Review: The Wolf Among Us: Episode 5

As this review covers the last episode of a long series, it’s more or less unavoidable that the following text will be spoiler-laden. If you’re still not sure whether The Wolf Among Us is worth purchasing, then yes, it absolutely is. Whether you’re a fan of narrative games in general or the Fables universe in particular, this is one title you can’t afford to miss.

For all their fantastic huff (and puff) and bluster, Fables arcs have a tendency to end on decidedly mundane notes. Power shuffles around, people cope with loss, and eternal life goes on. Such is the case with the final chapter of the Wolf Among Us, which opens on a tense standoff between Fabletown’s Sheriff and its most vicious mob boss, and ends with a quiet goodbye between friends — or, depending on your choices, a less quiet one between enemies.

 2014-07-09_00006

At the end of In Sheep’s Clothing, we finally met the insidious Crooked Man. In Cry Wolf we find that, true to his name, he is a twisted man in both mind and body. At first, he tries to win Bigby over with fine words and gifts. Then he offers the wolf a scapegoat for the brutal murders that started this whole mess. It was pimp Georgie Porgie who beheaded Faith and Lilly, but it takes just one look at the snivelling coward to know he’d never make that move without The Crooked Man’s go-ahead.

When talks inevitably break down, the villain declares he doesn’t care much for negotiation anyway. “Why negotiate when you can just decide?” Bloody Mary steps out of a mirror, the goons bear down on Bigby, and in short order all hell breaks loose. The wolf is unleashed – though how far he’ll go is ultimately up to you.

This is the climax The Wolf Among Us has been building up to, and boy, does it ever pay off. Scene after action packed scene flashes by, each more intense than the last. Along the way, every loose thread of the mystery is tied up: the nature of the curse that kept the Pudding and Pie girls quiet, the reason Faith and Lilly ended up dead in the first place, and who it was that left Faith’s head on the woodland steps.

 2014-07-09_00012

Each villain gets a satisfying conclusion to their respective arc, with the exception of the Jersey Devil and the Tweedles. Georgie and Vivian serve penance for the harm they’ve done to their girls, though you ultimately get to decide whether they’ve atoned with the truth. In a pulse-pounding battle, Bloody Mary shows herself to be a formidable destructive force – and is subsequently blown away by the force of nature that is Bigby’s true form. For fans of the comics, it’s a treat to see the full fury of the Big Bad Wolf unleashed.

Instead of fighting you, The Crooked Man tries to twist himself out of trouble. Bigby can choose to end it then and there, or drag him back to Fabletown to stand trial. In front of the Witching Well, the denizens of Fabletown conduct a tribunal to determine his guilt in the murders, and in corrupting their community with his criminal conduct. He tries to turn every one of your indiscretions against you and sway the people in his favour – Telltale games love confronting you with your worst choices, after all. Depending on the path you’ve taken through the game, you’re given a few options for how to deal with the crook, though naturally none of them will leave everyone satisfied.

 2014-07-09_00008

We also get some closure with some of the game’s supporting cast. Mr. Toad and his son are shipped off to The Farm, along with Colin depending on your decisions. TJ’s final farewell to the woodlands and Snow White prove that Melissa Hutchinson can tug at your heartstrings in just about any child role, warts and all. Lastly, Bigby has words with Narissa, who thanks him for all that he’s done for the girls of the Pudding and Pie. There are hints that she might have history with the Wolf, and the game’s final decision regarding her is interesting, especially given Bigby’s current standing with Snow in the comics.

There’s clearly a wide variety of ways this last chapter can shake out, and the decisions you’ve made over the course of your investigation can drastically alter the potential outcomes. Telltale has made good on their promise of a dynamic, branching narrative, and the various outcomes promise to have knock-on effects in future episodes. If I have to guess, I’d wager that the next season will focus on the denizens of The Farm, and Bigby’s behaviour toward Mr. Toad and Colin in particular will shape the course of his future adventures. Of course, that’s assuming that the next season doesn’t cast us as a different Fable – perhaps one who’s actually allowed on The Farm.

2014-07-09_00014

Closing Comments:

Cry Wolf serves as a satisfying conclusion to The Wolf Among Us, delivering on all the promise that previous episodes held. Telltale’s original characters and plot fit perfectly into Bill Willingham’s brilliant world, and every Fables fan will be satisfied with this expansion of the series’ lore. I am absolutely happy with how this season turned out, and I absolutely can’t wait to see where Telltale takes things next.
score4.5
Version Reviewed: PC