It may have only been a couple of months, but the wait for Episode 3 in Telltale Games’ fairytale detective-‘em-up The Wolf Among Us has been agonising. The mind boggles at how the award winning studio even manages to juggle development of its various leviathan franchises at the same time, let alone make them impossible to put down – which is a trait that’s once again present in this latest masterfully executed instalment.
Continuing from the monster cliff hanger that concluded Episode 2, A Crooked Mile comes out fighting. It offers a whirlwind of angry infiltrations, irritated expressions, and fisticuffs, as protagonist Bigby Wolf’s carnival of destruction barrels through Fabletown once again.
The beauty of reaching the midway point in an episodic series is seeing the fallout from your earlier decisions slowly start to creep in. The sheriff is a complicated creature, and by nature a vicious killer, so whether or not you’ve heeded fair Snow White's advice to try and change your ways can make all of the difference when interacting with the residents.
We only know the broad strokes of Wolf’s chequered past, but regardless of his history, we liked him enough that whenever we got the opportunity to be level headed, fair, and in some rare cases, friendly, we would take them in the hope that the characters that we came across would take notice that he’s at least trying to change. Finally, three episodes in, those decisions are starting to have an impact. Indeed, at a couple of points in this edition, we encountered Fables that were once incredibly hostile to the hero rally behind him, although it’s easy to see how things could have gone the other way.
For this reason, Telltale's approach to storytelling must be applauded. Unlike the protagonists of their other flagship franchises, our version of Bigby (based upon our choices) is a misunderstood creature that's trying to redeem himself, so it's immensely satisfying to find that the subtle behavioural choices seem to be making a difference to the public's perception of the sheriff.
Unfortunately, the ever-present slowdown and stuttering of the ancient engine that powers the title still acts as a potent atmosphere killer, and although the issues appear to be improving, hearing a Trophy ping and seeing the message pop up seconds later continues to be a quirk exclusive to Telltale-developed titles.
The Wolf Among Us: Episode 3 – A Crooked Mile continues to pick up speed as it hurtles towards, what is sure to be, an incredible final couple of episodes. This instalment completely outshines its already excellent predecessors, and offers a breathtakingly action packed slice of fairytale-infused pie.