WARNING: Full spoilers from here on out, so be prepared…
We last left Bigby Wolf and Fabletown in the midst of the Crooked Man and his den of cutthroats after discovering some pretty shady dealings. The episode begins with what you would call a “bang” and the action intensifies quickly. I refused any recompense that the Crooked Man offered and then things get crazy! Bloody Mary pops out of a mirror, which was terrifying by the way, and all hell breaks loose. Things get interesting, however, whenever Georgie gets shanked by one of the Tweedles. After everyone gets the hell out of there, the chase is on. I decide to go after Georgie first, since the Crooked Man put the entire murdering spree on his head I figured he was ready to talk…and that’s when the first bombshell exploded!
While interrogating Georgie, Vivian (who is the girl with the purple ribbon…look it up) admits that the ribbons were her doing and that it was indeed the Crooked Man who commissioned Georgie to kill the girls. You see, the ribbons are a magical charm that, when pulled, executes the wearer (not to mention preventing the wearer from divulging any information about the caster or the ribbon itself). Vivian says that once she, the originator of the charm, is gone then the spells wear off for the others. Even though Georgie insists that she doesn’t, Vivian pulls her ribbon off and…*plop*…off falls her head! WOH! This took me for an absolute loop and I had to stop the game and catch my breath a little; it was that intense. Anyway, Georgie then spills his guts both on the Crooked Man and literally. Since I was feeling quite pissed at him at the moment, I left him there to die in agony. A-hole.
At this point, it’s no more Mr. Nice Wolf…the Crooked Man must pay! After arriving at his compound, I run into the devil in disguise and his personal bodyguard, Bloody Mary. It’s on! I mean, how tough could she be? Much like Bigby, the visage of Bloody Mary you see normally isn’t at her full power. Mary turns into nightmare full and quickly as she not only sprouts razor sharp glass shards out of all of her body but she can duplicate herself, too. Think of a broken mirror impaling a wretched woman and all of her images in the pieces and you get the idea. After almost eviscerating Bigby in all three of his phases, things are starting to look bleak for our hero…until he reveals his true self: a towering 50 foot tall wolf with the “huff and puff” powers of his fabled alter ego. The ending to this battle was brutal and so, so satisfying!
Now on to the Crooked Man and his justice: should I lop his noggin off right then and there or bring him in for a trial and let Fabletown determine his fate? I choose the latter and lead him back to the witching well. Once back at the Well, the Crooked Man gets to say his piece. Here is where all of your major decisions revolving around the previous four episodes come into play: if you’ve been just and fair, then this little impromptu courtroom is quick and painless; if you’ve been a jerk the entire time, you’ll have to do some finagling to get the town back on your side. That S.O.B. almost talks his way out of it until Nerissa, the Little Mermaid, comes in to give ironclad evidence on how dirty and murderous this clown really is. Well, enough is enough and I chunk him down the Witching Well.
The final scene is a few days after the trial and all is back to where it began: even with all of Snow White’s bluster she falls back into the same old rut that Ichabod Crane was in and Fabletown is no better than before. Nerissa flags me down as I’m walking out and we chit chat for a minute. As she’s leaving, the biggest reveal of all occurs and we are left to ponder what this entire thing all meant. Was Nerissa glamored as Faith in the very beginning and lead you to take down the Crooked Man for her own gains? Or was there no Nerissa to speak of and it was her that was murdered instead of Faith, who was pulling the string the entire time. Regardless, my pulse was racing and I stayed awake for an extended amount of time just mulling over what it all meant. In other words, I loved it!
There was only one problem that I had with this episode: pacing. The episode starts off so intensely that anything other than what we had was sure to slam the brakes on any actual conversations and that’s just what it did. Even though the big reveal was awesome, it was much slower than the first half of the game and I can see how that would turn some people off. I will say, however, if all of the episodes were this way, I would be much higher on the season as a whole. The end did justify the means to me though, and it all came together so seamlessly in the end.
One of the best things about The Wolf Among Us, and some of the other Tell Tale games, is that no playthrough is the same. Everything that I have described here could be told in a completely way and the player have an entirely different experience. Even though the results may be the same, the differing points of view keep things so interesting that things stay fresh and conversations with other players are riveting. Sure I haven’t been the biggest supporter of the Free for All guys on this game, but overall I had an enjoyable experience. Were there some pacing problems? Sure. Could Tell Tale have worked on the engine to get a more consistent experience for all players? Of course. Did I fall in love with Fabletown and all of its denizens, problems and stories? Absolutely! Tell Tale has woven a classic fable all it’s own and I find myself wanting to relay this stellar experience all over again. Is that the mark of a great game? You betcha!