The highly anticipated Fables game from Telltale Games released this past Friday and I doubt that I’m the only one that was looking forward to it. I have a confession to make… I don’t like The Walking Dead franchise, but I really enjoyed the game. The bonus for me here is that I do like Fables and couldn’t wait to play this and I have to admit… I liked it better than The Walking Dead game. I’m not going to spoil the entire first chapter for you by any means but I will have one spoiler because otherwise I’d only be able to talk about the first sub-chapter. The story kicks off with Bigsby heading over to Mr. Toad’s place for a disturbance that he’s called in. After talking with Toad, Bigsby heads up to the apartment with the yelling and finds the Woodsman and an unknown woman inside. At this point you’re given several sections on how to proceed, but they all pretty much lead to a fight with the Woodsman.
I played the game on Steam and have to admit that I’m not a PC gamer so after using the mouse to do everything I was suddenly performing quick-time events with the keyboard which threw me off. The second time through wasn’t much better because the timing just felt off and the window for success was small. I was killed the first time which was more embarrassing than anything else, but then passed the section on the second try. You’re able to talk to the woman for a bit, I’m not going to tell you her name because it’s part of the game play to discover it. It becomes clear that she’s a “working girl” and right there I paused. Prostitutes in Fables? Fables that are prostitutes? I mean I’m behind on the story, but I didn’t see this coming.
The fight continues as you fall out onto the street and the Woodsman pushes you until the “Wolf” begins to come out. Thankfully the woman saves Bigsby and he doesn’t go full-blown wolf. Your conversation continues with her and you’re able to select helping her and gaining her trust or to throw her to the wolves… sort to speak. She heads back to work, but Bigsby tells her he needs a statement. She says she’ll drop by his house later, which he finds weird, but apparently all of the Fables know where he lives. She doesn’t arrive, but Snow White does and she asks Bigsby to urgently come with her. They go to the front step of the apartment complex and Bigsby uncovers the head of the woman he helped before.
The only reason I bring this up is so that you know what type of game this is. You’re basically investigating a murder for the rest of the story and tracking down who this mystery woman is. That aspect alone makes this version of Fables very interesting. Other aspect is that it’s very difficult to kill a Fable so finding out the how’s on this one is going to be good.
Again I’ve very behind on Fables, but this came across as a very different version of the story. There are tons of elements incorporated like the Glamour spell and the eternal life due to people reading the Fable’s stories. It’s just that the story path heads down a different trail and I actually really liked that. It made it far more interesting than just playing the comic book and knowing where the plot is heading. If this is just a giant “What If” then I’d love to see Telltale tackle other properties in a similar way.
Other than my ineptitude with the keyboard quick-time the controls were pretty much dead on to any other game from Telltales’ library. Just like in The Walking Dead the dialog choices you make steer the story in different directions and affect your relationships with the other characters. I’ve actually started a second save and made different choices and while everything ends up in the same place, you can actually learn different information depending on your choices. I was able to earn the woman’s trust much faster the second time, but was also thrown into the fight with the Woodsman faster as well. I know other games use this gameplay technique, but Telltale’s execution of it is superior due to the types of stories they produce.
The graphics are of course very good. If you’ve watched any of the trailers then you know that it’s cell-shaded and very stylized. It really looks like a cartoon at times. The character designs have that Telltale charm to them, but strongly resemble the design from Fables. It’s honestly very cool to see these characters moving around and interacting with them.
Speaking of interaction, the voice acting is probably the best part of the game. At times I was so enthralled by the conversation that I would be late on the action parts. It would be a great feature if Telltale would let you watch a video of your play through so that you could just enjoy the story and convincing acting. Otherwise the voice actor really bring these characters that I’ve only ever imagined on paper, to life.
This was definitely a great choice for Telltale to develop. The world of Fables lends itself to their game style and art design. Also it’s just great to see a video game based on a comic book that I actually like and that doesn’t suck. The only problem is that much like The Walking Dead the story it’s structured by chapters and so it’s hard to say that this is the end all be all of games when there are four more chapters to release. It’s a great game and one that I will definitely keep up with, but really anyone that waits until the fifth chapter releases is going to have a better game experience. If like me you couldn’t wait, then hey just enjoy the crap out of it. I beat it in one game session so it’s not too long, but it’s long enough to make it a worthy purchase.
Publisher: Telltale Games Available Systems: PC, Steam, X-Box, Playstation Price: $4.99 or $14.99 Season Pass Release Date: 10/11/13