Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Wolf Among Us Review (PS Vita)

Unleash your animal instinct in 'The Wolf Among Us'
Written by Drei Medina


Everyone is afraid of the big bad wolf, or so they say in children's bedtime stories.
But what if these stories your parents read you during your youth were given a creative twist that still makes it familiar yet at the same time refreshingly new?
The Wolf Among Us is an interactive action-RPG game with an episodic storyline focusing on point and click gameplay with a detective feel to it.
The game is based on the “Fables” fantasy graphic novel series from Bill Willingham which features fairy tales in a twisted and more mature rendition dwelling on the darkside of human nature.
Its story revolves on how “Fables” or fairytale characters migrate to the real world in upscale New York City which they call Fabletown and live normal lives with human society to get by each day.
You get to play the role of Red Riding Hood's infamous antagonist, the big bad wolf now known as the 'reformed' Bigby Wolf who functions as the feared sheriff of Fabletown.
As Bigby, you try to erase your violent past from the memories of other Fables as you attempt to earn their trust through solving Fabletown crime.
But badluck catches up with Bigby as he tries to sniff the trail of the mastermind behind a chilling double murder case where two Fables fell victim to.

Seamless story
As a Tell Tale Games production which usually banks on a strong story, the plot of The Wolf Among Us is excellent and has no flaws.
Everything about it is masterfully done especially how each Fable's individual fairy tale is strung with other Fables' stories and then weaved to fit into a real world setting.
The strong story is backed by supporting factors including fascinating characters, engaging dialogue and a thrilling plot to boot.
Among the cast of fascinating characters is of course Bigby, who at times struggles with his violent nature when dealing with suspects of the case. He very much reminds me of Wolverine of the X-Men with his rough and rugged attitude.
Other characters include Snow White, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, The Woodsman, The Three Little Pigs, Ichabod Crane and other fairy tale artifacts such as the magic mirror and the magic lamp.
The charm of these characters is multiplied by smooth dialogue which throws in healthy dozes of expletives every now and then to keep things realistic.
On top of this, the voice over work for all the characters also gives that much needed kick that brings them to life.
An interesting fact to know would be that Bigby Wolf and The Woodsman share the same voice actor in Adam Harrington.
Adam Harrington is a veteran video game voice actor since 2001 and also voiced some characters in Tell Tale Games' “The Walking Dead”.
As for the plot, it's pretty much constructed in a way that gives you a sense of familiarity with Fables even though you've only seen them for the first time.
There are also extremely moving cliffhangers after each episode that makes you want to jump right in the next chapter to find out what's going to happen.
But the best part about it is it's almost impossible to predict what happens next which always gives something to look forward to when playing the game.

Gameplay
The Wolf Among Us is composed of five episodes with at least five chapters each. Episodes can be completed in roughly two hours which is a bit short but still satisfying.
Its gameplay is pretty much a point and click interactive scheme where you progress to the next chapter after exploring the area and triggering various character conversations.
At times, you will be forced into heart pumping fight scenes where you must react quickly to action inputs to keep your ass from being beaten up.
The game also remembers your choices during dialogues with other characters and in major decision making scenes, both of which then affects how the story unfolds.
Meanwhile, the visual style for The Wolf Among Us is consistently rendered in rough yet sharp illustrations that remain faithful to the original designs of the Fables graphic novel.
The sound department also helps players get immersed into the game with engaging music that always plays with great timing during the most appropriate scenes.
However, the game suffers from a similar technical hiccup with other Tell Tale Games productions on the Vita: There's always a problem with scene trasitions ranging from a mini lag to an annoying delay.
There are also numerous slow loading times especially during the latter part of the game accompanied by occasional lagging during autosave.

Fortunately for The Wolf Among Us these are not game breaking but these definitely reduce the immersive experience the game offers.

The verdict: 9.5/10 [must play]

The Wolf Among Us is an interactive action-RPG game with an episodic storyline based on Bill Willingham's Fables graphic novel. Story-wise, the game is a masterpiece with excellent supporting elements including fascinating characters and a thrilling plot that gets players hooked.
Its only problem is scene transition glitches such as lag and delays which it shares with other Tell Tale Games productions on the Vita reducing what should have easily been a perfect immersive gaming experience.

Pros:
+ Seamless, unique story
+ Fascinating characters
+ Thrilling scenes
Cons:
- Scene transition lag
- Slow loading times
- Occasional autosave delays

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