Telltale’s games have been recently a constant happening at my place… I not only have gone through Season Two of The Walking Dead, but it was quickly followed by episode 1 of Tales from the Borderlands and the entire season of The Wolf Among Us, after skipping the unknown-to-me Game of Thrones (because yes, there are people who don’t watch this show!).
Somehow I feel that if I have to pick the weakest link out of the quartet of TWD-TFTBTL-GOT-TWAU games, I’d pick this one probably. Don’t get me wrong, I do not say it’s a bad game (cause it isn’t!), but it can be looked at as a somewhat abstract title, which while having that touch of Telltale, it still isn’t as immersive as the ending of the first season of TWD’s was. It’s just a bit… held back, I think.
Being held back shouldn’t be called a mistake – the game of the world isn’t real (because where else would we see an actual talking frog?), but I have to add that only Game of Thrones is as close to that as possible out of the four beforementioned titles.
So the main character is Bigby Wolf – he’s a Fable, which gives him the ability of being practically undefeatable -, who’s able to turn into a wolf, and he will actually need his skills in this story. As the sheriff of Fabletown, he has to roll up a pretty serious case, where not only everything isn’t as it seems, but also not all characters are on our side as they seem. This will eventually rear its ugly head at the end of episode two in a pretty shocking form.
…Speaking of episodes; I think the first two out of the five are very slow. This also lies behind the labeling of being held back – they don’t really offer much surprises to make us cling into our chairs, but it will quickly change from the third episode. The glamour will quickly spin the story up a few notches, in which our face will be full of shotguns courtesy of the Tweedle twins, or I could say that Crane is putting a healthy sum of cash into the pockets of a character, who turns out to be the one that pulls all strings behind the scenes in the beginning. It’s Crooked Man, who ordered killing Lily and Faith, he hired the twins to be his… should I say, headhunters, and this applies for Bloody Mary as well – so yeah, we can clearly say that he is knee deep into this situation.
Decisions, decisions, decisions…
…but props where due, Telltale has pulled off a surprising move in the end, because we get to decide what happens to Crooked Man! This doesn’t automatically mean that he gets to die, if we want to spare him, it’s possible. The ending also depends on us, and I have to state it right here: SPOILERS INCOMING.
So if we leave him alive, Crooked Man will want us to show evidence, followed up by an attack from him. Here, we get to decide about his outcome: we can either get him arrested (makes sense, he attacked us, making that a valid reason to throw him behind bars), kill him or throw him off. There’s also another decision in the end when Nerissa meets us. She informs us about her role in all this, putting that Faith head onto the doormat in the beginning. „You are not as bad as everyone says you are”! She runs off and we can either follow her, or stay put…
Something is lacking
The ending made me scratch my head – it didn’t really implicate that it will get a sequel by Telltale. Who knows… – they already announced season three of The Walking Dead (getting a new angle as they say… possibly a return of Glenn?), and not to mention the launch of the Borderlands and Game of Thrones series.
What doesn’t lack is the classic Telltale-style presentation. They already perfected the timing of dialogues and action scenes, which are nicely mixed up with the discovery – or in this case, the detective – scenes… however, which does lack in this case is the feeling of the Fables’ world. Although I haven’t played the GoT game (BadSector will talk about it, he at least watches the series!), but I think that is perfectly made into game format as well. This game however, felt empty for the first three-four hours.
This is the problem: the story starts very slowly. If they could have made a much more dynamic start, then those four starts might be four and a half, but it stays as it is. If you know the world of Fables, then I can definitely recommend this game for you, otherwise I’d prefer the first episode of the GoT/BL games, or the first two seasons of TWD. Too bad… but it’s still not bad. It’s still worthy of a purchase.
+ Still has the genius of Telltale
+ Bigby’s character is written nicely
+ …the story does pick up eventually
– The story needs time to start
– Missing the feeling of the original
– To be continued?
Editor: Telltale Games
Developer: Telltale Games
Genres: adventure, action, investigation
Publication: 2014 November (PS4 version)