Mington

The Wolf Among Us

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I just wrapped up Episode 3. My non-spoiler-y impressions are that I'm still really enjoying the series, and I find myself caring less and less if they work in action sequences. I still kind of like playing detective as Bigby, even if that mostly amounts to "walk around this room and click all the interactive bits" but it still feels like I'm a wolf detective on a mission. The writing is still strong, and I think it is doing a good job of carving out its own space in the Fables universe.

 

I spent most of the episode thinking to myself, "well of course Crane didn't do it" and was a little frustrated that it didn't give the option for Bigby to even consider that possibility. I know part of my thinking comes out of knowing that this is episode 3/5 and we aren't going to meet the real big bad just yet, but really there was nothing incriminating at the crime scene (at least incriminating in terms of the murder). In spite of that, it seems like the story is going some cool directions. Bloody Mary was appropriately creepy, and I like the focus on "The Crooked Man" who I don't think existed in the comics if I remember correctly. 

 

The one complaint I could raise is about the major choices you make throughout the episode. I don't remember if it was Jake and Sean or someone else at Telltale who mentioned this about The Walking Dead, but somebody stated at some point that it was a goal to make sure that there would be a pretty even split between each choice offered, and if the graph at the end of an episode showed that 90% of players picked one thing, it was probably a mistake on their part. At the end of this episode, I made the majority choice in every instance, with the exception of the "where do you go first" thing that this series seems to do every episode. I think partially that is because I was thinking about what Bigby would do based on my knowledge from the comics, but really there did seem to be more clearly "right" choices than in past episodes or in The Walking Dead. That doesn't mean I'm not enjoying the series. I really am. I just wish there was a bit more ambiguity about some of the decisions.

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I can't remember the exact quote, but I think they tried to aim for 50% split in choices, except for when they didn't. When I beat Episode 3, the last, major choice was almost exactly 50%. The rest were much more unbalanced. My guess is that they tried to get that last choice much more even and the rest they didn't care as much about. Though of course I have no idea.

 

By the way, they did a terrific job building you up to kill Dum. I think most people usually play the non-violent good-guy types, like I do, but when I played that scene I really had to bring myself down in order to not kill him. From what I've heard a lot of other people had the same experience or just killed him in a violent rage. Really well done.

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I just finished the episode myself. It was nice to see Flycatcher, it's the one character from the comics I remember (I don't know why though) and...

 

Yeah, I'm pretty sure it was some else with an Ichabod glamour on them and unless the next episode reveals someone else I guess it's Blackbeard, unless the game is trying to mislead me... again.

 

Is the Crooked Man the one from the poem? I thought Fables were only as "powerful" as their story, who even remembers that four lines of rhyme? For a moment I thought they meant "Old Scratch".

So it's obvious Dee & Dum worked for him the whole time, but it's kinda contrary to their own logic to see such an unimportant Fable being probably the more powerful Fable of them all, next you'll tell me it was Mary Mary Quite Contrary who committed the murders.

 

Who knows, maybe that's why he hired Bloody Mary, since he's not a powerful Fable, he needs protection, but then, why would Bloody Mary work for such a Fable anyway? How the hell did he become the Kingpin with Bluebeard around? From Bigby's comment it seems like he could be just a loan shark, but it still bothers me that such a powerful creature appeared out of nowhere and it still seems like Bluebeard would want to have all the loan sharks under his control.

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Things in a spoiler tag.

 

I think the Crooked Man is going to be a less powerful Fable who has carved out a place for himself in the underground of the new world since he doesn't have power in the main economy of Fabletown. If he doesn't have magic or influence by being as widely known as Crane, Bigby, or Snow, he can make his own way through loan sharking, extortion, prostitution, etc.

They seem to be hitting the theme of inequality pretty hard since the first episode with Donkeyskin. I think this is headed in the direction of some of the lesser-known fables wanting to destabilize the government of Fabletown to seize power from the better-remembered characters. Just a guess, but thematically that seems like where they are headed.

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Just wrapped up episode 3. I liked it a lot more than episode 2. Spoilers time:

 

I think they did a good job in this one making the decisions feel like they had weight. I especially liked feeling like Snow and I were in the combative/cooperative mix that characterizes relationships when you are each trying to do what you think is best, but you don't agree on that. I find myself thinking, I like Snow, I want to agree with her, but I can't give up my own perspective when I think it's really the best decision. Ultimately, what this game is missing (and probably can't fix in the format) is the ability to have a conversation and unpack your conflicting points. You either have to agree with Snow and does what she wants, or piss her off and do what you think is right, and neither side gets to say where they are coming from.

 

The only thing I disliked was Bloody Mary. You need a really strong actor to pull off a villain like her. She basically only speaks in condescension. These characters tend to piss me off because even within the personalities of Fabletown she seems unreal, a cartoon villain. She's also the first female antagonist the game has had, so it seems unfair that all the men are characters yet she's a caricature.

 

For a better example of this kind of character, I would point to Boyd Crowder of Justified. His character is still unreal, but I think the actor is strong enough to pull it off. I don't think video games ever pull off these personalities, though.

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I just beat the chapter today and:

 

The Jersey Devil? Cryptids count as Fables now? I guess if an urban legend like Bloody Mary is OK, the Jersey Devil should be too...

 

I didn't like that the butcher thought I would treat him like the Jersey Devil, my Bigsby is mostly a good guy in this playthrough, I guess it's one of those parts were it doesn't matter how you act.

 

I choose to talk to the Crooked Man, but I doubt anything will change, did anybody take the ribbon off the Little Mermaid girl? I don't think I want to know what would happen, I guess I'll get a speech about how he's helping by giving jobs, but after seeing the chains and ribbons, he can't talk himself out of this.

 

I took Crane's money hoping it would help someone later, I'm surprised the game didn't let me give it to Toad for a glamour, I guess this is more the final episode...

 

I think Crane's money is the only one I've taken so far, although maybe i took it from a crook in some other episode? I don't remember. I think the game did let you take money from more honest people in other episodes.

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I just beat the chapter today and:

 

The Jersey Devil? Cryptids count as Fables now? I guess if an urban legend like Bloody Mary is OK, the Jersey Devil should be too...

 

I didn't like that the butcher thought I would treat him like the Jersey Devil, my Bigsby is mostly a good guy in this playthrough, I guess it's one of those parts were it doesn't matter how you act.

 

I choose to talk to the Crooked Man, but I doubt anything will change, did anybody take the ribbon off the Little Mermaid girl? I don't think I want to know what would happen, I guess I'll get a speech about how he's helping by giving jobs, but after seeing the chains and ribbons, he can't talk himself out of this.

 

I took Crane's money hoping it would help someone later, I'm surprised the game didn't let me give it to Toad for a glamour, I guess this is more the final episode...

 

I think Crane's money is the only one I've taken so far, although maybe i took it from a crook in some other episode? I don't remember. I think the game did let you take money from more honest people in other episodes.

 

My Bigby is a pretty alright guy too, but I think the idea is that he has a bad reputation going a couple centuries back, so a more recent pattern of reform isn't going to change anyone's mind too quickly.

I did the same thing with Crane's money. I figured I'd have to chance to use it to help somebody out, but the opportunity never came up.

Does it seem like the choices you make as Bigby aren't really doing too much to shape the story? I think part of the idea is that he's in over his head and that the Crooked Man holds all the power, but at the same time, I don't know if things really would have gone differently if I went to the Pawn Shop first.

I'm starting to suspect that your choices will come back to you in a final scene like in The Walking Dead where a character will list all the terrible things you did back to you. So, it will be like "You think you're such a good guy, sheriff, but why did you take Crane's money for your self!"

Overall, the episode wasn't bad, but it was just setting up the final act. That's OK, but my overall impression of the game is really going to come down to the strength of the last episode.

 

Also, they made it pretty obvious that Narissa smokes Shorette cigarettes. I see what they did there.

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She smokes them. for the same reason Bigby smokes Huffn'puff cigarettes.

 

Am I the only one who hoped to see some Banang in the drink section of the Butcher's shop?

 

I really hope they don't do the Walking Dead thing... Although in a world of magic it would be more plausible that the Crooked Man would know everything you did.

 

Can you get information from the Jersery Devil without fighting him? Apart from the Tweedle brother I spared, the rest must want to rip me to shreds.

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I went to the Pawn Shop second, and when I got there, he was already fighting the Woodsman. Maybe the fight is just inevitable?

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Episode 5 is out today, and I just finished it up. I don't have too many non-spoiler thoughts on it other than to say that I ultimately ended up feeling pretty indifferent toward the game. I didn't actively dislike my time with the last episode, but most of the major plot beats were expected, the action scenes more tedious than exciting, and the Telltale formula seems to be increasingly...formulaic.

 

So much of what was going to happen seemed inevitable. Of course you needed to fight Bloody Mary. Of course there would be a trial. Of course the Crooked Man was going to use your past transgressions to try to sway the crowd against you. Of course Narissa shows up in the last minute, now able to speak, and provides the damning piece of evidence. And Of course that evidence is fabricated because they just needed to have that "one more thing" twist at the end.

The Bloody Mary fight just felt really rote. It went on for a long time, which I suppose was meant to make you feel Bigby's arduous struggle against an overwhelming opponent, but really it was just tiresome. Also, the fact that she did not once try to shoot you like she did before when that was clearly her best defense just felt wrong.


Also, this episode, more than any previous one had me noticing branching dialog that didn't quite fit together that well and places where a stock line came after a dialog tree. For example, there would be a sentence that ends with someone saying, "Bigby," then the next would start with the same person saying, "Bigby."Then there's that line at the end where Narissa's telling you about how great you were and all the good things you did. Then she says, "Well, for better or worse, you sure did change things around here." It just felt kind of sloppy.
 

Again, I don't mean to trash the game. I think it had some good moments, but parts just felt rushed, and others just really showed the seams in the Walking Dead/Wolf Among Us formula. It makes me pretty worried about how it will hold up for Borderlands/Game of Thrones/any other future series.

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I just beat the final episode too and:

 

While I knew we'd fight Bloody Mary, who looked pretty awesome, and that there would be a trial that was reminiscent of the guy remembering what we did in Walking Dead, I did not expect Nerissa to come back and save the day... Can you chase the other car and not end up freeing Nerissa? But I did not expect her to lie. But frankly, I didn't really care, the guy was silver tonguing himself out of the situation....

 

But why did the trial completely disregard the whole Bloody Mary part? Not only does having her under his employ show he's up to no good, he literally ordered Mary to murder Bigby, did he need a witness for that too? Either way, yeah, I don't really care that Nerissa lied, even if he didn't order the murder of the girls, does it matter with the prostitution ring, extortion and all the other things?

 

It's kinda weird that the trial was focusing only on the murders, he still did very shady stuff that he was guilty of, but I guess it would have been too easy if everybody was just: "Yeah, throw him in the Witching Well!"

 

We still don't know what was in the boxes with his symbols and the ending with Nerissa... was it an open ended ending or just the lead up for the next season?

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I just beat the final episode too and:

 

While I knew we'd fight Bloody Mary, who looked pretty awesome, and that there would be a trial that was reminiscent of the guy remembering what we did in Walking Dead, I did not expect Nerissa to come back and save the day... Can you chase the other car and not end up freeing Nerissa? But I did not expect her to lie. But frankly, I didn't really care, the guy was silver tonguing himself out of the situation....

 

But why did the trial completely disregard the whole Bloody Mary part? Not only does having her under his employ show he's up to no good, he literally ordered Mary to murder Bigby, did he need a witness for that too? Either way, yeah, I don't really care that Nerissa lied, even if he didn't order the murder of the girls, does it matter with the prostitution ring, extortion and all the other things?

 

It's kinda weird that the trial was focusing only on the murders, he still did very shady stuff that he was guilty of, but I guess it would have been too easy if everybody was just: "Yeah, throw him in the Witching Well!"

 

We still don't know what was in the boxes with his symbols and the ending with Nerissa... was it an open ended ending or just the lead up for the next season?

 

Yeah, the trial was one of the moments in the game where I was most frustrated with the dialog choices. One of the strengths of The Walking Dead (not to compare the two too much, but I feel like this is relevant here), is that I never really felt like the logical approach to a problem wasn't one of my choices. My options weren't always good, but it seemed like Lee's choices were always laid out for him in the dialog. In The Wolf Among Us, and especially during the trial, I repeatedly felt like the not stupid thing to do wasn't even an option. Like you said, why not bring up Bloody Mary, or call witnesses to the other shady parts of his business? Why not hold him while you gather more evidence, take statements from his crew, etc. A lot of it seems like it was set up to create an incomplete case so there would feel like the threat of the crowd turning against you. Like they planned for that moment and then tried to fit the rest of the details around it.

As far as the open-ended ending, I don't know. I guess it really didn't seem like there was room for another season to me, but if it sells well, there probably will be. As far as I can tell, the season ends with setting up the situation of the early issues of the comic.

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Really? I had the first issue handy and it's about the murder of Red Rose and Prince Charming being a jerk. Nerissa doesn't seem to appear in the comics either. Not to mention the game takes place in the 80's..

 

Maybe they'll be a DLC episode in the 500 days style that connects the game to the comic better?

 

It looks like Nerissa was leaving Fabletown, so maybe there will another episode just focusing on Nerissa? I don't know if it would warrant an extra episode, but the ending makes it looks like Bigby figured out something we didn't, which is kinda frustrating for an ending.

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Really? I had the first issue handy and it's about the murder of Red Rose and Prince Charming being a jerk. Nerissa doesn't seem to appear in the comics either. Not to mention the game takes place in the 80's..

 

Maybe they'll be a DLC episode in the 500 days style that connects the game to the comic better?

 

It looks like Nerissa was leaving Fabletown, so maybe there will another episode just focusing on Nerissa? I don't know if it would warrant an extra episode, but the ending makes it looks like Bigby figured out something we didn't, which is kinda frustrating for an ending.

 

Ok, you're right. Mostly I was thinking about Snow getting into the deputy mayor's office and Colin ending up at the farm, both of which seemed important to me. Then again, Fables happens on such a weird time scale that it's hard to tell how long anything's been going on.

So, the word on other parts of the internet about the ending is something like Nerissa is actually Faith under a glamour or the other way around. I don't really follow either way, but people claim that it is something you could get if you were paying attention, or maybe just played the episodes in quick succession. For me, it's been a while since episode one, so I have a hard time recalling too many details.

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The crooked man spitting your own choices back at you felt a lot better then the equivalent scene in Walking Dead S1, in that it felt like it made sense within the story instead of just a plot device,  but still fuck that guy. Ripped his head of, and now "Fabletown fears the Big bag Wolf". Totally worth it.

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Ok, you're right. Mostly I was thinking about Snow getting into the deputy mayor's office and Colin ending up at the farm, both of which seemed important to me. Then again, Fables happens on such a weird time scale that it's hard to tell how long anything's been going on.

So, the word on other parts of the internet about the ending is something like Nerissa is actually Faith under a glamour or the other way around. I don't really follow either way, but people claim that it is something you could get if you were paying attention, or maybe just played the episodes in quick succession. For me, it's been a while since episode one, so I have a hard time recalling too many details.

Hmm, she did mention that's she's the kind Fable to be forgotten, which is silly to say if you're The Little Mermaid, you have a statue in Denmark, dammit! 

So, maybe she is Faith under a glamour, but thinking about the glamours it seems the change how the work from episode to episode. It seems contrived to say that Nerissa was Faith all along.

 

And what about TJ hearing Ichabod Crane talking like a lunatic at the murder scene in the first episodes, that was never explained...

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I just finished the last episode last night; I finished the whole lot in  9 hours according to Steam. I don't know if it particularly benefitted from episodic format; I look forward to making another run straight through in a few months' time. While I really love the style and atmosphere, it's definitely more of a choose your own adventure than a fully fledged game. Like a lot of people, I was hoping for more of a detective story, but I did enjoy what I got; I do think that the style carried it a long way.

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Just finished it now, I don't really have much to say about the plot that's spoilery to be honest, which is my main problem with the game. The beat by beat story was just going from one event to another really, they offered some interesting choices and situations to try and judge what was best to do but it wasn't really coming together as a whole. It bothered me a lot that I was trying to be a "tough but fair" Bigby and it didn't seem like that really affected people's perceptions much. Certain characters were nice and understanding but I assume they'd be that way regardless of my choices, while most characters just give Bigby shit about how he's got anger issues and doesn't care about anyone.

 

I definitely liked it, the world and the style, but I don't think it really came together as well as it could have. I'm hoping this is a teething problem they can reexamine and focus more on coherence than wider options and interesting events. I do also think I should give them the benefit of the doubt because they seemed to be offering more changes in this, ie. You could have a different plot in an episode if you went to a different place first. Obviously it overall stayed the same but allowing for it to affect how it plays out does add a lot of work.

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I picked up the whole series yesterday and ran through it in a couple sittings.  I absolutely loved the atmosphere the game created, and the plot kept my attention but I felt like it never really pays off.  Without going into spoilers, it seemed to suffer from the developers not really wanting to delve too deep on any particular issue or character.  Also, and this is just something that annoys me in games, is that information traveled around the world at lightning speed.  When something happens to Bigby, it seemed like the very next scene everyone you could talk to already knew exactly what happened without a clear reason how.  I'm not sure as to whether or not this is a good or bad thing, since never really being able to have any privacy seemed like a reasonable motivator of Bigby's anger.  

 

 

I definitely liked it, the world and the style, but I don't think it really came together as well as it could have. I'm hoping this is a teething problem they can reexamine and focus more on coherence than wider options and interesting events. I do also think I should give them the benefit of the doubt because they seemed to be offering more changes in this, ie. You could have a different plot in an episode if you went to a different place first. Obviously it overall stayed the same but allowing for it to affect how it plays out does add a lot of work.

 

I had more or less the same reaction to the game.  I kept wanting it to allow me to go one step deeper, but it seems the developers chose to focus more on story variation than anything else.

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