I know it’s been done to death, but seeing as the latest Humble Bundle is from Telltale themselves I thought it’d be the best time to give my view on it.
From playing nearly every ‘Telltale style’ game I’ve come to the conclusion that this style is the new ‘Lucasarts point-and-click’ , but not in the way that fans of old point-and-clicks want. Having recently played Grim Fandango and gone back to The Wolf Among Us, I got a similar feeling in gameplay but the atmosphere was totally different.
PSA: I LIKED THE WOLF AMONG US, BUT THIS IS THE GAME STYLE GOING AGAINST GRIM FANDANGO’S STYLE.
LUCASARTS CLASSICS VS MODERN TELLTALE
Characters – Grim Fandango:
- Playing through Grim Fandango I cared about Manny but more importantly I loved Glottis. Glottis for me seemed like the comic relief character in an already comedic game, but he was charming for the entire game and even though he was an idiot he wasn’t written to grate on my nerves.
- Another big thing was Grim Fandango had memorable characters – the tattoo artist and the union head in Rubacava were hilarious and a couple of my favourites, despite being in the game for such a short time.
Characters – The Wolf Among Us:
- Unfortunately I can’t extend the same care for anyone in The Wolf Among Us. I don’t know if it’s the gritty style of writing, but none of the characters actually had an appeal to me. I guess Mr. Toad was meant to be the comedic relief in this, but the game focuses on it’s dramatic dialogue style that just makes him sad and unconvincing when he’s supposed to be funny.
- The worst part about the characters having the same down-and-out personality is that no one character is particularly memorable unless they’re in every scene like Bigby Wolf.
Comedy vs. Drama:
- To be fair to Telltale in relation to characters, most of their games are dramas and not all the characters are meant to have an appeal, but that doesn’t mean it excuses the straight up boring atmosphere. While I do know Telltale does great comedy games (I’m currently playing Sam and Max: Devil’s Playhouse) they seem to be few and far in between.
- In an aim to be gritty/dramatic, it seems that The Wolf Among Us and to a lesser extent The Walking Dead is just a bunch of people complaining, and this isn’t how you make a character memorable. Even though the tattoo artist in Grim Fandango WAS SO FRUSTRATING, he still made random humorous comments that made him likable, and offset some of the frustration. I’m not saying that characters in dramatic Telltale games should be constantly spouting one liners, but something to break the monotony of bitching and moaning every once in a while would really help.
- I chose Grim Fandango as my Lucasarts example because it’s not all smiley sunshiney locations – there’s entire sections of the game that take place in a night and under the dark sea; but it still had more atmosphere than nearly all locations in The Wolf Among Us.
- When I think of the Wolf Among Us all I can remember is dark alley, dark room, dark room of magical items; while in Grim Fandango it goes from sunny alley, nighttime casino and dock, well lit ship control room.
- Now The Wolf Among Us did have a few different locations, but there was no life in them apart from maybe the room of magical items. One of the first locations of Grim Fandango had a parade in the back, you could only really interact with one clown but there was life in the background – while even when surrounded by characters in The Wolf Among Us they were either fighting or silent.
At the end of the day Telltale have made fantastic games in their own right (including Wolf Among Us), but the gritty dramatic style gets tiresome after multiple iterations of similar games despite being different series. Again, the Telltale Humble Bundle has some great games even at the $1 tier including the games I talked about here, so I highly recommend giving it a look in.