The Wolf Among Us, Episode 3: A Crooked Mile Review (Xbox 360)
The life of a detective isn't an easy one, but you'd figure with all the added abilities and powers Bigby Wolf has he'd have an easier go of it. You'd be wrong. Nothing proves this more than the third episode in Telltale's outstanding noir adventure, A Wolf Among Us. A Crooked Mile not only takes a darker bent, it also changes the game dramatically for all the major players.
When last we left Bigby, he had just uncovered some unseemly truths about the head of Fabletown's Business Office, Ichabod Crane. Crooked Mile picks up immediately following last episode's revelations, and puts Bigby on a quest to hunt down Ichabod before any more bodies pile up. Of course, as well-intentioned as Bigby might be (depending on how you're playing), nothing goes as planned. Even when Bigby finally starts getting some leads in the ongoing murder investigation, they end up only telling half the story. For every truth, there are a dozen more questions.
Crafting a narrative this engrossing and twisted isn't easy, but Telltale has managed to turn the genre-spanning drama and action of Vertigo's Fables into one hell of a noir. As avid readers of the comic on which A Wolf Among Us is based, we often found ourselves trying to play the way we thought Bigby would respond based on our experiences reading the comic. The first two episodes, we actually felt pretty successful in crafting decisions based around the characterization of Bill Willingham's and Mark Buckingham's interpretation of the Big Bad Wolf. With Crooked Mile, it wasn't so easy. Emotions were running high in Crooked Mile, and the stakes just seemed more real in this episode. The aftermath of the events in previous chapters finally reached everyone we'd been in contact with, and seeing how the deaths resonated with different characters had us second-guessing our own motivations and responses.
For the first time playing Wolf Among Us, we weighed the potential outcomes of our replies instead of just going with the most "Bibgy" choice available. Relationships with characters took turns we aren't so sure we're not going to regret, but we're still confident we did the right things. Ultimately, everything leads to the major confrontation with the man behind all of Fabletown's current troubles, or more specifically, his henchmen. Tweedle Dee and Dum have been thorns in our side since the start, but the new hired muscle is incredibly intimidating and impressive all at once. Bigby doesn't often match up against legitimate threats, but when he does, you can believe you'll be on the edge of your seat. There are forces out there scarier than the Big Bad Wolf. Now things are getting interesting.
Everything we thought we knew has been thrown to the wind. There's something larger and more dangerous lurking in the shadows. Something that isn't afraid of the Big Bad Wolf. For the first time in The Wolf Among Us, we felt like we were no longer in control of the situation. All the clues line up to point you in one direction, and then suddenly, you find out the thread you've been following is but one of thousands. This is noir storytelling at its finest. Pushed to the brink and facing more unknowns than ever before, A Crooked Mile sets us up for what should be an impressive second half for The Wolf Among Us.
This review was completed using a purchased copy of The Wolf Among Us, Episode 3 for Xbox 360.