The Wolf Among Us: Episode Three – The Crooked Mile Review
It's not all that easy being the Sheriff of Fabletown. If The Wolf Among Us has taught us anything at all as we get to the halfway point in the storyline it is that Bigby has a pretty tough time of it. Between age-old feuds, prejudices and scheming Fables with their own secret agendas keeping the peace in Fabletown is pretty tough at the best of times and this is far from the best of times.
Thankfully no-one else has been killed off yet but that doesn't mean that it's a happy time for Bigby as he searches for the murderous Fable that has already killed two women and may kill again if Bigby and Snow White can't hunt him down and stop him. In true film noire fashion, things are about to get a whole load worse before they get better.
Telltale seems to have nailed down their ability to convert dark comic book tales into their own brand of compelling interactive fiction off the back of their wildly successful The Walking Dead adaptation and The Wolf Among Us keeps coming up good.
Much of what makes Episode Three of The Wolf Among Us so enjoyable is the subtlty of the interactions. The Crooked Mile gives players a chance to smooth things over with some characters he's rubbed up the wrong way in the previous two episodes before a new and powerful foe steps into the web of murder and deceit that Bigby is trying to unravel.
Fresh off the back of a violent encounter with Beast over a misunderstanding with Beauty outside seedy motel room/murder scene Bigby must calm down enough to visit a funeral where he's not entirely welcome. All of this is to make sure that Snow White is safe.
The storytelling dynamic is beginning to pick up the pace as Telltale has introduced a timed element to gameplay in this episode. Players must race against time to catch up with a suspect who was implicated in evidence Bigby uncovered at the motel, a job made more difficult by the Magic Mirror being damaged when he and Snow return to the Business Office.
There are plenty of important choices to be made and as always some options will be closed off and others opened depending on how players choose to advance Bigby's investigation. This means that there is always a part of the puzzle missing when players come to try and figure out what's going on.
It all builds to a nice crescendo of tension as the final encounter of the episode sees Bigby fighting his toughest opponent yet. This encounter is slightly hampered by an over-sensitive mapping of the thumbsticks. This makes the combat just a little more frantic and fiddly than it needs to be but it's not a total mood-killer.
The Crooked Mile is the middle portion of the story but Telltale has managed to keep the mystery suitably murky so that you still want to pursue the game through to its conclusion in Episode Five. It's a relief to see that Telltale has managed not to drop the ball despite having so many other projects on the go (we count four at the minute including The Wolf Among Us). We just can't wait to find out what happens to Bigby next...