The Wolf Among Us Episode 3: A Crooked Mile
First posted on 11 May 2014. Last updated on 16 November 2014.
|The magic mirror is broken!|
|Bluebeard continues to force his way into the investigation.|
|Bigby stands at an investigative crossroad.|
|Bigby uncovers more of Crane's secrets.|
|Tension between Snow and Bigby rises over the course of the investigation.|
The Wolf Among Us
The season is comprised of 5 episodes:
- Episode 1: Faith
- Episode 2: Smoke & Mirrors
- Episode 3: A Crooked Mile
- Episode 4: In Sheep's Clothing
- Episode 5: Cry Wolf
The Wolf Among Us Episode 3: A Crooked Mile lets players in on Bigby's chase to find the corrupt mayor of Fabletown, Ichabod Crane, who is now the prime suspect in the murder and decapitation of Fables after the gruesome revelations of the previous episode. However, like every town in a good noir story, secrets are hidden everywhere, and no leads are what they first seem to be. As such, players will spend the episode unearthing new clues and suspects while in pursuit of Crane, and revelations already established in the previous episodes are thrown into upheaval.
This third episode is the first entry in the series where I feel that my choices truly have some sort of weight—a marked influence on how the game progresses. Previous episodes have passed with scattered mentions of characters either remembering or not remembering Bigby's actions, with no particular consequence at the end of the day. In this episode, however, Bigby has the option of 3 different investigative leads to pursue; he only has enough in-game time to track down 2 leads. While the linear nature of the game ensures that players will receive needed information regardless of the combination of choices made, I feel that the game truly succeeds for the first time in the series in encouraging them to sit back and logically deliberate their course of action, rather than going with kneejerk reactions as the timed choice mechanic which has driven much of the gameplay so far. This episode, therefore, has a significant portion of story that—unless the game is replayed with previous choices removed—players will never experience. On a more existential level, I like the possibility of having situations where Bigby may never experience and conversations which he may never have. It makes the game feel less linear than it actually is, and it is my personal hope that Telltale Games will explore this concept further in its other games.
This episode is also the first entry in the series where I feel that knowledge of the Fables comic universe is actually helpful in understanding Telltale Games' contribution to the series' canon—though again it must be stated that reading the comics still is not mandatory to understanding the game as a whole. The game does a bit of dancing around Snow's past in particular, and while there are enough references (without outright stating actual events, which is perhaps a bit odd, as her past experiences are relevant to the case at hand) that players paying attention will likely be able to infer her previous life before her arrival in Fabletown, knowing the details provided in the comics helps to flesh out her character even more in this episode.
While the titular Crooked Man appears—albeit briefly—in the episode, ostensibly as the game's main antagonist, the episode also introduces the famed urban legend Bloody Mary, his sociopathic sidekick and enforcer. The Crooked Man and Bloody Mary are interesting additions to Fabletown and are characters whom I want to see developed even more as the series progresses. Fabletown is presented as a rundown ghetto of a place, and the general air of its inhabitants—whether former fairy tale protagonist, villain, or ancillary character—is that of depression or anger. Most of the game's characters are defeated. At best, players encounter characters like the Tweedle brothers or Georgie Porgie who get by on acting tough and exploiting others. Suddenly, players are presented with the Crooked Man, who has flourished financially in Fabletown, and his thug Bloody Mary who genuinely seems to thrive in this new alternate reality. It is a fascinating contrast that deserves more than a single passing mention in the remaining episodes—not the least of reasons that it mirrors Bigby's increasingly futile struggle with his inner Big Bad Wolf.
The Wolf Among Us Episode 3: A Crooked Mile represents a bridging chapter in the series. Generally speaking, bridge chapters exist as little more than exposition entries, introducing any necessary new characters into the mix and getting existing characters where they need to be as they make their way towards the finale. While this episode certainly fulfills that requirement, it also balances the exposition nicely with plenty of action and a few choices that may actually have huge consequences in the future (I hope) as well as a final cliffhanger that will keep players waiting impatiently for the next episode.