By Marty Mulrooney
The Wolf Among Us: Episode 5 – Cry Wolf is the season finale of a brand new episodic adventure game from Telltale Games, based on the long-established, award-winning comic book series Fables by Bill Willingham. Following on directly from Episode 4 – In Sheep’s Clothing (which Alternative Magazine Online described as “everything a gamer could want from a penultimate episode”), Episode 5 sees Bigby Wolf unleashing the beast within to finally bring the Crooked Man to justice.
Cry Wolf is the episode where Bigby Wolf finally shows gamers his true form – from the opening moments where he brutally tackles the henchmen of the Crooked Man, the pace never lets up for a moment. Regardless of player input in the previous episodes, the sheriff of Fabletown has so far shown a certain degree of restraint. It has been a build-up that without question pays off in Episode 5. Before long Bigby is leaping from one building to the next, smashing down on top of moving vehicles as he pursues those involved in the quickly unravelling conspiracy that has seen a string of prostitutes turn up dead. It’s awe-inspiring stuff, and it’s only the tip of the iceberg.
There are still decisions to be made as the various plot threads come together and draw to a close, but it’s the decisions made previously that weigh the heaviest and come to bear the most here. Who is your Bigby Wolf? Is he the conflicted sheriff upholding the law, or the judge, jury and executioner of tooth, fang and claw? Adam Harrington has never been anything less than stellar in The Wolf Among Us and Cry Wolf is his pièce de résistance – he’s an incredible talent who can be frighteningly animalistic one minute and full of humanity the next. Play these games and then try to read the comics without hearing his gruff, dulcet tones. He is Bigby Wolf.
Special mention must also go to Philip Banks as the Crooked Man, who somehow manages to make a compelling argument for his technical innocence despite being the devious kingpin pulling all the strings behind the scenes, and Kathryn Cressida as his bodyguard Bloody Mary, who is absolutely terrifying even without the Woodman’s axe. Her scrap with Bigby, shards of broken glass jutting from her flesh dripping blood, ranks as quite possibly the most epic and exhilarating action sequence in any Telltale game to date.
The action comes thick and fast then, but The Wolf Among Us wouldn’t have anywhere near the same level of long-lasting emotional impact if Telltale Games hadn’t so reverently taken Bill Willingham’s fantasy universe and brought it to such rich, vivid life. They’ve successful created an interactive version of the comic books where the player decides how each panel will unfold. The destination is ultimately always going to be the same – and what an Inception of an ending it is – but it’s the journey that truly shines. Video games are constantly downplayed as the poor relation of other storytelling forms – sadly, often rightly so – but Cry Wolf is undoubtedly a watercooler moment for video games. It cries out to be played and it begs to be talked about long after it’s over.
The Wolf Among Us: Episode 5 – Cry Wolf takes the masterful build-up of the previous four episodes and delivers a breathless finale that rarely misses a beat. The Telltale engine still groans from time to time, but the beautiful art direction, incredible voice acting (a special mention must go out to rising voice acting star Erin Yvette, who continues to kill it as Snow White!), perfect neo-noir soundtrack (by prolific composer and regular Telltale collaborator Jared Emerson-Johnson) and compelling storyline make the entire experience just as magical as the source material. It’s over far too soon, but while it lasts it comes close to Bigby Wolf levels of greatness – unbeatable.
9.5 OUT OF 10
GAME REVIEW – The Wolf Among Us: Episode 1 – Faith (PC)
GAME REVIEW – The Wolf Among Us: Episode 2 – Smoke & Mirrors (PC, PlayStation 3)
GAME REVIEW– The Wolf Among Us: Episode 3 – A Crooked Mile (PC, PlayStation 3)
GAME REVIEW – The Wolf Among Us: Episode 4 – In Sheep’s Clothing (PC, PlayStation 3)INTERVIEW – In Conversation With Adam Harrington (Bigby Wolf, The Wolf Among Us)
INTERVIEW – In Conversation With Erin Yvette (Snow White, The Wolf Among Us)