"There was a crooked man, and he walked a crooked mile. He found a crooked sixpence against a crooked stile. Whatever that is."
That's more like it. Compared to the four-month wait before Episode 2 finally arrived, two months for Episode 3 was barely anything at all. It's also quite fitting, as this episodes puts Bigby Wolf and Snow White in a race against the clock to track down their prime suspect in the ongoing murder investigation.
This is a review of the third episode in a series and will contain some spoilers for the first two episodes. If you haven't played those, now is the time to look away. Specifically, look over here, or over here.
The Wolf Among Us' third episode, titled A Crooked Mile, starts at the exact moment the second episode ended. Bigby has uncovered the gruesome scene of Lily's murder, along with some incriminating photos of Ichabod Crane and his obsession with Snow White. Crane, who was watching Bigby's discovery through the Magic Mirror, has smashed the mirror to bits and taken flight. Bigby needs to track him down and, just as importantly, make sure Snow is safe.
A Crooked Mile continues to focus on Fabletown's general neglect of the more unfortunate Fables. You'll be given a few opportunities to show that you care, or that you don't care, depending on how you want to do things. One scene might make you feel pretty bad about yourself if your Bigby is an uncaring Bigby. That also happens to be an interesting “Bad Cop” moment for Snow White, who is usually much more merciful and empathetic.
This episode handles player choices a bit differently from the traditional Telltale style. Your choices from Episode 2 don't seem to have much effect on Episode 3, but there is one choice that basically swaps one entire scene for another. Once Bigby and friends come up with a few ideas on where to look for leads, you're given three options as to where you’d like to head first. You'll find useful information no matter where you go, but one spot will always be cleaned out while you're busy elsewhere, meaning you can't visit all three places. All paths eventually converge on the same ending, but who you interact with and some of what you learn will change depending on where you go. One character might not even show up in the game at all, depending on what you do.
Speaking of that ending, Episode 3 has one heck of a climax. If you had any doubts about the seriousness of the situation after the first two episodes, they'll be gone by the end of the third. It's the Big Bad Wolf's moment, and you'll have to decide between keeping control and doing the right thing or letting lose and doing what feels good. Your actions in that moment will certainly have an effect on others' perceptions of Bigby in the future.
A Crooked Mile still seems to be feeling the effects of whatever problem caused the huge delay between the first two episodes. The names and icons of some of the achievements have nothing to do with what is actually happening when you obtain them. This seems to imply that the plot of the episode is different from what was originally planned. The QTE scenes don't have fail states at all in this episode, either. If you just set your controller down or back away from your keyboard during action scenes, they'll play out without your input and nothing will really change. It's not that these scenes have ever been particularly difficult, but if they want to create the feeling that your actions matter, your character dying if you fail to avoid getting shot might be a good place to start.
It will be nice of Episode 4 is more of a return to form in terms of choices and consequences, but Episode 3 moves the story along well and is certainly interesting. It maintains the Fables tradition of adapting classic story characters for a modern setting and continues to represent established comic Fables well. Once again, you probably knew that you wanted or didn't want to play Episode 3 before clicking on this review, and again, it probably won't let you down. The season is still going strong.
Staff review by Rhody Tobin (April 23, 2014)
Rhody likes to press the keys on his keyboard. Sometimes the resulting letters form strings of words that kind of make sense when you think about them for a moment. Most times they're just random gibberish that should be ignored. Ball-peen wobble glurk.
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