The Wolf Among Us Is One Long Soap Opera With Gameplay For Commercials
By Gwendolyn L. Spelvin
The Wolf Among Us is a reminder of everything that is wrong with contemporary gaming today. It highlights the development emphasis on breaking titles down and piecemealing them out through DLC, “seasons”, “episodes”, “chapters”; cut scenes dominate over actual play time by a 25:1 ratio. The crème de la crème is the focus on the licensed properties versus the actual conceptual, making the games merely marketing tools for merchandise instead of physical engagement with the controller.
Developers like Telltale Games who focus on such heavily overproduced animation cinematic feats need to retire out of the industry and take up shop over at Adult Swim and get a production deal for a show just to get it out of their system. That way they can have all the episodes they want out of a season, and not bore the gaming community to death with their cinematic aspirations.
An overabundance of cut scenes will not win you any favors at E3 unless people are paid off; ask Square Enix how that turned out for their abysmal Final Fantasy VIII.
It doesn’t help that the piss poor animation quality of The Wolf Among Us looks like deleted animatic scenes from the television animation Archer.
Telltale Games, among others, are obsessed with a part and parcel system of storyline, and their obsession with creating “episodes” out of some of their properties is ridiculous to the paying players of their franchises. The Wolf Among Us reminds players of their laziness to deliver a completed product, and leaves a sour taste in people’s mouths between the long length of time to continue the saga when it should already be done prior to release.
It may not have been quite as noticeable had the storyline not been as short and broken between “episodes” (which is easy to figure out once cut scenes are removed from the equation) and the dialogue had not been so dragged out, forcing more watching that interaction. Don’t get me wrong, the way the storyline is written presents different outcomes based on character decisions and alleged replay value. However, seven hours of a “episode” with monotonous play does not inspire anything other than long sighted boredom and a lack of caring for subsequent follow-ups.
No one wants to do more watching than playing on any title, ever! While “episodes” one and two had bits of miniscule gameplay, “episodes” three to four had little to none, and by “episode” five it was virtually non-existent.
After all, it’s really great when the consequences of the storyline shrivel up to smoking a cancer stick while pondering a insanely boring murder mystery no one even cares about in the end.
People who love The Wolf Among Us love it for the wrong reasons; the failure to launch of the proposed television show leaves fanboys and fangirls of the comic book series with nothing else but this adaptation. All the aspirations and hopes of seeing an animated property is exclusively down to these “episodes”. However, for everybody else that has no fancy in the origin of the licensed property, it is a long winded soap opera that borders hard on the telenovela side.
And that’s great if you’re a fan of the comic and live and die for the backstory and plot points that were never revealed in the original story. For everybody else, it’s a humdinger of confusion as no one cares about the backstory, and the additional plot points tying up loose ends of the comic are meaningless to those not already familiar with the source material.
After all, not many players know outside of the comic fans that certain Fables are invincible, as they are as strong and impervious as their legend. So while one character may be killed instantly due to infamy, another may be invincible (like the Woodsman in the beginning of the boredom). That translates into very drudged, confusing play, as naïve players have no idea the ranking and strength of characters.
No one likes dying repeatedly just trying to figure out a control schematic, either.
What kills it is the sullen hope that fans hold out for Telltale Games to get it together, and the obviously paid for reviews that rant and rave The Wolf Among Us as the greatest cinematic murder detective mystery ever. Pacing, tone, and style make even a dementia crippled Columbo more entertaining than this. By the end there is an obvious disconnect of quality and assurance that is lost in translation, and Telltale Games is well aware of such problems, but chooses to ignore them.
After all, The Walking Dead and Lego franchises brings in far more money on their licensing deal than this, so their priorities definitely shifted to give emphasis to properties that make them heaps more money.
Meaningless dialogue, unconventional introduction of characters that seem on the surface insignificant but tie in to the comic arch, and decision making that in later “episodes” have no bearing on the outcome of the ending plague The Wolf Among Us to tedious boredom.