XXL’s Game Corner: The Wolf Among Us Episode 3: A Crooked Mile Review
Publisher: Telltale Games
Developer: Telltale Games
Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Release date: Out Now
The unique aspect of reviewing an episodic game is that you can’t judge the whole, so each piece must be considered on its own. The end of the journey which may or may not tie everything together still remains shrouded in mystery until we get there. So if Telltale Games’ A Wolf Among Us was like a TV series, A Crooked Mile would perhaps be the most focused episode of them yet.
A Crooked Mile picks up after the cliffhanger ending from last episode. Bigby Wolf, sheriff of Fabletown, has followed his trail of clues and discovered what looks like proof that the person responsible for the grisly murder of two Fable prostitutes is Ichabod Crane, the Director of Operations and de facto mayor of the Fabletown community. Crooked Mile goes by at a quick pace, revealing some new faces and glimpses at how much deeper the mystery of the murders of two Fables goes. There’s also a greater sense of urgency this time out — timed responses feel tighter, more constricting, while decisions dictate your path more decisively. There are plenty of confrontations in the tension filled Crooked Mile. The game's best sequences are two scenarios involving multiple characters all at rapid-dog levels of frenzy ensuring that blood will be spilled. It feels like this is Telltale’s way of answering the critics who felt the second episode Smoke and Mirrors was a tad bit boring because of too much one-on-one conversation. Although Bigby's appeal as a hard-as-nails sheriff is brought out by those type of moments, the entire Telltale mechanic of choice-driven gaming succeeds best in the pressurized confrontation scenes. It’s a nice touch that even when you think you’re doing the right thing, the ones closest to Bigby seem to be driven further away by his actions. Even Snow, the one person Bigby hoped would stick by him through thick and thin, seems to be repulsed at the sight of him, and it feels like the choices you make are why that happens. You get the feeling that Bigby’s damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t. The fact that he’s in is a race against the clock to try and find out where Ichabod is hiding before he flees for good adds to the tension. The Magic Mirror which reveals the location of any Fable has been smashed, so you can't make use of that device this time around. Bufkin, the winged monkey, overheard Ichabod arranging a meeting with someone after he smashed the mirror, so you must do some old-fashioned detective work by choosing between three potential leads to find out who Ichabod is meeting, and where, as the clock ticks down. The brightest spot of the two-hour excursion is the introduction of Bloody Mary, who delightfully steps through the mirror to butcher you and your friends should you turn out the lights and whisper her name once too many times.
The XXL Endgame
A Crooked Mile sends a much-needed jolt of urgency through the series and represents a new high point in Telltale's twisted take on Fables. While this episode is extremely short and the action feels linear no matter what dark path you take Bigby down, A Crooked Mile delivers a strong transition episode to drive the series toward its next step.—written by DJRhude (@DJRhude)
XXL Rating XL (Excellent)
A Crooked Mile was reviewed spoiler free