The following review assumes you have played the previous episodes, though spoilers are (as always) kept to a minimum.
The Wolf Among Us has gone from strength to strength with each passing episode. Gritty stories based upon fairytale characters have been doing the rounds for quite some time now – including Telltale’s source material, Fables – but the studio famed for a buddy cop duo and a (sort of) parental relationship have taken Bill Willingham’s comic series and brought it to life, beautifully. Episode four: In Sheep’s Clothing doesn’t just match past efforts in the season – it surpasses them.
While episode three was all about establishing the supporting cast members and the relationship between Bigby and Snow – and it did both in a wonderful fashion – episode four is Bigby’s time to shine. Getting more and more aggravated with his investigation slip-ups, The Big Bad Wolf is now relentless in his approach to the investigation. There have been glimpses of this throughout the series such as the torture scene in episode two and the closing scene in episode three, but this time ‘round, Adam Harrington’s Bigby Wolf is not letting The Crooked Man slip away again.
Of course, the allure of the studio’s games is that they are choice based. However, even with some more gentle options on offer, the natural narrative progression is that the Sheriff is coming to the end of his tether – this is evident in the cutscenes where you don’t have any dialogue options. For example, there was one moment where I walked into a building and I had the choice to light a cigarette, or not smoke. The option to not stress your lungs is there, but it just feels right that the gruff cop would buck the system and satiate his nicotine desires. As Bigby Wolf, Harrington is nothing short of outstanding and it’s difficult to come up with new ways to praise his performance. Sublime.
One thing that has been handled with a great deal of care in every episode of The Wolf Among Us is the introduction of new characters. As this is episode four, In Sheep’s Clothing would be foolish to throw a host of new allies and villains in your face, and thankfully it doesn’t do that. It does, however, allow us to meet a few new faces that are subtle departures from what we’ve seen already this season. One particular personality makes a very lasting impression as he takes Bigby Wolf to his limit in the best action scene offered up thus far. Sure, death isn’t that punishing in a Telltale Games joint, but there are definitely moments in the aforementioned battle where your suspension of disbelief kicks in and you begin to feel every punch given and taken by the protagonist.
The dip actually comes from two very early arrivals in The Wolf Among Us’ setting, 1980’s New York – Beauty and Beast. Beast may eclipse Bigby in terms of size, but in terms of believability, The Wolf wins, hands down. Gavin Hammon’s vocal performance feels forced and when he’s playing the meathead, it’s out of place. The quality of those surrounding him make this even more evident.
As we’ve made note of previously, technically, our problems with Telltale titles are getting fewer and fewer. Reviewed on PC, In Sheep’s Clothing was virtually free of any hitches. Once or twice, I was left on loading screens for longer than I would have hoped, but these issues are thankfully becoming a thing of the past. Add to that the fact that less than two months have passed since Episode Three: A Crooked Mile and it appears the developer is making a concerted effort to make their scheduling problems a thing of the past.
VERDICT: Questions have been asked and we can now take solace that satisfying solutions are being given. Snow and Bigby’s exchanges are very brief as The Sheriff focuses on getting answers that have eluded him since the beginning of The Wolf Among Us. Bigby excels in what is the most action-packed offering yet and will leave you wanting more. In Sheep’s Clothing ends on one of the best cliffhangers you could imagine.
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.