Hello, and welcome back to another special episode of “what the fuck can I say about something this short without spoiling either it or the episodes that came before”! I’m your perennially confused host Tim McDonald, and today I’ll be desperately attempting to talk about The Wolf Among Us Episode 4: In Sheep’s Clothing without ruining the plot for either those who haven’t played it, and without ruining much of the past plot for those who have yet to touch the first few episodes.
On the plus side, there is one thing I can say with great ease. This episode of The Wolf Among Us is unbelievably short, clocking in at around 70 minutes total. The other episodes aren’t exactly Tolstoy, but they were at least a little bit lengthier than this.
The Wolf Among Us Episode 4 picks up pretty much directly after the close of the previous episode: Bigby is once more in the tender hands of Dr. Swineheart after a brawl went a bit wrong, and while leads are few and far between, he’s at least got a bit of a better idea as to what he’s up against.
This episode largely focuses on Bigby’s attempts to track down his elusive nemesis, and… well, that’s not something that will take particularly long. You’ve got a couple of little choices to make and one big decision of which location you investigate, and I wound up in a fight with a character that looked like it could’ve been pulled from one of Neil Gaiman’s nightmares, and then the episode basically ended rather soon after.
It’s really, really hard to talk about this without spoiling it. I just wanted to reiterate that.
Actually, no; I should elaborate on that. This episode is harder than most of the others to review, and not just because it’s the fourth of five or because it’s so short… but because it honestly feels like half an episode. It’s the setup for the big season-ending climax, and that means it doesn’t really have too much to do. It’s there to prepare you for the next episode, and barring a couple of minor points of interest, it largely feels like filler. There are no earth-shattering revelations or massive problems solved; indeed, the one thing that does get solved in this episode could probably have been done fairly quickly at the start of the next episode.
Thankfully, it’s at least well-written filler. Bluebeard and Mr. Toad make their returns – the former as hatefully smug as ever, and the latter as grumpy and put-upon as usual – and you’ll likely encounter a few new characters along the way, all of which are as fantastic as you’d expect. If I had to choose one thing I really love about Fables in general, it’s the way that it takes fairy-tale characters and transposes them into another setting several hundred years on, giving us new ways of looking at them and new takes on familiar people. Seeing the way the game has twisted a couple more figures of literature and legend is as much of a joy as ever. Still no bloody Frau Totenkinder, though.
There are a couple of new locations to explore which give you a bit more of an idea of what your adversary is up to and how far his power reaches, and… I should stop there. I nearly mentioned how the episode ended.
For all of that, though, The Wolf Among Us Episode 4 is probably the weakest episode of the season so far. It’s short, not a huge amount happens, and it ends just as it really gets going. It might be that the final episode will completely redeem this one, and it’ll take on a measure of new import through the benefit of hindsight, but… well, that’s the nature of beast when it comes to episodic games. I can’t talk about how well this sets everything up, because I don’t know. It’s also entirely possible that I missed out a huge amount of the episode due to the choices I made, but honestly, I don’t think so; I suspect there’s another path which would take me on a slightly different route, but I don’t think it’d change things up very much at all.
And I confess to being a little bit wary as to whether or not the final episode can really live up to all the weight that’s being shoved onto it. It’s been a solid ride so far, but now that we’re winding down to the close, I’m beginning to fear that maybe – just maybe – the last episode will be a bit anticlimactic. I genuinely hope not, though. Telltale haven’t let me down yet, and I’m more curious than ever to see how they finish this off.