It’s Halloween, and Jane and Joe received two tickets to attend the coolest party of the year. Unfortunately, said party turns out to be a trap as Jane and Joe find themselves locked in a creepy mansion with mysterious creatures. Can Jane get herself and Joe out of the creepy mansion before the evil creatures set their plans in motion?
Let me say that, despite the lack of jump scares the game gives you, the story itself is terrific. I don’t want to give anything away. Therefore, I’ll just tell you this one little detail. There are some people in the world that will go to any lengths to get what they want. I mean this in a tragic way and, if you play the game, you’ll see what I mean. As for the mysterious creatures, they call themselves Beyonders and they have an enemy in the main character. When you play the game, you’ll discover why.
The game play is quite typical of the hidden object genre. You go from room to room collecting items and using them in various locations.
Some items require you to participate in some very well done hidden object scenes.
You can also play mini-games to advance the story that vary on level of fun. If you are stuck, use a hint. Purchase the Collector’s Edition and you’ll discover Jane and Joe’s back-story as you conduct a séance.
This game is addictive and intriguing. I give it 8 out of 10, not scary but well-crafted Halloween fun.
Bigby’s finally solved the murder of Faith and Lilly. Now he only has to bring the Crooked Man to justice.
The last episode ended on a cliffhanger with Bigby meeting the Crooked Man. T
hose of you still interested in finding Faith and Lilly’s killer might be disappointed in the resolution. Thankfully, the game is more about the huge conspiracy in Fabletown than it is about that. Which, if you ask me, is a little more interesting. As for who the killer is, it’s the one the fans most suspect.
Be warned, I have a few more spoilers to discuss. One is about the social commentary on prostitutes at the end. For starters, I should tell you that the one who killed those girls and the one who put their heads on Bigby’s porch are not the same person. The latter is Nerissa, The Little Mermaid, and this is where the social commentary enters. She talks about how the world considers prostitutes like her to be disposable. If one of them dies, people won’t bat an eye. It’s something Nerissa refuses to let happen to her friends, so she stuck their heads in front of Sheriff Bigby’s office to get his attention. This is something that separates Wolf Among Us from other video games. Don’t get me wrong, prostitutes are quite common in adult video games but this is the first time I’ve seen a prostitute treated as a person and not window dressing. Let me explain that, more often than not, prostitutes are what the main character pays for on the side being little more than sexual fantasies. In this game, the prostitutes may be victims but one manages to take an active role. In the second episode, it’s Nerissa who leads Bigby to Crane by insisting he pretends to be a regular customer. In this episode, if you bring the Crooked Man to trial, Nerissa will speak against him by pretending to be a witness.
Truth be told, she wasn’t actually there but she didn’t expect the Crooked Man to remember her and she was right. I’ll admit, Nerissa does dress a bit revealing when on the job and it is partly fanservice. However, remember her profession. When she’s finally free, Nerissa dresses casually.
Personally, I don’t think putting a woman character in revealing attire is sexist. It can be, if done poorly but, if you analyze each of your characters and you feel at least one of them would dress like that, you can pull it off.
The game play is typical of TellTale games. You pick Bigby’s dialogue options, you have to make important choices and you have to press the right button for Quicktime events. In this game, you get to fight Bloody Mary and it is awesome!
Yes, the original Bloody Mary from the urban legend. She can walk through mirrors, make copies of herself and is a real match for Bigby, in his original wolf form. That’s right, Bigby completely wolfed out! You even get to see Bloody Mary in her original unglamoured form and it is terrifying! This is a woman who kills the children playing Bloody Mary in front of a bathroom mirror for kicks. Even the Magic Mirror is afraid of her, I am serious.
As for the Crooked Man, you can either bring him to face judgment or kill him.
Either way, it’s rather anti-climatic. For instance, everyone at the Crooked Man’s trial is against him. Tim claims that people in Fabletown rely on him, yet we see no evidence of that. Speaking of Tim, he is also absent from the Crooked Man’s trial which feels like a major cop out.
As the Crooked Man’s biggest supporter, he could have spoke on his behalf giving Bigby a true challenge rather than only convincing the people who hate him. Speaking of copping out, I discussed Snow’s reasoning to have Toad and Colin sent to the Farm, which I did not approve of. It doesn’t matter if you stick up for Colin or give Toad money, Snow still sends them there. Then again, Toad could have been lying about Snow claiming the money didn’t matter. This is a guy who complains about the cost of glamour and has a sports car parked in front of his home. He probably screwed over himself and TJ, the one I really feel sorry for, and blew the money on expensive watches.
This game is intriguing and a little disappointing. I give it 7 out of 10; good ending yet a few wasted opportunities.
After discovering Crane’s sick pastime, Bigby continues the hunt for Faith’s killer. What he didn’t know is that he’s uncovering a plot that not only involves Faith, but all of Fabletown.
That’s right, there’s a huge conspiracy in Fabletown and it involves the Crooked Man, the same one from the nursery rhyme.
You don’t see him to the end, so I’ll discuss the Crooked Man more in my next review. However, I do want to take a moment to applaud Bill Willingham for his creativity. For those of you who haven’t picked up any Fables comic books, it has a similar premise as Once Upon A Time. Many people call the latter a rip-off of the former, but Bill Willingham himself said that’s not the case. I will admit that I feel Once Upon A Time has the easier job with adding new characters. That show is on ABC, which Disney owns, and believe me when I tell you that Once Upon A Time takes advantage of this. Bill Willingham does not have the Disney Company to fall back on, so he must improvise with characters from poems and nursery rhymes. Which is why Georgie Porgie is a pimp, Bloody Mary is a gleeful murderer for hire and the Butcher runs a shop near the Baker and the Candlestick Maker.
I am not kidding about that last one. You have to admit, for a man who doesn’t have Disney to fall back on; Bill Willingham is very creative with what he does have. I do remember King Louie in the comics, who many people know originates from the Jungle Book Disney movie and had no role in the original book. I actually took the time to research that, and I could find no record of Bill Willingham facing copyright trials for it. However, I did come across a statement from the author saying that you need to do proper research before you publish.
I should tell you that Bill Willingham is conservative and, while I don’t agree with his views, I do enjoy his writing. He himself admits that he never intended for Fables to be a mouthpiece for his political agenda. All he wanted was to tell a story about fairy tale characters living in the modern day. His views accidentally popped in as he wrote, which is something that happens to me as well. This story is no exception and, I should warn you, I will give away spoilers as I write. So skip the next paragraphs if you haven’t played the game and wish to go in fresh.
One of the Crooked Man’s operations is at the Butcher Shop Bigby visits and he’s been enslaving Fables to make cheap glamour. For those of you who don’t know, glamour is a magical substance used on animal fables to make them appear human. It’s rather expensive due to being difficult to mass-produce and the animals that can’t afford it must live at the farm. Bigby makes a statement about how people are so desperate get stuff cheap, they’ll do anything without realizing the cost of it, which I rather agree with. However, I do not agree with how Fabletown treats their animal citizens. I understand that the citizens must lay low, but that doesn’t make it right. The first act Snow White enforces when she takes Crane’s place is that all Fable animals must go to the farm. Something both Colin and Toad take issue with because the city is their home.
Even in the comics, the animals call it a prison sentence because the government won’t let them leave. In fact, the Fables go as far as to appoint a human to control the farm. Is it any surprise to see many people choose not to send Colin and Toad to the Farm? However, that doesn’t do them any good. Another thing I will talk about in my next review.
As for what the Crooked Man has on the Fables, I never discussed Faith’s situation in previous reviews. She is the princess from Donkeyskin married to Lawrence in the original Kingdom. When the Adversary took over, Faith and Lawrence were a couple of the lucky, or unlucky, people able to escape. In the fairy tale world, Lawrence is Faith’s Prince Charming, able to rescue her from her father and give her a comfortable life. In our world, he can barely hold down a job forcing Faith to prostitute herself so she can support them both. Nerissa, the original Little Mermaid, is in a similar boat, as she must prostitute herself to survive.
Then there are Fables such as Beauty and Beast who live comfortably by our standards yet have expensive tastes.
This leads them both to be indebted to the Crooked Man similar to how Corrine found herself indebted in Flowers in the Attic and resorted to cruel measures to keep the life that she’s accustomed to having. While Beauty and Beast haven’t done anything that drastic, they both have expensive taste and they’ve paid for it. Playing as Bigby, you are free to call them out on this, which I’m sure many people will. I don’t know about you but, after seeing how Fables such as Faith and Nerissa live, it’s rather hard for me to sympathize with Beauty and Beast.
Speaking of Fables who have it worse, Tiny Tim from A Christmas Carol is in this game. He’s all grown up and still handicapped as the mundies remember him. Let me explain that, in the world of Fables, the character’s strength is dependent on the memories of the mundies. This makes some Fables invulnerable and others as weak as any normal human, called mundies in this franchise. In the case of Tiny Tim, while the mundies remember him, they see him as the handicapped child in A Christmas Carol partly responsible for Scrooge’s redemption. It’s speculated that this is why Tim will always be handicap and there’s no cure for his condition. Either that, or there is a cure and he can’t afford it. Since the Crooked Man gave Tim a job, he speaks in favor of him. However, he’s not against the Fabletown government. When talking to Bigby, he claims that Fabletown needs both the Crooked Man and the government to survive but a war is the last thing the town needs. While Tim does not agree with everything his boss does, he points out that Bigby doesn’t agree with everything Crane does either. I loved this interaction because it talks about the shades of grey underlining what seems black and white.
The game has other character interactions that make it worth playing, and even show former enemies becoming friends. Colin, for instance, is one of the original three little pigs and he sleeps in Bigby’s apartment. If you haven’t figured it out, Bigby is the Big Bad Wolf who tried to eat them. Yet Colin regularly visits Bigby with no fear and even sticks up for him.
Another interesting case is The Woodsman from Red Riding Hood, the first suspect in the murder of Faith. At first, the roles changed to Bigby being the one enforcing the law and The Woodsman being the suspected perpetrator. In the first episode, The Woodsman reveals that he originally intended to rob the old woman Bigby ate, but ended up saving them instead. It’s not until you go to the pawnshop and see the Woodsman trying to get his ax back from the Jersey Devil that you team up with him and he encourages you to bring Faith and Lilly’s killer to justice.
The game play is typical of Telltale with you picking various dialogue options for Bigby. Sometimes, you have to make choices that supposedly influence the story, but I haven’t seen any evidence of that yet. You also have to participate in QuickTime events that don’t sneak up on you as badly as they did in Game of Thrones or Guardians of the Galaxy.
This game has an extra feature where you can collect a profile on a Fabletown citizen as you play. Let me warn you that does mean you’ll have to replay a bit of the game if you want to collect them all.
This game is addictive and intriguing. I give it 8 out of 10, an adult take on classic fairy tale characters.