The Wolf Among Us Episode 4 Bigby and Logo (Featured Image)

The Wolf Among Us: Episode 4 – In Sheep’s Clothing Review

Platform: Windows PC
Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games
Release Date: 5/27/2014

 

WARNING: This review contains very mild spoilers for the first three episodes of The Wolf Among Us. Proceed at your own risk.

The Wolf Among Us just hasn’t been able to maintain the consistent level of quality of the first season of The Walking Dead. Episode to episode I move between intense fanboyism love and apathy for The Wolf Among Us. Some episodes end and I think to myself, “If Telltale can keep doing that, Wolf Among Us will go down as one of my favorite games of all time.” Other episodes end and I think, “I’m perfectly fine having to wait two months to see this again.” That’s what the second episode, Smoke and Mirrors, was like for me. It was an okay episode that didn’t do or add much of anything to the game and when it was over I had no overwhelming desire to play more. Unfortunately, In Sheep’s Clothing is more like Smoke and Mirrors than the fantastic third episode A Crooked Mile. It spins its wheels for most of its playtime introducing little new or interesting until an anticlimactic finale.

Bigby isn't doing so hot after his confrontation with Bloody Mary.

Bigby isn’t doing so hot after his confrontation with Bloody Mary in Episode 3.

In Sheep’s Clothing starts off dealing with the consequences of the finale of A Crooked Mile where Bigby took quite a beating from the crazy-eyed villain Bloody Mary. In a gruesome, cringe-inducing QTE that I won’t spoil here, we see the limitations of what Bigby can physically handle. It’s a great opening sequence that sets up Bigby’s vulnerability through player interaction, not to mention it serves as one of only two brief action sequences in the episode.

Thankfully, the other action scene is great. It introduces the coolest looking mythical character seen thus far in the series and also serves as the impetus for a moment between two characters that shows real change and evolution. In a series that promises to change based on how you play, these moments are vitally important and this one in particular makes you feel truly like a part of the Fable world. Unfortunately, the rest of the episode isn’t so great.

The aforementioned scene starts with a tedious conversation that epitomizes the problem with this episode. Bigby goes into a pawnshop. He knows the place has the answers he’s looking for so he asks the teller behind the counter to tell him what he knows. The teller says, “No.” Bigby implies that if he doesn’t talk bad stuff will happen to him and/or the shop. The teller says, “I can’t talk.” Bigby says, “You should talk.” The teller says, “I can’t.” Eventually Bigby gets the information he wants but the conversation is so much meaningless running in circles that never amounts to anything. It’s basically a back-and-forth of one person saying “Yes,” and one person saying “No.” And, just like Episode 2, that’s what this whole episode feels like. You run in circles barely accomplishing anything or learning anything about the world or characters until finally you’re just given what you wanted in the first place. Sure, eventually the shroud of mystery is pushed back further but the amount of time spent chasing it doesn’t feel appropriate to the amount of progress made, and in the mean time nothing terribly interesting happens.

This is just a reminder that this game is absolutely gorgeous.

This is just a reminder that this game is absolutely gorgeous.

The episode feels long though it’s probably the shortest episode yet. The previous episode A Crooked Mile felt shorter because of its steady pace, interesting character and story developments, and a handful of tense and satisfying action sequences. In Sheep’s Clothing benefits from none of that. This feels like a filler episode, more concerned with reinforcing already established conflicts (like the problem of poverty and glamours in Fabletown) than actually moving anything along.

The Wolf Among Us has been inconsistent in a way that neither seasons of The Walking Dead have been. That may be a problem of being a mystery story or perhaps it’s a problem of being limited by being a prequel, but either way The Wolf Among Us is now 50/50 on quality storytelling. I was more lenient on Smoke and Mirrors when it came out because, riding a wave of goodwill from the first episode and Walking Dead Season One, I expected it was a fluke. But now with In Sheep’s Clothing it seems there are larger problems with The Wolf Among Us. It’s still an aesthetic and aural masterpiece (I’ve taken nearly a hundred screenshots since the first episode) but it looks like it lacks the substance to sustain five episodes. I’m confident Telltale can pull of a satisfying finale but In Sheep’s Clothing remains a disappointment.


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