The Wolf Among Us Episode 4: In Sheep's Clothing
First posted on 24 November 2014. Last updated on 24 November 2014.
|Bigby is in bad shape.|
|Snow makes a tough decision.|
|Nerissa is a reluctant witness.|
|Bigby is disgusted by Beauty and Beast's once lavish lifestyle.|
|The case is much larger than Bigby has previously suspected.|
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
It is clear by now that Bigby is in a dire predicament, having just been bested by the Crooked Man's right-hand thug, Bloody Mary. Further, Ichabod Crane has been taken away from Bigby by the Crooked Man, who has spun a complex web around Fabletown and uses his vast financial resources to keep its citizens under his thumb. As the game begins, Bigby is seen on the mend in his apartment arguing with Snow, taking part in the first of many lengthy dialog sequences found within this ill paced and exposition filled episode.
The Wolf Among Us Episode 4: In Sheep's Clothing introduces yet another character into the Fables universe—the Jersey Devil. While Bigby has an interesting fight scene with him near the end of the game, his overall presence in the plot is negligible at best, as the character is relegated to being just another goon working for the Crooked Man. At this point in the game's plot, the Jersey Devil feels more like padding than any sort of character who adds to the overall story. Similarly, Bloody Mary—despite her bloody excellent introduction in the previous episode—is barely present here, though various dialogs are quick to remind players that she is the most dangerous threat to Bigby outside of the Crooked Man. A few other characters are also introduced, whose purpose in relation to this season's overarching narrative has yet to be determined. These include the Butcher (but not the Baker or the Candlestick Maker) and Tiny Tim, though the latter has been seen as a nonspeaking character in previous episodes. The introduction of these new characters so late in the season is a puzzling choice, since none of them are presented as suspects of the murder of Fables that has been driving this season's main story.
My biggest disappointment with this episode, however, is the step back in the choices being offered to players. In the third episode, players are tasked to pick 2 of 3 avenues for Bigby to pursue in his investigation. While the overall plot development remains the same no matter which choices are made, each of the avenues chosen by Bigby has provided interesting additional character development and side plot integration. In contrast, this fourth episode has a singular split path that offers a choice of 2 locations to explore. If players pick the correct location to start with, they are also able to explore the remaining location afterward. Not satisfied enough to just leave players to guess, however, the game's ancillary characters are quick to overtly state the order by which these locations are needed to be investigated. It is a new level of handholding in an already simple and linear game.
That is not to say that this episode has little redeeming value. The game still drips with moody atmosphere. The writing is wonderful as usual. The overall mystery remains intriguing and has branched off into a few interesting related side investigations. The writers have done an excellent job portraying Bigby's continuing downward spiral, throwing him into darker situations than players have seen him encounter before. Like before, Bigby makes life or death decisions that directly impact on other characters. While these decisions play to the usual "nice sheriff / big bad wolf" trope, they now carry a little more weight as the current season is drawing to a close. At a particular point, Bigby literally determines the fate of a few characters in Fabletown—allowing them to continue living in this new society or shipping them off to the internment camp (known as The Farm). Beyond this, the writers further delve into the dichotomous nature of Bigby—or really any fairy tale villain—in a civilized modern society. Does he follow his animalistic instincts that are tinged with violence? Or does he take the diplomatic approach instilled in him by Snow and demanded of him by the new world? The game provides plenty of opportunities for Bigby to revert to his old nature, though the eventual consequences may not be apparent until the end.
Ultimately, The Wolf Among Us Episode 4: In Sheep's Clothing feels little more than a stall for time before the last episode for this season. Still, I have hope that my worries will be assuaged in the much anticipated finale, with tighter storytelling and a return to the form displayed earlier in the season.