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  • Acceptable Targets: The game series really hammers it in how New York City is the worst place to live in. At least once per episode, one of the characters will bring up how New York is terrible because the city life ruined their lives. (To be fair, New York in the '80s was infamously riddled with crime.)
  • Anvilicious: The driving force of the story is the social divide between the rich and poor, and the government's failure to answer the needs of the latter. Ironically, this differentiates from Bill Willingham's conservative views that also include the notions of limited government.
    • As a counterpoint to the above, the game also contains examples of people of all walks of life not being wise with their money, and learning the consequences of it the hard way. Beauty and Beast lose most of Bigby's sympathy when he learns that their debt problems started because they were still trying to live like royalty ("used to a certain lifestyle" is the phrase they used), Toad's increasing hypocrisy with his constant griping about the cost of Glamours for his family when he has recently bought himself a sportscar, and the abject patheticness of Crane when his embezzlement habits are exposed.
      • In a closely related vein, entitlement and unreasonable expectations of aid from the little people to government is addressed. Bigby constantly gets yelled at for not helping people when they first got in tight spots, when often those same people didn't call him in the first place, and were uncooperative when he was trying to solve the problem.
      • And yet, at the same time, it also shows how this mistrust makes sense from their perspective. A number of references are made to Fables calling for help and receiving none, or of Bigby's "help" causing more harm than good. A major theme seems to be how this mutual lack of cooperation is a vicious cycle.
      • And it seems that the government is understaffed, because the only people who can financially support it (ie, Bluebeard) are the ones who also have their own agenda. The inefficiency of the government leads to corruption (ie, Crane pocketing extra cash), which in turn leads to the poorer citizens turning elsewhere to sustain themselves.
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  • Author's Saving Throw: The fact that the game's ending is actually affected by your choices and there is a possibility to Earn Your Happy Ending for Bigby has actually won over fans of Telltale Games due to the Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy that's been growing in their games ever since The Walking Dead game. Unfortunately, it still has its fair share of Broken Base.
  • Awesome Music: The game's Intro theme.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Bloody Mary. To some she is well received due to her menacing and charismatic entrance whose sadism brings in a much needed darker tone for the upcoming threat Bigby and his allies will soon come up against. Others find her introduction over the top, one-dimensional, and overly reliant on cheesy villain monologues to the point of Narm. Her detracters softened on her during the finale where she reveals her true form and shows us exactly why she is called 'Bloody Mary'.
  • Best Boss Ever:
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    • The Jersey Devil has one of the coolest fight sequences in the entire game.
    • Bloody Mary's true form, which serves as the technical Final Boss.
  • Broken Base:
    • In the ending, Mr. Toad is sent to the farm regardless of your own decision in the matter, and even if you gave him money to pay for a glamour. Some feel that this is an utter copout for Telltale like the decision didn't even matter, while others feel it's another anvilicious lesson about how government works and how sometimes, good intentioned workers get their hands tied by the system they work in. It's also worth noting that in the comics Toad was living at the farm, so he was destined to end up there regardless.
    • A small one over Erin Yvette voicing Snow White. She's either considered fitting for the role, or others, often readers of the original comic, find it clashing entirely with what they imagined she sounded like, and a third group can't unhear her as Molly.
  • Catharsis Factor:
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    • Yeah you don't really need to slap Georgie Porgie around or smash any of his stuff, but it's pretty god damned satisfying.
      • Heck, even showing restraint and not going to town on his property is pretty satisfying in its own right, since he'll still freak out.
    • Likewise, you get a chance of paying the Tweedles back for all the crap they've been pulling in Episode 3.
    • There are also opportunities to punch both Crane and the Crooked Man when you put each under arrest.
  • Complete Monster: The seemingly-benevolent Crooked Man is a ruthless crime boss and the major source of Fabletown's corruption. Controlling much of Fabletown's supply of glamour, the Crooked Man uses desperate citizens' needs to manipulate them into indebting themselves to him, at which point he forces them to repay him with outrageous prices, having them killed if they can't pay him back. The Crooked Man also runs the Puddin' N' Pie strip club, which is a front for his prostitution ring where the girls are forced to be sex workers under threat of decapitation by magical ribbons which also magically prevent them from speaking, using Georgie Porgie as a pimp, and forcing the beaten girls to work in his sweatshops. When Sheriff Bigby Wolf confronts him, the Crooked Man tries to pin everything on Georgie and tries to have Bigby killed. After being arrested, and ultimately found guilty, The Crooked Man attempts to throw Bigby down the Witching Well.
  • Continuity Lockout: Averted; Its nature as a prequel prevents a lot of need to read the comics it's based on, and the Book of Fables does a good job of explaining what certain terms mean, and helps people unfamiliar with the source material to understand the story.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Bluebeard seems to be getting this treatment a bit, due at least in part to sharing the same voice actor as Lee Everett from The Walking Dead.
  • Evil Is Cool:
    • Again, Bloody Mary.
    • The Jersey Devil in his true form.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Bloody Mary. At least in her glamour form. Her true form not so much.
  • Foe Yay: For whatever reason, Bloody Mary felt the need to pounce on top of Bigby before punching him in the face.
  • Funny Moments: "Gren won't remember this."
  • Genius Bonus: Knowledge of a wide variety of fairy tales and folklore will certainly come in handy. When was the last time you heard a reference to "Donkeyskin/Thousand-Furs"?
  • Good Bad Bugs: In Episode 3, as Bigby wolfs out and the camera briefly cuts to the Tweedles, the shotgun in Dum's hands throbs a bit, making it look like Dum's hands are shaking and he's crapping his pants.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • A lot of the ribbing and snarky exchanges between Bigby and Colin in episode 1 becomes rather grim given Colin's gruesome fate in comics later down the timeline. Especially Bigby's possible comments about how Colin should be back on the Farm since being taken back to the Farm ends up being what gets him killed, due to his bastard brothers wanting to start a revolt.
    • It gets worse in episode 4, where Bigby is forced to choose between sticking up for Colin or sending him back to the Farm.
    • Bigby kills Bloody Mary by shattering her to glass splinters between his wolf jaws. In the comic, Bigby is killed in a very similar manner, being turned into a glass statue and shattered to pieces by the Arc Villain.note 
    • Related: at one point in the game, Bigby and Beast end up in a fight where you can have Bigby deliver a violent beatdown on him. In recent events in the comic, a Brainwashed and Crazy Bigby ends up murdering Beast.
    • Any scene between Bigby and Ichabod Crane can also come off as this when the only story featuring Crane in the comic has Bigby killing him in the end as Crane planned to betray Fabletown.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: The boss fight with Bloody Mary involves our brooding hero tracking the main villain down to his factory, only to come across a Dark Action Girl attempting to take him down with an army of clones. A similar set-up was used in Batman: Arkham Origins with Copperhead.
  • Iron Woobie: Bigby Wolf. He's attempting to pull a genuine Heel–Face Turn, but nobody gives him a chance. However, that doesn't stop him from carrying out his job. Fortunately, it's possible to give Bigby acceptance among the Fables depending on how you play him.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Grendel and the Woodsman. Bigby if the player plays him as a Jerk with a Heart of Gold. Crane seemed to be this, but episode 2 reveals that it's a ruse.
    • Georgie Porgie can be seen as this in episode 5.
    • Bloody Mary's backstory reveals that she used to be a timid girl before becoming a Psycho for Hire. Though the extent of sympathy for her varies from person to person.
  • Like You Would Really Do It: Telltale and Vertigo made it clear that the game was canon in the comic timeline, meaning anyone who's read any of Fables will know that Snow White wasn't actually dead.
  • Memetic Badass: The game's front cover does this for Bigby Wolf.
  • Memetic Mutation: [Glass Him] note 
  • Moment of Awesome: It has to be the appearance of Bigby's fourth and final form — an 8 foot tall Big Bad Wolf. It's absolutely breathtaking.
  • Most Annoying Sound: Although they're scary in appearance and even sound, The Bloody Mary clones' hisses and sounds of glass heard can very annoying rather quickly since it's the same sound repeated over and over again. Made even worse by the fact the hissing and glass have echo effects. Though this probably makes it more satisfying when you destroy them as Bigby in his true wolf form.
  • Narm:
    • The game continues giving you "[blank] will remember that" messages when it's obviously ten minutes from ending.
    • When Bigby transforms into full wolf form in episode 5, a lot of his growls are clearly lion or tiger growls instead of wolf growls.
  • Nausea Fuel: In Episode 3, Bloody Mary breaks Bigby's arm to the point of an exposed fracture. It's not pretty to look at.
    • The first sequence of Episode 4 is resetting your broken arm. It takes several attempts.
    • Vivian's death scene, her head just... slides off.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: The Crooked Man is almost forgettable compared to Bloody Mary. Who also serves as the game's Final Boss.
  • Paranoia Fuel:
    • The Magic Mirror can see all and know all, if it is asked your name.
    • Bloody Mary can travel through mirrors anytime she wants.
  • Porting Disaster: The Xbox 360 version of the game's season pass wasn't tested well, it seems- when Episode 2 came out, players discovered that they couldn't access the option that let them get Episode 2 for free. Cue backlash, especially from Irish and Kiwi gamers who were still sore over The Walking Dead.
    • Thankfully, the remaining episodes afterwards were shipped without problems.
  • The Scrappy: Toad to some. He's an absolute jackass who also has shades of hypocrisy (like buying a sports car while heavily in debt and in need of a Glamour for him and his kid, and spying on Bigby with the Magic Mirror in Episode 2).
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: The driving force of the story is the social divide between the rich and poor, and the government's failure to answer the needs of the latter. Ironically, this differentiates from Bill Willingham's conservative views that also include the notions of limited government.
    • As a counterpoint to the above, the game also contains examples of people of all walks of life not being wise with their money, and learning the consequences of it the hard way. Beauty and Beast lose most of Bigby's sympathy when he learns that their debt problems started because they were still trying to live like royalty ("used to a certain lifestyle" is the phrase they used), Toad's increasing hypocrisy with his constant griping about the cost of Glamours for his family when he has recently bought himself a sportscar, and the abject patheticness of Crane when his embezzlement habits are exposed.
      • In a closely related vein, entitlement and unreasonable expectations of aid from the little people to government is addressed. Bigby constantly gets yelled at for not helping people when they first got in tight spots, when often those same people didn't call him in the first place, and were uncooperative when he was trying to solve the problem.
      • And yet, at the same time, it also shows how this mistrust makes sense from their perspective. A number of references are made to Fables calling for help and receiving none, or of Bigby's "help" causing more harm than good. A major theme seems to be how this mutual lack of cooperation is a vicious cycle.
      • And it seems that the government is understaffed, because the only people who can financially support it (ie, Bluebeard) are the ones who also have their own agenda. The inefficiency of the government leads to corruption (ie, Crane pocketing extra cash), which in turn leads to the poorer citizens turning elsewhere to sustain themselves.
  • Stoic Woobie: Flycatcher doesn't convey much emotion, but the game makes it clear that he's had it rough.
  • Take That, Scrappy!: Mr. Toad is sent to the Farm.
  • Tear Jerker: Holly grieving for her sister and Toad Junior's breakdown while recalling the discovery of her body in Episode 2 both qualify. Also, while Mr. Toad may deserve being send to the farm, the boy doesn't. Him starting to cry only makes it so much worse.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • The Woodsman finally starts to make peace with Bigby and change for the better. Only to leave the story forever and not even come back for the finale.
    • The Jersey Devil and the Tweedles (if Dum is still alive) are beaten up in the Crooked Man's office and are never seen or heard from again.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • Combines this with Never Trust a Trailer. The trailer for episode 4 hinted at Bluebeard taking over as deputy mayor. This never actually occurs, which can be viewed as a missed opportunity for some.
    • Detective Brannigan's file in the Tweedle's office can easily lead to speculation that she will return. She never does.
  • Uncanny Valley: Bufkin, especially the black eyes that seem to stare right into the player's soul.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Toad can be too much of a jerkass to feel any sympathy for.
    • Vivian. There's a somber scene in episode 5 where she talks about not wanting to be the person she is. The problem is that not only has she cursed the women who work for her and Georgie into not being able to speak about the details of their employment, she also uses her ribbons to keep them enslaved. Her speech about how hard her life has been comes off as a pathetic attempt to justify her horrendous actions, and her death can easily come across as too little, too late.
  • Villain Decay: In the span of a few minutes in episode 5, the Crooked Man goes from an impressive, intimidating manipulative bastard to an unimpressive coward during his trial as soon as Nerissa speaks up against him.
  • What an Idiot!: Bloody Mary in the finale. She could have killed Bibgy but instead toyed with him, wanting him to go full-on Big Bad Wolf. Anyone could have see that was a mistake. Not to say Bloody Mary's the most rational character anyway. She does say that the Crooked Man told her not to.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: Despite being a videogame about fairy tales and having an awesome picture of a wolfman on the cover, this game is not appropriate for younger kids. In short, the game has tons of blood, swearing, gritty violence, prostitution, explicit nudity, corruption, mafia symbolism, harsh political realities, and a game full of detective case work. Not exactly the kind of topics you'd expect from Mother Goose.
  • The Woobie:
    • Lawrence is the poster boy of just what can happen to a fairy tale character when forced into the real world. Lawrence goes from Prince Charming for Faith's Happily Ever After to an unemployed, impoverished destitute who is aware that his wife has become a prostitute to survive. Lawrence even attempts suicide, thinking that dying could allow Faith to pursue a better quality of life.
    • Toad Junior just can't seem to catch a break. His father yells at him frequently, and he has been traumatized twice so far in the game; the first time being when Tweedledee breaks into the Toads' house and threatens to kill him if Toad tells Bigby anything (including hitting him if you went to Lawrence's place first), and then when he discovers the decapitated body of Lily at the bottom of the East River. The final kick happens when he ends up being forced to go to the Farm, thanks to his dad.
    • Nerissa, one of the dancers at the Pudding and Pie strip club. She's also known as the Little Mermaid. Not only is she trapped in a miserable, demeaning job with a boss that makes scum look good, but just as it was in her original (rather miserable) tale, every step she takes makes her feel like she's walking on glass.
    • Holly, even to some degree. Aside from being a troll, Holly is just an average bartender. A bartender whose place gets wrecked after Bigby and Grendel smack each other around. Not even a day later, the same person comes back to tell her her missing sister has turned up dead. Then - no matter whether Bigby promised to help or not - she has to find out that her sisters corpse was thrown into the Wishing Well and thus can't be burned according to troll burial rites. Followed by her getting shot by a shotgun when trying to protect said ritual. Talk about a Trauma Conga Line...
    • Episode 3 introduces Flycatcher, the Prince-turned-frog whose wife and children were killed in the Homelands, and who takes odd jobs doing custodial work to keep his mind off his personal troubles. And Crane unceremoniously fired him from the Woodlands, meaning he has a severe case of Because You Were Nice to Me towards the Tweedles.
    • Snow White herself has definite Woobie tendencies, she's just so much more together than the others that she doesn't elicit the same amount of sympathy. First, her evil aunt tried to have her killed. Then, she was kidnapped by the seven dwarves and forced to be their sex slave. And then her husband cheated on her with her little sister.

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