into episode four, In Sheep’s Clothing, spoiler free of course.

Wolf Among Us

The Big Bad Wolf recovering from his ouchies

Fresh from the near fatal conclusion of Bigby’s encounter with Bloody Mary, episode four picks up with a very battered Big Bad Wolf. You start off amongst concerned friends and get to see a little deeper into the relationship between Snow and Mr Wolf, having just gotten over the messy alleyway incident. It’s a calmer start than the previous entries, but provides a nice bit of character bonding and story setup. It also sets the tone for the first half of this episode, which is essentially used to decide how good a friend you are to some familiar faces.

We’re hesitant to call the first part of this chapter slow, as the dialogue is as nicely implemented as it has been throughout. There are also a couple of choices that may or may not add weight to the finale, but that’s still to be seen. Either way, it’s a welcome change of pace that goes a long way to normalising the narrative pulse (and probably prevents Bigby from having a stress induced fairy tale heart attack).

Wolf Among Us

The lice inspection QTE is a highlight

The calm certainly doesn’t outstay its welcome as a break in the case gives you another A or B style situation, both of which kick up valuable clues. Whichever location you choose first, you still get to go to the other. The best bit is though that one of these locations hides another very satisfying quick time event. We’re really amazed that QTEs can still feel fresh in 2014, but The Wolf Among Us uses them so sparingly and at just the right moments, so they still have some sort of impact.

As with the other episodes in the arc thus far, this one comes to an end far too soon, and actually felt a fair bit shorter than the others. Whether this is simply a case of time flying with fun, or because it is genuinely 20 minutes shorter, we’re not entirely sure. However, by this phase you’ll have come to expect the episodes stopping before you’re ready for them to end. In Sheep’s Clothing is just the same, reaching an explosive encounter only to top it with a fade to black.

With four cliff hanger endings in the bag, we really hope that episode five brings some resolution. And there still seems to be an awful lot left to resolve. As the episodic nature of the game is still seen as a single package, we could excuse the seemingly endless teasing if it ends on a high note. Telltale have done a lot to build up to a real corker of an ending, so we just hope it doesn’t go and pull a Mass Effect god-child over our eyes. Although, for a series based on fantasy characters, it seems remarkably well grounded, so we’ve got high hopes for a gritty and satisfying conclusion.

Wolf Among Us

What a place to meat

As The Wolf Among Us marches forward at an impressive rate, Telltale continue to show us that this is the new-age of point and click adventures. Branching character relationships and visible reactions to what you do are miles more satisfying than rubbing two items together in the hope of combining them into a key or magical McGuffin. As we’ve pointed out in our previous episode reviews, the story telling here is top notch and a great way to get into the Fables universe. It even encouraged us to track down the comics and give them a go. This episode just continues to make the vibrant world pop like the best sheet of bubble wrap you’ve ever danced across.

In Sheep’s Clothing may seem shorter than the other episodes of The Wolf Among Us thus far, but it continues to deliver the same high quality narrative throughout. It also ends in a fairly maddening place, but it’s just made us hungrier for the next installment. A lot is riding on the concluding chapter, but if you’ve read our reviews thus far, we hope you’ve realised that this is a special gem worth owning up to this point alone. Sure, it might all just be a delicious lead up to a final slice of cake that is riddled with dead flies and broken glass, but we’ve thoroughly enjoyed every mouthful so far, and would gladly eat it again.

critical score 7

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Written by Anthony H

Anthony has been playing games for far too much of his life, starting with the MS-DOS classic Mario is Missing. Since then his tastes have evolved to include just about anything, but his soft spot lies with shooters and the odd strategy game. Anthony will inspire you with his prose, uplift you with his wit and lie to you in his biography.

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