The Wolf Among Us: Episode 5 – Cry Wolf
“Cry wolf, woo-ooo, time to worry.” So sang Norwegian pop-mongers A-ha on their 1986 hit single and with this long-awaited finale to Telltale Games’ sleeper series The Wolf Among Us, worrying is at the heart of the experience. As Bigby ‘Big Bad’ Wolf, you’ll worry about the choices you make in this comic-noir send off, but more pressingly, you’ll be worrying about some of the choices you’ve already made, right back to the very first episode all those months ago.
This is the core experience of Wolf; that of choice and repercussion. Actions have consequences for sure, but rather than dole out some immediate punishment for a ‘bad’ decision, Telltale Games series operates in an area of pure grey with no particular right or wrong. Protagonist Bigby slots nicely into this world then, a sheriff with a good heart but a dark past. It’s a trait skilfully passed onto players who may well wish to play good cop throughout the series, but will be sorely tempted to push Bigby’s signature ‘fuck off’ dialogue bubble.
Though routes to Episode 5 will vary, it’s unlikely you’ll be playing as a whiter-than-white Bigby, such is the hard, ‘damned if you do’ junctures Telltale routinely throw at the hard-bitten wolf. As such, you’ll no doubt have some blood on your paws and, if you’ve got a shred of humanity in you, you’ll have given The Beast an extra smack in the chops for being a whiny, victim-playing dick. It’s all been good gory fun for Fabletown’s enigmatic law-man but now all those decisions are coming home to roost.
Cry Wolf continues the top quality writing and acting that’s brought proceedings to this point and adds some action-led, set-pieces that a couple of previous episodes were perhaps lacking. Along with Telltale’s breakthrough series The Walking Dead, Wolf is basically a series of cut-scenes with player-led choice, some quick time events and a smattering of point-and-click cool downs. However, combined with the stylistic comic book look, it’s a breath of fresh air and whilst perhaps not exactly a new genre, it’s certainly a fresh take on things.
Plot-wise there are a couple of lazy clichés, even for a hard-boiled detective tale. A big confrontation takes place in a handy factory maze whilst the final showdown finds all surviving characters gathering in one room for an expository round-up of the whole shebang. However, there’s enough ambiguity, not least from your own decisions, to retain the series’ murky feel and plenty to chew on when the final credits roll.
Though The Walking Dead may have beaten Wolf to the punch, the character building of the latter has easily out-shone the former’s rather drippy hero, Lee. In short, you’ll want to be Bigby, in some fucked up way, and with Wolf as a whole, you can be him again and again, with differing outcomes each time. With Game of Thrones and Borderlands on the way, things are looking promising for Telltale fans, but whether the developers return to Fabletown or not, The Wolf Among Us has gone out with the bang the series deserves.