#4: The Wolf Among Us
As a fairly lackadaisical comics fan I’d not heard of Fables before Telltale got the license, but I was interested enough by the news that the team was set to tackle it that I pulled the trades off my housemate’s shelf and read through. I can confirm that they are pretty rad, as is The Wolf Among Us.
The distinctive neon aesthetic of The Wolf Among Us and its fairly heavy content work perfectly; the feeling is of a noir detective tale. The investigations aren’t exactly CSI material, but they’re also not the focus of the game – the lives and development of the colourful characters are. It’s easy to like Bigby, despite or perhaps due to his flaws, and one of Telltale’s greatest accomplishments is making him feel real and consistent regardless of how you choose to play him.
#3: Game of Thrones
Like Tales from the Borderlands, Game of Thrones boasts multiple playable characters. The action switches back and forth between various members of a minor house, just like the books and TV show, and it works really well thanks to Telltale’s masterful handling of a story that has a similar complexity of content as George R.R. Martin’s writing without becoming confusing. There are enough hooks to the story you know that it doesn’t feel unnecessary, but it also doesn’t make you re-experience stuff you’ve read or seen already.
Telltale did an excellent job with character models, and it’s really cool hearing the actors from the HBO series voice their characters (and confirm that Peter Dinklage is a much better voice actor than Destiny suggests). It’s just a delight for fans, and thanks to the audience I enjoyed while playing through I can confirm that it makes compelling watching for those who don’t know anything about the franchise, too.
We’re only one episode in, but the series is off to a cracking start. The ending of the first episode wrung a round of applause from me – seriously, I clapped my hands and shrieked. I can’t way to see where Telltale takes us next.
#2: Tales from the Borderlands
I feel a little bit uncomfortable ranking this one so highly because my flatmate (for three more weeks) works at 2K, so I normally try to keep my Borderlands fangirling under my hat. But not only was this produced and released without any input whatsoever from 2K, here’s the thing: of every game I took home for the holidays, this was the one my dad liked the most. I consider him a purely objective critic, so when he agrees with me I can trust my own opinion (he also liked Far Cry 4, if you’re interested.)
Gearbox was quite open about its reasons for getting Telltale to try its hand with Borderlands: frantic first person shooters just aren’t the best medium for storytelling. And yet the Borderlands setting and lore really are quite compelling (play through the games alone sometime and actually check out the characters and story properly), and deserve exploration. As we’ve seen throughout this list, Telltale is great at taking other people’s creations and exploring them.
Tales from the Borderlands is a lot of fun, and it paints Pandora as a real place people might actually live, as opposed to a series of shooter arenas. The unreliable narration of the split-protagonist works really well. The jokes are genuinely funny. The characters are likeable. There’s lots of stuff for fans, but it’s friendly to newcomers alike. Handsome Jack is in it (sort of). I loved it.