A mere two months after the shocking twist at the climax of the second episode, The Wolf Among Us returns with Episode Three: A Crooked Mile, picking up right where Smoke and Mirrors left off. As the middle child of the series, is Episode Three as compelling as the first two chapters, or is it merely a filler installment?
A Crooked Mile begins with the shocking revelation from Smoke and Mirrors’ climax (read our review of the second episode here). A Crooked Mile’s plot is a lot more focused compared to other middle installments — with a prime suspect revealed at the end of Smoke and Mirrors, Bigby is now hell-bent on finding and capturing him. It feels less like a filler episode and has a more apparent goal.
Like in previous episodes, and in its predecessor The Walking Dead, The Wolf Among Us continues to give you the feeling that your choices actually have an impact on the story, such as characters acting differently towards you depending on how you treated them in previous episodes. Like in previous episodes, how Bigby is portrayed is entirely up to you. Will you keep your nature in check as the town’s benevolent sheriff? Or will you give in to your bloodlust and take every opportunity to tear someone apart?
However, some of the choices don’t seem to have much impact on the overarching story. For example, near the beginning of the episode (without spoiling anything), you are told to choose two different locations to investigate out of three. When you arrive at each location, the game tells you how much time you have left to complete your investigation, but no matter which locations I chose, what order I chose them in, or what choices I made at each one, I would always end up being late.
Something else I found annoying, which was also present in previous episodes, is when the game puts you in a room full of objects and set pieces to interact with, but doesn’t tell you which one is the event trigger. So more often than not I will unknowingly examine that object, advancing the plot and preventing me from interacting with everything else in the room. They might all be red herrings, but I enjoy listening to what Bigby has to say about them!
Telltale’s signature comic book art style shines with the series’ vibrant neon colors, lending to the noir setting the game seems to take place in. In terms of visual performance, there were occasional moments of slowdown, but thankfully this was kept to a minimum. It is also glaringly obvious when dialogue that depends on your choices is about to happen during a scene, as the scene will freeze for a fraction of a second, followed by a change in camera angle.
As always, the voice acting is excellent, especially Dave Fennoy as Bluebeard. Fennoy was also the voice of Lee in The Walking Dead. The soundtrack is mysterious, chilling, and also lends to the game’s noir setting.
The Wolf Among Us Episode Three: A Crooked Mile is the most focused episode of the series thus far, and significantly raises the stakes. You will be on the edge of your seat by the end, demanding to know what lies in store for the Big Bad Wolf.
The Wolf Among Us Episode Three: A Crooked Mile manages to make every second of its 90 minute runtime count, with a laser-sharp narrative focus and plenty of climactic decisions to make. Interesting new characters are introduced, and new layers are peeled back on the returning cast. The suspense of trying to track down Fabletown’s killer builds to a crescendo in this episode, and this chapter ends with players finally getting to experience a full-blown rage-fueled Big Bad Wolf transformation when Bigby is confronted by an intimidating new enemy. Episode Four can’t get here soon enough!