The Wolf Among Us hasn’t been as consistent as the first season of Telltale’s other big ongoing series, The Walking Dead. The overarching mystery has been alternately complicated and underdeveloped, too many of the choices have focused on crafting Bigby without much sense of why this was important, and there’s been very little in the way of meaningful interaction for long, long stretches of the game.
But this season has, in its final episode, really come together into something greater than what it appeared to be for the last three episodes. Here we have an episode that, while not completely paying off on everything that came before it, contextualises the whole experience in a more interesting light. It’s the best episode of the season for sure.
Cry Wolf starts where the last episode ended, right at the cusp of everything properly clicking into place, and spends a great portion of its running time throwing you into action scenes. It’s a more cinematic episode than what came before, making smart use of camera angles and cuts to emphasize the increased stakes and the scale of the action scenes, and the quick-time events play out in genuinely interesting, dynamic ways – at no point in the episode did I die or need to start a section again, but the quick visual penalties for missing difficult prompts really get you invested.
All of this action is exciting because of what it means for the characters and the plot, as the season’s ‘big bads’ are increasingly fleshed out, their motivations and purposes made clear. The mystery is solved, but the answers aren’t quite as interesting as the people and politics behind them, which Cry Wolf really digs into in its second half. The back half of the episode is going to play out quite differently depending on a choice you make midway through, and as the focus shifts to an overarching assessment of where Fabletown is at, and the work Bigby has done, the season starts to make better sense as a whole picture. While The Walking Dead works extremely well with an episodic release structure, The Wolf Among Us is perhaps best played all at once now that every episode is out.
This episode makes better use of its detective elements than any other. There are threads left dangling at the end that aren’t necessarily there to set up a second season, but rather to leave the players wondering and formulating theories. There are also, however, a few moments of narrative convenience or simplification. One exciting action sequence ends in a deus ex machina, one which maybe makes sense to comic fans but which absolutely comes out of nowhere in the episode. There were other parts in the story where I realised that I had lost track of some of the characters, and in the final moments a few of the returning figures break down into their most basic archetypes, stating their exact feelings in black and white terms in that hokey way comic book characters occasionally do.
Overall Cry Wolf is an exciting, successful finale, one that patches over enough of The Wolf Among Us’ problems for us to deem the full season a success. It doesn’t have The Walking Dead’s gut-punch moments, and the absence of traditional point ‘n click puzzles is perhaps a step too far for a game about solving a mystery, but right at the end the season came together as an effective study of these characters, and how their choices and beliefs have affected their community.
James “Jickle” O’Connor is a freelance games critic, journalist and occasional editor, based in South Australia. His favourite game of all time is The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, and he is absurdly, comically rubbish at most fighting games (except for Killer Instinct on the SNES, which was, incidentally, the first game he ever owned). He has huge soft spots for point and click adventure games, third-person shooters, and Deus Ex.
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