By: Mike Chen
Note: The Wolf Among Us series looks, sounds, and plays the same from episode to episode. For an examination of those series characteristics, please see our Episode 1: Faith review. This review will only provide an overall score for Episode 3: A Crooked Mile.
A murdered prostitute. A suspect on the run. One angry wolf. The Wolf Among Us’ second episode left us with a major revelation at a grizzly murder scene. Throughout that second episode, gameplay shifted towards interrogation and investigation. The third episode, A Crooked Mile, changes things once again, but this time it just feels like there’s much less of everything to work with.
While the previous two episodes showcased different styles of interaction with the Fables world, A Crooked Mile emphasizes storytelling over gameplay. Each of these episodes clocked in around two hours, and A Crooked Mile feels about 30 minutes shorter than previous episodes, and the interactive elements feel streamlined and less involved.
Long stretches of interactive dialogue aren’t new for these types of Telltale Games, but A Crooked Mile really pushes this style further into more of a Choose Your Own Adventure story rather than a video game. Gameplay segments, when they actually show up, require very little thinking or puzzle-solving intuition — just click on the three or four highlighted areas and talk with whoever happens to be hanging around and you’re done. This does keep the story momentum rolling but ultimately felt like a missed opportunity.
The major gameplay decision comes about halfway through the episode, where you’re presented with three destinations against a deadline — it’s clear that you won’t be able to visit all of them. Perhaps that was Telltale’s decision with this episode, to add tension from time rather than mystery. Unfortunately, it strips the actual game out of gameplay.
I sound like I’m being pretty harsh on A Crooked Mile, but I still enjoyed it quite a bit. The fantastic art style, strong voice acting, and bold story still work extremely well (though I could stand for fewer f-bombs, which lose their power when they’re so arbitrarily thrown in). It’s a streamlined 90 minutes, more so than any other Telltale episode. While this may appeal to a certain segment, I hope Telltale doesn’t let The Walking Dead‘s success overly influence things to a point where their adventure game roots disappear.