In the review for The Wolf Among Us’ previous episode, one of my major criticisms had to do with a feeling of separation from the game. That it felt much more like I was just an observer, and not a participant within the story. Unfortunately, I think that “In Sheep’s Clothing” continues that feeling in some respects, but improves it on others.
This episode, like the previous, focused mainly on dialogue options as the main form of player involvement. Obviously, The Wolf Among Us is a dialogue heavy game, so the dialogue should definitely play an important role. However, part of what has made Telltale games great in the past, like The Walking Dead, was the player exploration. One would think, in a story shrouded in mystery, that playing as Bigby Wolf (who is a sheriff/detective) would be centered around trying to figure out what is going on by searching through areas and finding something relevant to the case.
There seemed to be a lot of missed opportunity for player involvement that was not the form of dialogue options. At one point in the episode, Bigby is looking for a particular item in a particular shop. However, instead of having the player search through the shop and hear Bigby’s thoughts on particular items (or plant other kinds of items to help progress the plot), The Wolf Among Us just directs you to right where Bigby needed to be. So, again, the episode made it feel much more like I was observing it rather than participating.
In the episode there was only one semi-large reveal that happened due to player exploration and participation, but the rest of the episode left any reveal to dialogue.
With that said, the dialogue in this episode was excellent, along with the choices that went with it. Many conversations, if you maneuvered them well enough, gives you the ability to make some kind of decision, no matter how small. There were many instances where Bigby had to be careful what he said, or he would damage his relationship with one character or another. In other words, this episode gives plenty of opportunity to treat characters you may not like in a terrible way, or help out the characters you do like. And they do a great job in this episode of introducing a few more characters that will definitely fall on one of those sides.
As for the overall story, it is really starting to get moving, which it should considering it is the penultimate episode. At one point I remember rolling my eyes because I made the assumption that The Wolf Among Us was going to go down a very cliche and boring route. However, I quickly realized that, while that part is kind of cliched, it is just one small part in a much larger story. So, you can expect some questions beginning to be answered in this episode, like what does the Crooked Man do?
But, what this episode does very well is open up more questions and create more curiosity. So while we may know some more of what the Crooked Man does, and what he would like us to believe his purpose for doing it, what is the true purpose behind his actions? Questions that have been around since The Wolf Among Us began are starting to develop more. Like why can’t the prostitutes answer certain questions? What’s up with Beauty and Beast?
No questions get truly satisfactorily answered, meaning that the final episode should be full of one reveal after another. Episode 4 does a great job of giving the final episode a big amount of potential for what is to come.
Also, I should note that Fables comic fans should like some of the neat references in this episode. But more than that, they should be happy that the Snow we all know from the comics sounds a lot like the one featured in this episode. She asserts herself far more than previous episodes, rather than going along on the ride with Bigby.
The Wolf Among Us still looks pretty great, and the new characters have a great design to them as well. Some of the new areas you get to see are full of little things to see, and actually vary quite dramatically. The pawn shop you’ll find yourself in is pretty much the complete opposite of Beauty and Beast’s apartment.
The music was overwhelming at times as it would often drown out some character’s talking. Luckily I use the subtitles. At other times, Bigby will be carrying on a conversation with one character, while you can hear the discussion of two others in the room going on at the same time. It could be confusing at times, especially when the subtitles got all jumbled up. It could get confusing at times to say the least.
In the end, “In Sheep’s Clothing” is definitely an improvement over the previous episode in many respects, with the improvement of player impact in dialogue, but still falls short of having a more involved gameplay. The story has more questions than ever, so the hype for the final episode should already be building quickly.
All in all, a solid addition to The Wolf Among Us.
Episode 4 latches on to your curiosity more than any other. If you are even interest a small amount in the story, this is a great episode to play.