The Wolf Among Us: Episode 5
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Game Reviewed: The Wolf Among Us: Episode 5
Publisher: Telltale Games
Developer: Telltale Games
Platform: PC, Mac, Xbox 360, PS3, PS4, iOS, PS Vita, XboxOne
ESRB Rating: M
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This being the fifth and final episode of Wolf Among Us, there have been a few reviews of this series previous to this one. The content, as you might expect, is essentially the same here as it was in those ones, so if you didn’t think those were appropriate for your kid, this review will not change your mind. However, now that it is done (or at least this season; I get the feeling there’s more to come), I can give a fuller idea of what this series has accomplished and how worthwhile it is to give it a go.
As with the previous episodes, this one focuses on Bigby Wolf, known in the world of fairy tales as the Big Bad Wolf. But after a catastrophe forced everyone out of that world, they have tried to make a living in Fabletown, a sector of New York City run by Mayor Ichabod Crane and Sherrifs Snow White and Bigby Wolf. The residents of Fabletown must, at all times, use magic potions called Glamours to look like humans, in order to keep their existence secret; those who can’t afford glamours are sent to the Farm, out in the country. But when a Fable is murdered, an investigation is kicked off that will find Bigby in the middle of a far larger conspiracy than he could have expected.
In classic Telltale fashion, this game focuses on storytelling and player choice, giving the player decisions that will affect various elements of the story. Whereas their other current series, The Walking Dead, focuses on choices that stretch and challenge moral understanding, Wolf Among Us has mostly focused on choices that would affect the way your investigation progresses and how you are viewed in the eyes of the Fables under your care. This final episode, however, brings all those things to a head.
What Parents Need to Know
A character is beheaded magically, without a weapon; this, along with the stump of the neck, is seen in full view as it happens. Aside from that is a fatal stabbing, with the wound later seen closely. A character is strangled to death. A character’s head is ripped off, and the camera focuses on it for a few seconds. There is an action scene that results in a variety of cuts and bruises, and bodies shattering into glass (literally).
However, nearly all of these violent incidents (especially the most graphic ones) may or may not be seen depending on the player’s choices.
As with previous episodes, all manner of profanity is littered throughout this game; if it’s a four-letter word, expect to hear it.
A scene takes place in a strip club, though no one is there; thus, there is no nudity, except for drawings on the walls of the place. There is a reference to a previous revelation that a character had been hiring a prostitute to have sex while magically disguised as another character.
Fairytale magic obviously exists in this story, but it’s all that same type of vague, undefined magic, with no demonic influence or even any explanation as to how it works. It’s about as offensive as Bibbity Boppity Boo.
The player is allowed to make many important choices in this game, which means they have opportunity to behave very immorally. But the point is to give them that choice, and hopefully for them to choose correctly; after all, doing good doesn’t mean much when it was the only option to begin with.
For most of this series, I have had mixed feelings about it. The production value and writing of the series has been top-notch, as expected from the excellent storytellers at Telltale. Many choices have been interesting, and the world and characters of Fables (the comic on which this game is based) are quite interesting. But it hadn’t challenged me like The Walking Dead had, and I had yet to see a particularly strong thematic reason why the nudity, violence, and language was justified beyond giving the atmosphere of a seedy town fallen far from its fairy tale roots.
This episode changed all that. I won’t spoil how it goes down, but I will say that the final confrontation of the series is one of the most well written sequences I have ever seen in gaming, brilliantly bringing your affects on various characters into play and making you question everything you’ve been working for so far. The series has been good up until now, but it is elevated tremendously by the masterpiece of interactive writing in its final stretch. For that reason alone, not to mention the other high-quality elements of this game, it is worth checking out.
But, as with previous episodes, it is certainly not for everyone. Most notably, it’s not for children. At all. In no way was this made to be appropriate for young ages. You know your children better than I, so I’ll let you make the call as to when they’re mature enough to handle this, but if you have doubts, play it safe for a while longer and only let them play it (or play it yourself) if you feel the mature content can be handled well.