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July 16, 2014

The Wolf Among Us Content Rundown


Telltale's latest self-help guide to discovering the "wolf" within has arrived! Now in it's Fifth Edition!

Reviewed By: Kyle van Rensburg (Head Writer)

Verdict: Mature Gamers Only (For Brief Heavy Suggestive Content, Frequent Strong Language and Bloody Violence


Release Date: October 2013

Developer/Publisher: Telltale Games

Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, OS X, PlayStation Vita, iOS, PC

Genre: Adventure
Areas of Concern:

Violence:

Mild Moderate Heavy Very Heavy Extreme Offensive

--A man's head is ripped off up-close as he gurgles. We see blood spraying from his neck and a crack as the head comes off, leaving a piece of flesh hanging from it and we see the bloody stump of the neck attached to the body. 

--Fight scenes are portrayed: Characters punch, kick, stomp, and twist limbs around until said characters are covered in bruises and blood. Makeshift weapons like bottles and other objects are used in combat.

-Characters are thrown into objects, which break. Sharp objects are used to stab and slash, with blood spurting. Cries of pain are heard throughout these sequences. 

--A wolf creature grabs and slices two men with blood spraying, slamming them against objects several times and throwing them into other objects, cries of pain being heard. He can tear man's throat out, with a lot of blood spraying, squishing being heard and we see the man's shocked expression and his entire neck covered in blood.

-A creature's arm is broken with a crack being heard. We see a bone sticking out of his wound afterwards and blood squirting out as it roars in pain. Later on, we see a man with the same wound as a doctor removes bullets from his side.

The man attempts to push it back into place, crunching being heard and blood spraying, only for us to hear a loud crack and his arm to fall limply as he groans in pain. He tries once again to move it back, and this time it cracks into place rather loudly with blood spraying.

--A creature lunges at a man, but is stabbed through the chest with an antler, blood spraying out. A man then stabs it in the head with an ax, blood spurting out and a crunch being heard before a man finally takes a blunt object and hits it over the head, blood squirting out.

In short, there was blood.

--A man is stabbed in the head with an ax, a crunch being heard and a bit of blood sprays. We see the ax protruding after he turns his head, blood leaking from his head. He crawls around, and eventually the ax is pulled out of his head.

--A wolf-creature is sliced several times off-screen by creatures, slicing being heard and some sprays of blood shown. He then bites and shoves aside several creatures and bites one in half, it explodes into glass and blood. The creatures then keep stabbing it and impaling it with objects, crunching and sprays of blood shown. One of the creatures pulls a shard of glass from it's head, blood spurting and the wolf bites the creature in half. It's mouth and neck are shown to be bloody afterwards.

--We see the severed head of a person, a blood pool formed around the neck. This is shown for an extended period of time as a man examines it.

-We later see a person whose head falls off, the bloody stump shown in detail as blood flows out and the head falls to the ground, a shocked expression on it's face, forming a pool of blood beneath it. This is focused on for quite some time.

--A creature's arm is torn off, with bloody tissue and gore being shown in detail for a few seconds before his severed arm falls to the ground. He screams in pain.

--A man is stabbed in the stomach, blood spurting out with squishing sound effects. The man is later shown bleeding over chairs and walking around, leaving trails of blood behind him. We later see the wound in detail, and see the exposed intestines as he lies on the ground, slowly dying. 

--A man gouges another man's eyes, with blood spraying and leaking out.

--We see a large blood smear on a bed, with stains all over the room.  

Death Scenes:

--Your character is slashed, stabbed, and otherwise brutalised in death scenes. The death scenes are not as bad as previously listed violence. 

Context of Violence: Shock Value (While violence is portrayed to be a necessary evil at times in the game, most of the violent acts are clearly inserted for the purpose of shock value)

Sex/Nudity:

Mild Moderate Heavy Very Heavy Extreme Offensive

--In a strip club, we see a couple of suggestive pictures with topless/nearly naked men, and women, who are covering their bare breasts, a stripper dancing around a pole wearing only a thong and pasties and we see some murals of nude men and women, only revealing bare buttocks. A single mural exposes a woman's breasts.

While none of the aforementioned is focused upon, it is shown for quite some time.

--We later go to a motel and hear a woman yelling suggestively in a nearby room. You can listen up close at the door, at which point you hear the bed creaking and the woman screaming. You can try to enter it, at which point a man yells at you and you are chased out. (You can just continue down the hallway, at which point the noises become muffled.)

--A few verbal references to prostitution, fantasising about sex with a woman, and a couple of references to sex using the F-word.

--We briefly see a picture of a man with his hand up a woman's dress.

-We later see some books inside a man's apartment which are obviously sexual in nature, with names like "The Sensual Man", "The Joy of Lovemaking", "Kama Sutra" and so on... 

--In a murder investigation, a man pries open the jacket of a dead woman. We see her bare midriff and her underwear. A man can comment on it, asking a nearby woman if she is wearing the same underwear.

--A woman is obviously a prostitute, and she wears a slightly revealing dress. Her profession is referenced a few times, in regards with men being with prostitutes or hiring them. A man makes an appointment with a prostitute, but nothing happens. 

Context of Sex/Nudity: Grittiness (Contrary to most games, the preceding is not shown for erotic titillation at all. They are used to portray the seedy world in which the game is set.)

Language:

Mild Moderate Heavy Very Heavy Extreme Offensive

Very Frequent Uses of F**k, A*s, S**t, Wh**e, Pr**k, T*t, B**ch, B**ls, B**t**d, P**s, H**l, D**n, Bl**dy, B**ger, Turd and a partial use of C**t. An obscene gesture is thrown at the main character.

--God and Jesus' names are used in vain.

Context of Language: Grittiness, Emphasis (The Language is used to portray the seedy world the game is set in. Harsh language is also used for emphasis in certain scenes.)

Spiritual Content:

Mild Moderate Heavy Very Heavy Extreme Offensive

--The story is about Fables and fairy tales. References are made to magic spells, witches, and several "fabled" creatures are seen, from various fairy tales. In one scene, a man mentions that a spell was cast on unsuspecting people who pass out, a man mentions that people were silenced by a spell, We later see an object referenced to be some sort of magic object and it causes a person to transform.

-Two "people" transform into Fables, one of which sprouts devil horns. Another woman, a "Witch", transforms into another person. We also see a woman with a greying skin, horns and dull eyes, demonic in appearance.

--We see a deck of fictionalized Tarot cards.

--A couple of symbolism referencing to magic, including an upside facing pentagram (the pentacle), the Triskelion, the pyramid with the one-eyed symbol, and so on...

--A scene takes place on what appears to be an altar. A corpse on the table transforms into another creature. However, this is not part of some kind of ritual. 

Context of Spiritual Content: Fantasy (While references to witches abound and references to magic may be slightly "dark", everything is clearly fantasy.)

Drugs/Alcohol/Smoking:

Mild Moderate Heavy Very Heavy Extreme Offensive

--A scene takes place in a bar, with some drinking being shown. At one point, a man stammers drunkenly and remarks that the medication he is on gives him a "very, very, very nice high" when he fights sleep.

--Cigarette smoking is portrayed often, fitting with the game's "noir" style.

--A man drinks some bourbon (Blegh).

--A reference to some drug use, when we see that a woman's leg has track marks on them.

Context of Drugs/Alcohol/Language: Grittiness

Gross Stuff:

--A mention of a man wetting his bed until he was fourteen.

--We see a woman with several shards of glass sticking out of her body, her eyes are pitch black and blood flows from them.

Morality:

Abysmal Bad So-so Okay Good Very Good

As this is a "Hard-Boiled Detective" story, Bigby Wolf is shown to be very cynical in his investigations. He can perform honourable actions, and the worst moral trespasses can be avoided. All in all, the Morality is so-so. 

Context of Morality: Vigilantism (Bigby Wolf is a vigilante, often beating the truth out of his victims to get the crime solved. He seems deeply upset by a woman's misfortune and sets out to make it right.)


Thoughts & Impressions:


Episode 1: It ain't The Walking Dead, but hey, there's still a heck of a lot to like here!

While I'm sceptical whether or not Telltale Games can keep the quality amount and choices compelling throughout the series, this first episode is a good start.

I'll focus on the story, since this is a Thoughts & Impressions: Bigby Wolf is your typical cynical detective, with a supernatural twist: He is the incarnation of the mythical Big Bad Wolf.

He meets his arch-enemy, the Woodsman, after he has an argument with a prostitute (!) and Bigby Wolf has no choice but to get involved. From hereon, its only a downward spiral for him.

The story has some serious shockers, including a cliffhanger ending which may rival the likes of The Walking Dead game series, also made by Telltale Games. 

Episode 2: Not quite the breath of fresh air the original episode was, but that's not much of a problem. While the game may scream "filler" for some, there's enough substance to pack a punch in this episode. Oh, and another twist ending.

I can't detail too much about the happenings of Episode 2, but let's just say that the trailers were a bit misleading. There was a specific scene promised in this episode that didn't happen. And the whole red herring aspect of it did lead to a deflated pace this round.

The choice aspect is starting to show somewhat, but not in a really substantial way just yet. But hey, it's only the second episode, so we'll see once we hit Episode 3.

Episode 3: Huh, so I retract what I said about Episode 2. The trailers weren't exactly misleading, just a little "premature" and "red herring-y".

Otherwise, the episode takes the whodunit theme of the entire season and makes it a standalone experience with the investigation featured in this episode. The episode feels mostly fulfilling, but it ends on a cliffhanger to leave things unresolved.

Not like I'm complaining. What came before it was entertaining, satisfying and very compelling. I'm looking forward to seeing how this all ends. 

Episode 4: Filler. Yep, for the first time this season, we had a filler episode. Although it's a good filler, because all the pieces are in place for what seems to be an epic finale.

In short, the case featured in this episode fails to fulfill and doesn't fully quench your thirst. There were some fight scenes, yeah, and some intriguing moments, sure, but ultimately the only worthwhile scene in this episode is the last one.

Answers are coming, and that's all we really need to know in order to get excited for the last episode. Until then, let's hope things are brought to a satisfying conclusion. 

Episode 5: Now this is what you call a strong conclusion! Not only did all the loose threads get tied up, The Wolf Among Us ended it's gritty season on an equally gritty note, filled with choice and consequence. And nothing is too overt either.

There's no big button with "CHOICE" in this episode. Your actions have a more subtle but much more effective impact in the final episode. I can say that Telltale have outdone themselves yet again with this season, and that it's definitely worth playing.

If you can get past the content, that is. Speaking of which...

Conclusion:




And now that everything is all said and done, let's sum things up...
 
Violence: Ouch. This game is quite graphic when it comes to gore, and to top it all off, there's a lot of it. From decapitations, to ax fights, to a character getting his Kratos on and RIPPING A MAN'S HEAD OFF.

Yep, as I said, quite graphic. So, if you're sensitive to violent material, you may wanna avoid this game. It doesn't quite reach The Walking Dead levels of gore, but it's far more frequent than Telltale's other game series.

Sex/Nudity: Surprisingly enough, none of the sexual content and suggestive material in this game is done for the titillation of the gamer. Now, mind you, nothing about it screams absolute necessity, but it's nice to have something done for the sake of atmosphere and not childish fanservice.

Even if it's still too suggestive for my own personal tastes.

Language: The biggest issue with the game is the swearing. F-bombs are dropped like crazy, just about every line of dialogue in this game, with a few exceptions, are peppered with strong words.

If you're sensitive to language, don't get this game. Rather get yourself a Nintendo DS or a hamster or something.

Spiritual Content: While the game's atmosphere is drenched in references to witches and spells, this is all left in the background for the most part and the player's experience is kept relatively clean of overt spiritual content. There are symbols and the like, spells being cast off-screen and a couple of demonic looking creatures.

But with all the references to worse spiritual content, it keeps itself surprisingly tame. Make no mistake, magic plays a big part in this world, but it's too fantastical to be called "satanic" or whatnot.

***

And with that, I've highlighted the four biggest areas of concern in my mind. There's some more stuff in there for you to pick apart, but there you go. The whole series has been done, episode by episode, and I hope that it provides you with enough detail to decide whether or not it's worth buying for your enjoyment.

The Preacher: It's nice when fantasy worlds can actually explore the DARK SIDE of humanity and fairy tales for a change. You know, the side that Disney likes to ignore (and puts in subliminally anyways), but the side that's a firm part of the original fairy tales? Yeah, that.
 
The Wolf Among Us doesn't go to the level of Game of Thrones in this regard, however, so if you're wanting to bring that up in an argument against me......you can't, okay!?

Trent: Please, David, don't come with these crazy conspiracy theories against Disney. And goodness gracious, this series is filled with Violence, Sexual Dialogue, Cussing, Witchcraft, the like. Everything imaginable is shoved in there, and nothing good ever comes out of it.

While there may be some lessons to learn about the "dark side of humanity" as David pointed out, there's a lot we don't need to see and a lot that only pours fuel on the fire of the "dark side of humanity."
 
Verdict: 18+
For Brief Heavy Suggestive Material, Frequent Strong Language, and Bloody Violence.


Outro: And that's it! Gosh, it's been an epic journey over months, but The Wolf Among Us Content Rundown is finally done. I hope the end result has helped you out tremendously. It's been a lot of fun to do this series, and I hope that Telltale makes a Second Season soon.

Until then, this is Kyle signing out. May you all have a wonderful rest of the week and a peaceful weekend. God bless! :)

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