Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Wolf Among Us Episode 4 Review

Note: this blog has been migrated to Medium, with the articles here available to preserve permalinks. Please see this post at https://medium.com/@ianrbuck/the-wolf-among-us-episode-4-review-81ba97f82d8b#.4ui0larq2

I can tell that Telltale knows what they need to do for their interactive storytelling to work well. Over the course of The Wolf Among Us they have been slowly stripping away everything that doesn't directly add to the story they are trying to tell. The good thing is it gives each episode focus, with very little to distract the player. The bad thing is that they are in danger of stripping away too much in my opinion.

In earlier episodes there were some very interesting segments where I had to either piece together evidence or interrogate someone for information. That is mostly gone, along with pretty much any area where I am free to walk around that look at objects or talk to whoever I want to. This also removes some of the opportunities for player choice. For example, during one conversation I didn't want to ask a character where an object I needed was because I didn't want him to know that I didn't have it. During his next speaking turn he told me anyway, which felt like the writers didn't really expect me to choose the option I went with. If I fail to say the right thing to get information, the game should let me fail.
Another danger of stripping down the game is making the episodes too short. This is a little more subjective; some people like shorter episodes because they don't have a lot of time to dedicate to gaming, but I've come to expect episodes that are around two hours long.
Overall I wouldn't say this was a high point in The Wolf Among Us, and I'm hoping they bring their best for the finale.