In the review of the previous episode, I mentioned that it was setting up many questions to be answered. While most questions do get answered in this episode, they are answered in a very unsatisfactory way. While you as a player are more involved with some decisions in dialogue, it still remains true that you feel much more an observer than someone actually playing the game.
The beginning of the episode was very involved, with some player exploration and a lot of QTEs. That gave me a little hope that there may be something more going on in this episode. That even though we confront the Crooked Man at the end of the previous episode, we would have the opportunity to finally figure out a way to put him away forever.
Well, this final episode suffers from the fact that it had so much to do with so little time to do it in. It is not until the very end of the fourth episode that we actually confront the main villain in any meaningful way. Any conflict with him was left entirely to the final episode, which is a shame considering the previous episodes needed something more involved to make them a lot better.
Telltale saved everything for the final episode, but didn’t capitalize on it. The story takes, while not wholly predictable turns, certainly not any surprising ones either. We have all seen some movie or TV show that has had very similar plot turns before. The only difference here with The Wolf Among Us is that it is in the context of the Fables universe. Not a plot turn, but a cliche nonetheless, the Crooked Man says he is not evil, but a businessman. Really? Never heard that before.
By far the most disappointing moment of the episode was near the end with the final scene between Bigby and the main villain. It is disappointing because what ultimately decides the fate of what the entire series has been building towards had absolutely nothing to do with Bigby at all. Not a true deus ex machina, as Telltale did include hints of something like this happening, but it made it feel like the player had nothing to do with the outcome at all. Sure, the ultimate decision of what happens at the end is left to the player, but they did not create the situation to allow for some kind of decision to be made, if that makes sense.
It would be like spending seven books building up the final confrontation between Harry Potter and Voldemort to only have Neville show up at the end and kill Voldemort for Harry instead. Telltale needlessly stole the “thunder” away from the player by placing a near deus ex machina at the end to solve everything, pushing the player to the side.
Before moving on, I will give credit to Telltale for what the included at the very end of the epilogue. It leaves you with something to chew on, and something that will likely have a great amount of discussion.
Again, beside the QTEs at the very beginning of the episode, the only involvement the player has through Bigby is dialogue. This is by far the most dialogue heavy episode. Throughout it all, Bigby is set in one scene with some characters to just have a conversation with them.
Some scenes do have a decent amount of tension in them however. Bigby will find himself in some precarious positions and the game offers you some options to tip the situation over the edge or hold some restraint. Unfortunately, even some of those moments are ruined quite quickly when it becomes obvious how the situation was going to end.
Which is really unfortunate because some moments were actually really great, if not for the fact that the game sends about ten minutes building it up so you know whats coming. This is one of The Wolf Among Us’ principle problems, drawing things out needlessly. Certain situations could have been handled with much more care.
With that said, there are a decent amount of decisions left up to the character. Unfortunately, they are choices that will ultimately not effect the overall story outcome in any significant way. Choices like killing someone mercifully, or letting them die slowly to suffer. It may make you feel better, but ultimately is meaningless in the grand scheme of things.
As always, the few new scenes we were able to see looked pretty neat. Their design was interesting and kept with the them of The Wolf Among Us. I only wished there had been a few more new things to see.
Unfortunately, there were quite a few technical issues regarding the sound. Something that has happened quite often throughout the whole series, but more here than in any other. Things like sounds not matching up, dialogue being cut off, and some sounds just being seemingly forgotten.
With all of that said, I still somewhat enjoyed the episode. I was definitely more frustrated/disappointed than interested/surprised, but there was enough to make me glad I played it. But that may only be because I am a Fables fan. Many references were made to the comics in this episode, and quite a few conversations demonstrated that Telltale had a good grasp of the Fables universe, which I appreciated.
All in all, with the buildup and cliffhanger of the previous episode, the final episode just fails to deliver. The same issues that have plagued the series from the second episode onward have reared their head here again.
Not the ending most will be looking for, but there is still some questions answered most will be interested in hearing.