Review: The Wolf Among Us – Episode 3: A Crooked Mile (2014)
A Crooked Mile not only makes for some memorable moments and brilliant gameplay but also shows why TellTale are the kings of storytelling and why you're called The Big Bad Wolf.
A Crooked Mile is 90 minutes of tough decisions, memorable moments and succeeds at fleshing out every sideline character that may have been on the side lines at the start and at introducing new characters to the story that I was just itching to find out more about.
What’s brilliant about Crooked Mile and The Wolf Among Us in general is that it made me feel like I was playing my own story that has no similarity to anyone else. With tough decisions and massive consequences its made me committed to Bigby – my own Bigby as I have made him and thats what makes me love this game more with each episode.
Whilst Episode 2 didn’t really do much to progress the story, Crooked Mile makes every second of the 90 minute episode count. From a explosive funeral, to meeting a witch that still holds dearly to something of the old world, it made me finally feel the magical side of Wolf Among Us and see just how hard living in this city is for them and brought with it the hardest decision since Episode 1.
The funeral served as a brilliant opening showing just how everyone in Fable Town deals with death from Snow White, to Grendal and the Prince from Episode 1 – if you saved him that is. It was sad and touching and made me start to feel for some of the more side line characters of the story who, up till now, I didn’t really care for in anyway. It was a sweet moment which acted as a way to set aside past troubles I had with certain characters and make them friends rather then enemies.
But it also showed what this game is brilliant, and that’s the act of choice and being able to choose how I went about dealing with gate crashing a funeral. Do I just go in and be disrespectful and interrupt some touching moments or do I pay my respects and let them speak letting their grieving take priority? It makes for some great dialogue and drama as you watch it unfold and see sides to these characters that I didn’t even know existed. And then it all leads to the reveal of just the sort of man Crane is and showed brilliantly just the state of Fable Town and how unloved he is by his citizens.
Without giving way to much away the final scene of this episode is where everything hits a head and Bigby shows his claws and are given great power only for it to be taken away by a new enemy who is both terrifying and nothing like we have seen from the first two episodes. It makes the wait for Episode 4 just so much more exciting. What’s brilliant is that you are in control in this final scene and you make the decisions and the more I tried to do things the right way, the anger and sadness of Bigby took over and I just let rip. The Big Bad Wolf came out to play and he won’t leave much standing if you choose it to go that way.
The one thing I try to do very hard is keep the people closest to me but this episode just shows how easy these decisions can make it to push them further away. Even people like Snow, who I thought would have by back and stick by me no matter what my decision, was starting to look at me differently and show disgust for me rather then love and respect. It makes you realise that it’s you that made that happen and the “they will remember that” is burnt into my brain more then ever.
The thing to remember is that time is limited in Crooked Mile, so you have to make your decisions wisely and make them count because you can’t see or speak to everyone in one playthrough. Telltale change the gameplay with this episode giving you much longer to make your decisions which, given some of the choices, is much needed.
The narrative divide in this episode is clear as day as you will miss clear areas and scenes if you play just one playthrough as time is short and exploring everywhere just isn’t an option. But the scenes given to you just show the amazing writers behind Wolf Among Us and show just how great the script is whether it’s through another tense scene with Jack who is proving to still be my faviroute character that you love to hate or scenes with new characters like FlyCatcher.
Whilst you aren’t able to explore everything in this episode like you want to and expect from a TellTale game, it doesn’t take away from the Episode in anyway. In fact it just makes me want to replay the episode again and again finding every little secret.
Overall this was the best episode of the season to date and being half way through it now it just makes me want Episode 4 to come tomorrow. Crooked Mile is a high point for the series and is by far the best piece of writing to come out of TellTale in a long time. It’s a smart, brutal and painfully honest episode showing you just how cruel and horrible you have to be sometimes and that your decisions in Episode 3 change everything going into these final two episodes.
Wolf shows powerful moments and very vulnerable times for Bigby and you. A strong game of the year contender.