Bigby might have been angry in the previous episode of The Wolf Among Us, A Crooked Mile, but he's exhausted in the latest installment of In Sheep's Clothing. In his search to solve a series of murders, the poor wolf has been through a lot and he really needs a nap after being shot a few times and almost decapitated by an ax-wielding Bloody Mary. Not as smooth or focused as its predecessors in Sheep's Clothing, but before Telltale wraps up the Fables prequel with the final episode, it's a satisfying filler.
In Sheep's Clothing, a ton of new characters are not introduced to players, and every name listed is recognizable. The Crooked Man was revealed to make life even more difficult for the desperate citizens of Fabletown as the scummy credit shark. Following Snow's decision to surrender Crane into the custody of Bloody Mary to save Bigby's life, the best lead from the sheriff is no longer an option.
Bigby's wounds are serious, but they don't seem to be slowing him down too much. You can still choose to approach characters and fight as aggressively as possible, but I tried to remain calm for the sake of keeping with my playthroughs of previous episodes. Dialogue choices are still there and which place to visit first, but I have constantly realized that my decisions are not really important overall.
Once upon a time, I didn't wonder if I made the right choice because I knew I was going to end up in the same place, find what I needed, and have the same conclusion as everyone else. I visited there first because the Lucky Pawn was run by the Jersey Devil, a myth from my home state.
I had a short-lived QWERTY-esque battle with the Jersey Devil himself, after arguing with Jack about whether or not the Woodsman's ax had been there for Bloody Mary to use as she pleased, and consequently discovering that it was, of course. I knew I was going to end up at The Cut Above, Johann's butcher store where Bloody Mary set up shop, so I spaced out, admittedly, while the Jersey Devil rambled about it.
I hate to say that, but with the exception of Bigby and the little mermaid turned stripper and prostitute Nerissa, I don't like how the other characters turn out. Snow White has gone from the world's soft-spoken, but interesting side-player to the no-nonsense deputy mayor. She orders him to complete the book investigation after Bigby's near-death experience; and in a world where no one else is following the rules, it's a crippling limitation and the first thing that made me want to let out my inner wolf was her unwavering demands.
I understand that Telltale is limited in a story that is needed to lead to certain advances for Fabletown citizens, but Snow's sudden transition from a meek, law-abiding assistant to a woman in charge feels unnatural. Snow isn't the only fable about which I suddenly have mixed feelings. Beauty and Beast went from knowledge to whiny, privileged royalty whose refusal to accept their step down from the homeland in stature has put them in a dangerous situation and makes them unlikeable.
It's their behavior, and not so subtle hints that the only way to fix a situation they put themselves in is to kill the Crooked Man by Bigby, which made my patience with other fables run out.
Everything is Bigby's fault, and by being the nice guy or resorting to the behaviors that alienated the sheriff in the first place, I feel stuck trying to appease everyone.
So far, I have maintained my composure, but I regret not playing the wolf as the violent, sarcastic being he could be. By being that nice guy, there is no reward or pay-off. The others still blame their problems on Bigby and expect him to fix them. I've learned a valuable lesson in Sheep's Clothing; sometimes, no matter how hard you try, it just won't be good enough.
After finding the missing piece of mirror shard that Crane had taken to avoid being discovered, Bigby is naturally confronted by the very man he was looking for, and it's oddly anticlimactic.
I'm not sure if it's because I feel defeated by my attempts to be nice, or that I don't feel like my decisions carry a lot of weight in a decision-based game. It may be because The Wolf Among Us is intended to be an investigation, but it does not provide any meaningful detection.
I don't feel like I'm in the process of solving a crime, and I don't feel like I did much other than trying to appease unpleasant characters, even if it was a pseudo sense of my imaginary detective skills. I wanted to feel like a member of a CSI team, brilliantly deducting the motive behind the murders with a tense face-off with the criminal perpetrating them, instead of trying to prove myself to no avail, I feel like all my time has been spent.
Episode 4: In Sheep's Clothing, the Wolf Among Us is the weakest episode of the title so far.
And I have little desire left to solve the problems of Fabletown, apart from stunning graphics and playing as one of the few sympathetic characters. Living citizens do not deserve it, and my need to find justice for the victims is the only thing that keeps me from tearing them apart like a wolf. I hope Bigby gets the conclusion and appreciation he has earned from the fifth and final episode, but the fourth episode is nothing more than filler for now.
What's Not So Good:
- Lack of game shifting choices
- Unappreciative side characters may cause players to wonder why they even bother.
- Filler episodes