Much like a season finale of a television show, or the conclusion of a book, the ending of a game can make or break the story. Far too often in this genre are we disappointed by the final moments of a game that was an altogether enjoyable experience. The same cannot be said for Season 1 of Telltale’s The Wolf Among Us. Episode 5, entitled “Cry Wolf” provides what not only can be considered a shining moment in The Wolf Among Us first season, but what could possibly be considered one of the shining moments in the Telltale Games’ catalog.
The final episode of Season 1 in Telltale’s Walking Dead series was acclaimed and helped cement the title as a Game of the Year candidate in 2012. While I am not prepared to put the entire first season of The Wolf Among Us in the 2014 Game of the Year conversation, it is without a shadow of a doubt that Episode 5: “Cry Wolf” truly displays the genius of its development team, and proves that Telltale making more than “choose your own adventure” games, they are creating memorable gaming experiences.
Put simply, Telltale’s The Wolf Among Us Episode 5: “Cry Wolf” is a masterpiece; engaging the player with the conversation elements of a complex mystery, combat similar to an action game, and fully realized character development. The previous 4 episodes of this season pulled the players in a number of confusing directions and left plenty of questions unanswered, but Episode 5 skillfully untangles the web of confusion and does so in dramatic fashion.
As has been the case since the first episode, The Wolf Among Us is at its core, a detective mystery. The titular wolf finds himself in precarious situations attempting to protect Fabletown from dangers both internal and external. One of the true triumphs of Episode 5: Cry Wolf is that in this episode, gamers get the opportunity to be the version of the Bigby Wolf they choose, which is something that was missing in the previous two episodes. In Episode 5, being Bigby means something, not just to the character himself, but to everyone involved in the conflict. More so than in any other Telltale episode, in “Cry Wolf”, the gamer’s decisions as Bigby held weight with no clear vision of what is right or wrong. This episode places Bigby in a series of moral dilemmas and while some of the repercussions are not examined in this Episode, it is obvious that they will be plot points in Season 2.
Technically, The Wolf Among Us Episode 5: “Cry Wolf” engages gamers in the most dynamic gameplay environments in Telltale’s history. Conflicts in this episode truly have the player on the edge of their seat, and not as a viewer, but as an active participant in something that matters. The choices feel real in Episode 5: “Cry Wolf”, and gamers are rewarded for their responses. This is an episode that gamers will replay multiple times because even the smaller decisions can have a drastic effect on the final outcome of the episode and season.
Visually, The Wolf Among Us Episode 5 maintains the dark, gritty, feel of a crime drama. This episode shows the amount of creativity of the Telltale Games team as they do some unexpected things with the characters. Bigby Wolf shows all that he is capable of in “Cry Wolf” as do some of the other characters; much of this relies on utilizing the roots of these characters from their original fables, and the extension to these fairy tale elements while remaining the detective drama setting is remarkably smooth.
Telltale’s The Wolf Among Us Episode 5: “Cry Wolf” is the perfect outro to the first season of this series. It captures the best moments of the previous four episodes and enhances them, all while providing gamers with a story that is both exciting and memorable. Like the best season finales in television, Episode 5 also gives us good reason to look forward to Season 2 with some questions left unanswered. I will sum up this review by stating that The Wolf Among Us Episode 5: “Cry Wolf” is easily one of the best story endings in a game and one of the best experiences in gaming this year.
I give Telltale’s The Wolf Among Us Episode 5: “Cry Wolf” a 9.5 out of 10