Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Wolf Among Us

A Monster in Sheep's Clothing
  It seemed right that I play a TellTale game. In my mind I do not like games that the narrative is the focus. Give me a combat mechanic, let me play a cool character or tell me a crazy awesome story, but don't walk me through a world you built simply because you built it, to me, that was never a game.


  The Wolf Among Us, and, the TellTale way of playing games, shifted how I was playing a game altogether. It's different. It's paced out unlike anything I have played before, with moments of complete uncertainty that teeter on the brink of downright chaos, simply because I was brash in decision- making or because, in this living, breathing world, the other characters were too fast to make their choices as well. Anger fuels some of the characters, others it's love and for a few, its protection of their own hide that is the motivation, but in the end, the symphony that is found here is breath-taking, even if only because you're holding your breath, hoping you did not completely mess something up. 

  I should note, when playing this game, I tried something unique. A friend of mine was making the choices while I held the controller and actually PLAYED the game, taking care of the action scenes as they came and, if I felt the need, making choices myself, ignoring their input. This helped alleviate some of the mental-wear that I felt I may find playing a game where each choice is carried through. I consistently play games how I see as the 'right' way, and, knowing I was stepping into a world of living characters who may hinder that was a bit much to take head on.

  It has been years since this game was released (two of them, to be exact) and it has been accessible to me all of that time, the only reason it remains unplayed was because of the episodic nature, and the content itself. I am, as I feel other people should be, exceptionally opposed to pre-purchased content. The idea that the game I am buying is to be released, in chunks, over a period of time rather than given to me as a piece, is not something seen in other mediums of art. No album is purchased with the promise that, not only will you enjoy it, you will get it periodically. Blurring the lines between television and games, TellTale is one of the few developers that I can say, in my years of watching pre-bought content burn, does it exceptionally well. Had I bought in right from the get go, I would have been incredibly excited to rip into each new chapter as they were coming out. I do not change my stance and I will not say that buying a product before we know the quality level is a good idea (that is one of the reasons why I write reviews!) but when we have someone who does something well, consistently, we learn to trust them, and I believe TellTale (and maybe TellTale alone) is earning that trust.

  In the end, the game is exciting, it is a living, breathing comic book where you get to write the next pages as they come. There were technical problems, one almost game-breaking one where my dialog was in Spanish for no reason, but the game made it easy to overlook the technical struggles in order to find a new, exciting product.


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