The Wolf Among Us: Episode 3 – A Crooked Mile Review

The Wolf Among Us Episode 3 A Crooked Mile

Telltale Games debuted the newest episode of its serialized mystery series, The Wolf Among Us, on April 8. The new entry, entitled A Crooked Mile, begins immediately after Episode 2 when Bigby Wolf, the sheriff of Fabletown, made a startling discovery about the identity of the killer menacing his community of fairy tale characters.

A Crooked Mile delivers a decidedly more satisfying experience than its predecessor, Smoke and Mirrors. As mentioned in GamerNode’s previous review, it felt like Telltale Games used Smoke and Mirrors to set the stage for richer story material in future outings. A Crooked Mile demonstrates that Telltale’s storytelling tactic more than paid off.

The bulk of Episode 3 involves Bigby’s attempt to track down and apprehend the prime suspect for the Fabletown killings. As Bigby, the player must accomplish this under a time constraint. Various obstacles placed in the sheriff’s path makes it impossible to garner all the clues the game has to offer, regardless of how a player may pursue the investigation. True, all roads lead to the same place, but prioritizing one location may cause Bigby to miss an encounter with a specific character at another. Overall, these tough investigative choices are a major reason why Episode 3 is so compelling. One must really pause to weigh the possible consequences of leading Bigby down a certain path, and it would not be surprising if players were to run through the aptly titled A Crooked Mile more than once just to experience the pros and cons of those decisions. The episode, just like a great mystery film, is worth experiencing multiple times.

One unfortunate distraction from this is that the game’s continuous save system makes it overly cumbersome to rewind the proceedings and make different choices. This episode’s variety of choices makes beating this system in order to scrub the game for all of its content a more frustrating task. For these purposes, a method to save and load the game from any point would be preferable to the existing interface.

Aside from the plot, A Crooked Mile delves even deeper into the series’ already excellent character profiles. Particularly enjoyable are the interactions between Bigby and his comrade-in-arms (and unrequited love interest), Snow (i.e. Snow White). The two really feel like a team in this outing. Yet, despite being allies, there exists a tension between them regarding the future of Fabletown. Given the community’s power vacuum, will the player defer to Snow’s judgement as de facto mayor or allow Bigby to pursue his own brand of justice?

Moreover, A Crooked Mile significantly expands the conflict between the haves and have-nots of Fabletown. Holly and Gren, who initially appeared to be stock dirtbag characters in Episode 1, are revealed to be extremely empathetic. As with many film noir tales (and real life), no one is truly good or evil. Everyone is a shade of grey.

Speaking of film noir, it is nice to see some of the more traditional elements of the genre making an appearance in Episode 3. Notable is a hitherto unseen “muscle” antagonist (intentionally kept vague here to avoid spoilers). Although this character makes only a small appearance, the menace presented is unquestionably dramatic. A Crooked Mile, like any good mystery, evinces that there is more than just the killings at play in the world of Fabletown.

The action is still light, especially compared to Telltale Game’s other recent series, The Walking DeadThe Wolf Among Us is at heart of detective tale, though, and not really meant to be a blow-by-blow action epic. That being said, the final act of A Crooked Mile is the most thrilling the series has offered to date. The altercations that Bigby finds himself in, unlike those of Episode 2, feel like natural consequences of the investigation rather than action for action’s sake.

With many mystery tales, it takes some degree of world-building before the audience becomes fully engaged in the narrative. While the previous two episodes of The Wolf Among Us were hardly boring, Episode 3 marks the point where the series has hopefully hit its stride. Will this presage similarly captivating material in Episodes 4 and 5? Only time will tell.



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Author: David Taylor View all posts by
David's addiction to video games began shortly after receiving his NES for Christmas in 1987 (it still works!). When David is not reminiscing about Chrono Trigger (his favorite game) he is hiking in north Georgia, scuba diving, or watching the endless amounts of B-movies on his instant Netflix queue.

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