When it comes to narrative driven games, you always expect a big pay off for your time invested. Telltale haven’t been in the limelight for that long really, but after proving they know how to end a season with The Walking Dead, hopes are high for The Wolf Among Us after a stellar penultimate episode – but nothing will prepare you for the choices you will face in this finale.
The following review assumes you have played the previous episodes, though spoilers are (as always) kept to a minimum.
Let’s be honest: what you want from a finale is closure, and Cry Wolf provides that – without shutting the door on the series as a whole. The sheer depth of the Fables universe ensures that, if Telltale choose to do so (and here’s hoping they do), this series could run and run.
But what we have here is a fitting close to a sublime opening season. Faced with some of the strongest choices yet, your nerves will be tested as Bigby Wolf – and there are moments that stand out, including the mother of all decisions. There are revelations, and thankfully there isn’t much left unexplained, although there’s a slight question over the very final scene, and you’ll be rewarded if you have a keen eye. There’s a strong argument to be made, also, for the choices on offer here being more important and having more impact than in The Walking Dead.
Illusion of choice was something The Walking Dead did well, but often upon close consideration, the seams would come apart and you’d realise you weren’t much more than a passenger, whereas The Wolf Among Us appears to actually change drastically depending on your actikons. In fact, the finale presents itself as a slight dilemma: as with most story driven games, you don’t often want to replay them, but Cry Wolf suggests there to be drastic differences depending on key decisions made.
To that end, it bares a few playthroughs, and despite being satisfied with the conclusion, there were major sections that had me wondering what the alternative path would lead to. It’s down to personal preference, really, but I felt like I wanted to play it again to fully understand everything, but that might be down to the breakneck pace Cry Wolf plays out at, rather than the way the story is told.
And there are moments in the series that have bugged me. As someone who has read Fables in its entirety, episode five is where the most fan-service lies, some of it subtle; some not so much. There are moments that speak directly to long-term readers, including one specific moment that is just so utterly rewarding, because it genuinely felt like it would never happen.
Cry Wolf wastes little time in getting down to business, either. Telltale dispense with the usual late-credits sequence and put you right back where you ended Episode Four. There are plenty of action sequences, and while In Sheep’s Clothing felt the most like an interactive story of all the recent episodes in Telltale’s library (it was the most gameplay-light to date), the finale puts you firmly back in control of the sheriff.
As with previous season endings, it’s a little shorter than the regular episodes. Clocking in at around an hour, it’s rewarding and satisfying, and there are options for revenge, justice, and humility. What I will say, however, is that the story is dealt with in an incredibly interesting way. It probably won’t be what you’re expecting, but due to the nature of The Wolf Among Us, I can’t really say much without spoiling things. It’s a very cleverly told story, overall.
That said, there were a few technical hitches I didn’t notice in previous episodes on the PC version, including the dreaded slowdown – so much so that I was concerned it had crashed on a few occasions. Obviously your mileage may vary, but it’s likely these issues are due to the volume of previous choices connecting together to the pre-ordained narrative paths, but it’s a shame nonetheless, and takes you out of the universe for a moment.
VERDICT: Telltale’s greatest accomplishment is delivering a worthwhile entry into the Fables cannon, keeping true to the ideals without taking any liberties whatsoever. Even though many fans will already know how the characters end up, The Wolf Among Us manages to be gripping from start to finish – there’s just no real weak point, and Cry Wolf is a fittingly great ending to a fantastic series.
SUPERB. This is the mark of greatness, only awarded to games that engage us from start to finish. Titles that score 9/10 will have very few problems or negative issues, and will deliver high quality and value for money across all aspects of their design.
Review code provided by publisher.