Developers: Telltale Games
Publishers: Telltale Games
Plot: Bigby and Snow have two hours to catch up with suspected killer, Ichabod Crane, but as the plot thickens, Bigby realises there are darker forces at work…
Last time, we checked in with The Wolf Among Us, it was beginning to suffer from a sense of routine, despite being only two episodes in. Thankfully Episode Three tackles the sense of timing and mystery-solving that we were promised when the project was initially announced. It is a welcome addition and definitely lifts the Wolf Among Us higher than it has been before.
It helps that we are now deep in the story. We left the story realising that Ichabod Crane was using illegal glamours to dress prostitutes up as Snow White (turns out the beheaded woman wasn’t Snow at all, but a disguised prostitute). Bigby, in a fit of rage, chases after Crane, which isn’t helped by the fact, he destroyed the magic mirror that we have been using to solve every case up until now. Therefore, it’s up to the old fashioned way, as Bigby and Snow pull together their avaliable leads and try and figure out who Crane’s contact in the Witch world is, a fact not helped by Bluebeard, who is getting in the way increasingly. On top of that, Tweedle Dee and Dum are back and they are working for someone, who could either be Crane himself or something much worse.
This episode we are back to a good detective drama. This time, the clock is dialled up though, as you race against time to get to Crane, before he manages to disappear altogether. This makes this episode particularly exciting, as the tension is always at a maximum. You want to explore every section of the level, but you become very concious of the ticking clock in the background. Sure, you could go hunting for Easter Eggs in Crane’s bookshelves, but if you are wrong and there is nothing revealing tucked away there, you could lose precious time. There is a point in the game where you are given three potential locations to choose from. You will only have time to explore two of them and on top of that, Bluebeard, who is definitely up to something, announces he will check out the place you don’t have a chance to look at. It is a difficult choice and you really do feel like a Noir detective is oceans out of his league. This is the kind of experience I originally came to the Wolf Among Us for and Telltale Games delivers exceptionally well. This episode definitely makes up for the lacklustre second episode.
I am also enjoying the relationships between all the characters. Snow White is turning into a very intriguing person in this story. Her buddy cop routine with Bigby is interesting and I like the dynamic of it. Telltale plays with our ingrained sense of playing the hero, as White is definitely more than some helpless damsel in distress. There are scenes, where it becomes clear that Snow has a kick to her, especially when she makes some choices that you will probably not agree with. This episode hints that Snow is rearing up to replace Crane, as the head of Fabletown, and she already has some difficult choices to make. The relationship between the two of them is shaken up and after the brutal finale scene I am sure that Episode Four will take some of these ideas even further. Bigby also remains a fantastic character to play. The player will have a chance to either go down the hard-boiled sleuth who only cares about catching Crane or the Sheriff trying to win his community around. I enjoyed portraying Bigby as a man corrupted by his anger, on the verge of Wolfing out at any second. There is also a touching moment when Holly, in a sleepy daze, thinks that Bigby is Woody. She asks what Bigby, or Woody, thinks of the Sheriff and some of Bigby’s possible answers are surprisingly touching. He might be a rough, no-nonsense cop, but at the end of the day, he is trying to do the right thing and the chaos Fabletown is becoming engulfed in is affecting him more than he is letting on.
We are also introduced to a terrific new villain. Just when we think the level has hit its conclusion, one more shock is thrown at you in the form of a great new, female character. She is a different type of nemesis that the forward Tweedle Dum and Dee, cunning, deadly and terrifying. The voice acting is great, spoken with a soft whisper that sends shivers down your spine. Some of the dialogue she comes out with is instantly quotable. She looks like she will be a very important figure in the next two episodes and I am looking forward to how Telltale Games are going to use her.
Final Verdict: Back to the quality we expect, A Crooked Mile is the Wolf Among Us at its best with shocks, twists and some great characters.