Review: First episode of the Wolf leaves us hungry for more
Reviewed: The Wolf Among Us, Device 6, F1 2013
The Wolf Among Us: Episode 1
PC, Mac, X360, PS3
Right from the off, it hits you between eyes with an emotive and punchy narrative featuring a group of down-at-heel fairytale characters struggling to survive in disguise among the humans of the Bronx.
While the action mixes a little slapstick of Who Framed Roger Rabbit with the grim violence of a modern film noir, the strength of the writing is the game’s greatest asset, veering from pathos to humour in a single scene.
As with the recent Beyond: Two Souls, the story pulls you along, pausing occasionally for your intervention but with the promise that your choices matter in the long run.
Like its predecessor based on The Walking Dead comic books, Wolf Among Us follows an episodic format with the storyline broken into five chunks drip-fed at two-monthly intervals. But by forcing you to pay up front for all five episodes (in the case of PC/Mac anyway), it asks you to take on faith that all parts will be as compelling as its opening salvo.
Luckily, the pedigree of its creator Telltale Games suggests quality control is assured – it has made the genre its own, weaving stories of desperate moral choices around memorably vivid characters.
YOU know where you are with monster releases such as Call of Duty: Ghosts – a bombastic orgy of bullets and explosions – but it’s what you expect.
Device 6 tells you little or nothing and drops you into a delightful mystery that experiments with your expectations, your senses and your device itself. Thus it’s all the better in my book.
To explain too much would be to undermine your enjoyment of the predicament your character must escape – suffice to say, you explore a castle (or is it two?) by the media of scrolling text, pictures and sound.
Clues to the riddles are buried in the audio, the scenery and the words – keep a pen and paper handy because you’ll need to jot down scraps of useful information. The understated visuals work hand in hand with the playful gameplay that occasionally forces you to turn the iPad on its side or upside down.
All the while, though, Device 6 keeps you thinking about the words, spoken and unspoken. It’s a triumph of touchscreen design rooted in the old school of text adventures.
WHERE do you go when you can’t go forward? Why, backwards of course. And so it comes to pass that the supremely accurate F1 series stops advancing into the future and looks to the past.
Maybe there’s no more passion to be eked from the puritan racing of the modern era but it’s telling that the best bits of F1 2013 date back 30 years or more.
Like golf and football sims before it, F1 2013 raids the pages of history for classic cars, tracks and duels from the 1980s – a downloadable pack adds motors, drivers and races from the 90s, including our own Eddie Irvine.
Tellingly, nostalgia mode feels more entertaining than the automatons of 2013, even though it’s stunted by licensing considerations and lack of options. Hell, it even has a husky-sounding Murray Walker doing the intro.
Long-time fans of F1 may find this alone justifies the purchase but owners of recent instalments of the series may conclude the rest too similar to warrant an upgrade.Follow @RonanPrice