The Wolf Among Us: Episode 4 - In Sheep's Clothing Review (Xbox 360)Luke Brown |
With some exceptions, there haven't been very many true noir stories told in video games these past few years. Old PC adventure titles had a few pulp detective tales, but largely, it's been a forgotten genre since the dawn of the PlayStation. Telltale had already shown in the past, with the Sam and Max series, it could deliver a good dime novel detective story. What we didn't know was just how great a noir narrative The Wolf Among Us would become.
Light spoilers for The Wolf Among Us follow, so tread carefully.
Now four chapters into the story of Bigby Wolf and the mysterious happenings in Fabletown, we're finally starting to get a clear picture of just how deep this rabbit hole goes. Of course, in true pulp noir trappings, we still don't know everything there is to know. But after chasing multiple red herrings around New York, we have finally come face-to-face with the being behind all of Bigby's troubles. In a page straight out of Hammett's and Chandler's playbooks, Telltale finally introduces the Crooked Man in grand fashion. The lead-up to the final few minutes is nerve-racking and intense, and if your palms aren't sweating in those brief seconds before that last door swings open, you might just have ice water in your veins.
In Sheep's Clothing may lack the amount of action of previous chapters, though there is a confrontation or two depending on how you play it, it certainly doesn't lack its share of eye-opening moments. This episode's concern mostly lies with digging deeper into the mysterious antagonist lurking in the shadows and his motivations. We also get a better look into the politics of Fabletown. Though we've gotten glimpses of the various classes of citizens' lives before, for the first time we see the ramifications of Fabletown's bureaucracy. Like us, Bigby is seeing the underbelly of the lower class for the first time. However, Bigby has his role to play, and only we can decide just how far we're willing to stretch our moral compasses in response.
Getting to see all the pieces finally fall into place in the fourth episode has been shocking, especially for fans of the Fables comic The Wolf Among Us is based on. This early history of one of Fabletown's darker secrets has given a lot of context to many events that have transpired in the comic series. That said, Telltale has also done an admirable job making The Wolf Among Us an excellent story that stands on its own as well. Having that extra bit of background on the universe gives longtime fans new perspective on smaller moments and cameos, and the seamless integration of nods to future events adds some great depth to an already engrossing story. If The Wolf Among Us is your only experience in this world though, you won't miss a beat.
With just one final chapter remaining, Telltale's The Wolf Among Us has already entrenched itself as one of the most fascinating games of 2014. In Sheep's Clothing is as tremendous a climax as we've seen in any previous noir, and Telltale has done a phenomenal job crafting an edge-of-your-seat thriller in the Fables canon. There's only one episode left, and while we're sad the tale is almost over, the journey to the conclusion has been outstanding.
This review is based on a purchased download of The Wolf Among Us: Episode 4 for the Xbox 360.