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The Wolf Among Us : Episode 2 – Smoke & Mirrors (PC) Review

 
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At a Glance...
 

Formats: PC, PS3, Xbox 360, IOS
 
Genre:
 
Publisher:
 
Developer:
 
Final Score
7.5
7.5/ 10


User Rating
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We liked?


  • Incredible and compelling universe
  • A script that is equally as compelling and lends great depth to your interpretation of Bigby
  • Great look and voice work once again

Not so much?


  • Very, very short
  • Does little to progress the actual story so feels like filler in places
  • Occasionally dialogue seems out of places


Final Fiendish Findings?

So, maybe not as satisfying as the last episode, The Wolf Among Us Episode 2 does manage to draw us in even further with its keen layering of story threads and wonderful use of the licensed world.

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Posted February 5, 2014 by

 
Full Fiendish Findings...
 
 

Telltale look to continue the story of The Wolf Among Us with the release of episode 2 entitled, Smoke and Mirrors.

Set within the rich and detailed world where Fables try and live out their lives amongst us regular folks we once again join the gruff sheriff of Fabletown Bigby Wolf as he investigates the recent spate of grizzly murders.  The Wolf Among Us is based on the Fables series of DC comics from Bill Willingham.  Here, as in the comics, we are presented with an alternate New York.  A New York where fabled character from Georgie Prorgie, Toad or Beauty to even Bluebeard all live out their lives along side regular folk – known by the fables as Mundies (or the Mundane).

Once again, as in episode 1 (aka Faith) of The Wolf Among Us, Smoke and Mirrors revels in the gorgeous comic artistry on display in the original comic books. The world is rich, detailed, and just the right kind of bizarre. The world the Fables now inhabit is nothing like the fairytale ones we’ve come to know and love over the years.

The more Noir’ish elements from the first episode seem to have been toned down here. Opting for a more blown-out and grey look to the characters which remain start against the vivid garish colours of some of the environments.

More than in the first episode this outing of The Wolf Among Us feels adventure light. You really only engage in a small amount of actual point and click action with the majority of what you’ll be doing involving making your way through dialogue trees. That could have been a major issue had it not been for the outstanding quality of the writing on display here.

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In The Wolf Among Us – Smoke and Mirrors, very little gets resolved. Episode 1 left us with many questions unanswered and, to be honest, those are just added too over the course of episode 2. What answers are given a lapped up gratefully and with relish.

It’s impossible to go in to real details without spoiling the major aspect of the episode – the story. Sufficed to say that this take on a fairytale word really pulls no punches and isn’t afraid to take the story in some pretty dark places. Themes from sexual abuse, human trafficking, forced prostitution and violent sexual exploitation roleplay are all taken in through the course of this episode. Some strong subjects that, despite nudity, never descends into titillation or exploitation.

The Wolf Among Us Episode 2 is short, like 90 minutes short. What it manages to pack into that small time frame does little to progress the story along. What it does do, via some clever rage/risk/reward mechanics is get you to invest in Bigby more. You can either go easy and be a reformed Bigby or unleash the wolf and get your knuckles bloody. The story appears to play out pretty similar but the reactions and general tension of the world around you alters accordingly.

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A few little issues to talk about. The lack of any real progression can mean that when the “Next time…” credit burst on to the screen you feel a little cheated. Some of the dialogue felt a little “jump-cut”. Almost as if some parts were used in the wrong place of the tone/emphasis was off. As well as minimal movement to the main story there was also a real lack of intensity or purpose to Bigby’s exploits. Nothing like the Woodsman scenes in the first episode.

Final Thoughts

The Wolf Among Us Episode 2 – Smoke and Mirrors is fantastic continuation of the series. Setting up the characters a little more. Adding more depth and a sense of ownership to the Bigby character. You also get to indulge in a little more of the overall Fables universe which helps flesh out more of the back story.

Voice work is once again top notch and the script work is just as commendable. Really a great example of the team at Telltale on top form.

Longevity is an issue and some will feel short changed by the lack of story progression during this episode – I guarantee you’ll exclaim “What! Already?” when the traditional (and tbh pretty obvious) cliffhanger kicks in.

So, maybe not as satisfying as the last episode, The Wolf Among Us Episode 2 does manage to draw us in even further with its keen layering of story threads and wonderful use of the licensed world. It all bodes well that Telltale are firmly in control of where this story needs to go and they’re not afraid to execute on the promise the world and characters hold. Roll on episode 3 – just make it less of a gap this time please Telltale!


Zeth

 
Zeth is our EU ninja and Editor in Chief. He's been writing about video games since 2008 when he started on BrutalGamer. He's pretty old and has been a gamer since he played Space Invaders as a young boy in the 80's. His genre tastes lean towards platformers, point-and-click adventure, action-adventure and shooters but he'll turn his hand to anything.