Episode 4 set the stage for an exciting conclusion full of answers and new questions. While Episode 5 is chock full of satisfying resolution, some loose ends dangle. With a story as complex as The Wolf Among Us and its various characters, side stories, and history (none of which are entirely clear to the audience), having a complete narrative upon the finale shouldn’t be expected. In fact, Telltale seems to have intentionally left the door open for future entries.
Finally stumbling upon the Crooked Man, Bigby finds himself in a room among old… friends. Although we can infer things about the Crooked Man’s nature, we at least get to see the good fellow in person. Clearly, the episode’s entirety does not rest in his office, so be ready for an episode full of excitement, difficult choices, and some closure. Without spoiling too much, expect as good an episode as you have throughout the series thus far.
Consistent with previous installments, Episode 5 enjoys excellent dialogue, pacing, and narrative structure. The inverted checkmark plot form that writers embrace takes firm hold here as an exciting climax is met with a nice wind down and even better last couple minutes. In some ways predictable, Telltale seems to have run out of tricks for the series, but that isn’t always a failure. Rather than surprise us, Telltale delivers in a way we have come to expect from them: choices.
Unless we can expect a Season 2, the choices here won’t impact much, since we’re at our closing. No, what we have here is a sense of completion as everything we’ve done, seen, and experienced comes to a head. While not all of our decisions seem to factor into the end-game, we know what they were, and in this way our decisions carry that much more weight. Rather than expecting the developers to create gameplay based on my decisions, Telltale has instilled in me an intrinsic sense of satisfaction. I believe my decisions have an impact in this world long after I close the game, and that gives them meaning.
That isn’t to say that old pitfalls don’t exist. For some reason, Telltale was incredibly stingy with the dialogue timer in this episode. With little opportunity to even read my options, the timer ran out near the end of the voice actor reading the script. How can I reflect on what’s been said and choose intelligently, let alone reactively? I try to enjoy what’s been said and then comfortably choose from my options; the intent of the timer is not lost on me, but I had to choose after only reading two of the selections on more than one occasion. Although Telltale has shown excellent ability in improving its game design, I’m still mystified about these few instances of regression.
Well-acted, crafted, and satisfying, The Wolf Among Us cast takes a grand bow as I shout for an encore. Although not perfect, Telltale deftly demonstrates that the success of The Walking Dead wasn’t the result of intellectual property alone. Here, I can say with confidence that any future series Telltale Games takes on will almost certainly be executed with loyalty to the intellectual property and with the gripping presentation we have come to expect. Most of all, Telltale seems player-centric, rather than forcing our hand. Were you a big bad wolf, or did you wrestle your inner beast?