Previously we talked about TellTale’s current episodic adventure The Wolf Among Us, today we can look at the fourth episode, In Sheep’s Clothing. There had been a delay on it’s release, with Xbox and PC users in Europe getting it before PlayStation 3 users but it is out now. This will contain spoilers for the series so if you would prefer a more general overview you can check out my impressions of the first three episodes.
Since playing I’ve started to read the Fables comics the series is based on and have read the first four compilations which are set after The Wolf Among Us. They give you much more insight into the history of the characters and what is to become of a lot of them in the future. Having played the first three chapters without knowing about the comics I think The Wolf Among us has more surprises and suspense for players who haven’t read them. Fans of the comics wouldn’t have found Snow White’s severed head as exciting since they already knew she must survive. This goes for other characters too, readers of the comics will have a better idea of who is going to survive this tale but then they also have the joy of seeing characters they know and love from the comics voiced and animated for the first time.
When we left Bigby he had been beaten to near death by Bloody Mary and in my version of the tale he had also managed to kill one of the Tweedle brothers. I had expected there to be strong repercussions for this act but so far there has been nothing major, perhaps it will come in the fifth and final episode. Ichabod Crane was revealed to have a dangerous fetish for Snow White but after finally catching him he was in turn captured by Bloody Mary before Bigby could get any answers from him. Snow White now wants Bigby to solve this crime and protect Fabletown in a strictly by the book fashion. Bigby has to focus on what type of sheriff he will be. Will he follow Snow’s orders meaning unglamoured Fables will all have to be sent to the farm as the rules state? Or will he take the citizen’s feelings and current situations into account and turn a blind eye long enough for them to try and sort themselves out? Of course there is the other option when you lose patience with trying to keep everyone happy and have Bigby take the violent approach and try to beat answers out of Fables to try and solve the murder spree. These are the only ways you can really affect the story in this episode, there are no major choices to make as there have been in previous episodes so you’re left trying to have Bigby act as you think he should but a lot of the time it feels like the end result will turn out the same no matter what you do. The mastermind behind the murders is revealed in this episode and is one who appears to have a better understanding of how Fabletown works and the needs of its citizens than the good guys do. Almost everyone in Fabletown is in their debt in some way, either through unpaid debts, blackmail or threats. Bigby comes face to face with them as the episode ends and it will be the final chapter before we find out the reasons behind these murders.
What I find a bit strange is how it looks like everyone is leaving Bigby to try and solve these murders by himself, everyone in Fabletown is the hero of their own story so the idea that none of them are doing anything to help just doesn’t fit. Beauty and the Beast are revealed to be incredibly shallow characters who have gotten into heavy debt to maintain their grand lifestyle which Beast says they are accustomed to. Considering Beauty was once a peasant and Beast was of course a beast this explanation left me unimpressed.
Another gripe I have and I know this one is superficial…is Snow White’s snowflake blouse, which she has been wearing since the beginning of the story. When it gets covered in blood, she goes off and comes back then with the same blouse again cleaned. A pallet swap was down for her when she attended Rose’s funeral earlier in the game and I wish they would use this a bit more for her. Maybe its the fact that its the only item of clothing that has a pattern on it so I notice it more but its been bugging me when the game is so immersed in the comic book style and image is so important in it.
Even with these complaints I’m really looking forward to seeing how the story ends in the final chapter. The Little Mermaid had tried to help Bigby but has a curse on her that prevents her from telling him what is happening. Like all the other prostitutes, including the murdered ones, she is wearing a ribbon around her neck which she won’t let Bigby remove. I’m assuming this has to do with the curse and if removed her head would fall off in the same fashion of the previous victims. Why this is the case I don’t know but we’ll find out soon!