Review

The Wolf Among Us Episode 2: Smoke and Mirrors | Review

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Platforms: Windows, Mac OS X, Xbox 360, PS3, IOS and PS Vita
Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games
Rating: M (ESRB), M (ACB), 18 (PEGI)

So, after months of waiting, Episode Two of The Wolf Among us is finally here. I’ve spent the last hour or so playing it and all I have to say is…wow. Things sure escalated quickly, but man was that short!

For those of you who played Episode One of The Wolf Among Us, you’ll recall that our hero, Bigby Wolf, was tracking down suspects for a particularly nasty murder. Unfortunately, by the end of the previous episode, we ended up having more questions than answers. Thankfully things are a little bit clearer now, but there are plenty of questions that need answering, but we’ll leave that for a later date. First, we’ll get the obvious out of the way. As per Telltale Games’ usual methods, the storytelling in The Wolf Among Us Episode Two is fantastic. We played it start to finish in one go; no bathroom breaks, no snacks or anything. The episode is roughly an hour long but it answers plenty of questions that the previous instalment brought up.

Unfortunately, I can’t reveal too much about the story without spoiling it, but what I can tell you is that Bigby ends up finding connections from the prior murders to a missing persons case. This leads Bigby from a seedy bar, to a strip club, and ultimately, to an equally seedy motel where we finally get some solid information on what has been going on in Fabletown. I know this isn’t much to go on, but the story is definitely worth looking into, especially if you intend to go back and play again with different choices.

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One thing that Telltale Games is known for is episodic content that tells a strong story with plenty of choices for the player to make, along with the ability to interact with the world around you to get more information on the overall lore of the universe you are playing in. The first episode of The Wolf Among Us was filled with plenty of interactions all over every area and really made us feel like part of what was going on. The second episode…not so much. There were fewer interaction options in the areas, in fact for the most part the interactions were limited to less than ten in most instances, aside from the very end. There was very little action as well. We know action isn’t a priority in Telltale Games, but it just seemed like there was so much more going on in the previous episode.

Throughout Episode Two, there’s only one major confrontation and the rest is just interrogations where you can play the role of good or bad cop. All together for this episode, we felt more like an observer who occasionally tells Bigby how to treat people. And, as a side note, the consequences of the previous episode are already starting to show in Smoke and Mirrors which always makes things interesting.

Interacting with other characters is one thing that, as always, is quite entertaining. The interface is simple. When prompted, Bigby will have the option of up to four choices: positive, neutral, angry and sometimes humor, accompanying this is some terrific voice acting from the entire Wolf Among Us cast. Not once did the voices of the characters come off as sounding not quite right or awkward, and it’s quickly becoming one of our favourite examples of voice acting in video games today — in particular, Chuck Kourouklis for his top notch portrayal of Mister Toad.

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In terms of graphics, The Wolf Among Us continues its trend of terrific cell shaded goodness. Just like in The Walking Dead series, Telltale managed to create a game that looked like it came right off the pages of the popular graphic novels it’s based on. Everything looks like it’s lovingly drawn by hand before being plastered onto the character models. Unfortunately, that’s where Telltale Games is still working out the kinks. Don’t get me wrong, the character models look great and really fit the overall design of the world that Telltale Games is placing us in, however, the models are still very stiff and don’t always seem to move right, and the lip syncing seemed off during most of our playthrough.

So, is The Wolf Among Us Episode Two worth the months that we’ve been waiting to return to Fabletown? Yes and no, and here’s why. The episode is really short, there’s not much in terms of interaction compared to the previous episode and the character models are still a bit stiff. On the plus side, the story really moves along this time: player choices are starting to show their affects on the overall story arc, the voice acting is solid and the art style is something right out of the Fable comics that the series is based on. For those who have already bought a season pass for The Wolf Among Us, if you care about the story and want to know what happens next, Episode 2: Smoke and Mirrors is a great, though a little short, continuation of the story.

Simon Squire
Simon Squire lives in Nova Scotia Canada and is a member of the Canadian Army. He is a lifelong gamer, and proud owner of an Xbox One, a PS3 and a decent laptop for computer gaming.
Feel free to check out his Blog where he occasionally touches on life as a parent of a child with Autism and where he highlights stories of other special kids at http://g-monkey.livejournal.com/
You can also follow him on twitter @efcfrost or zap him a message on PSN or Xbox Live where his handles for both systems is FallenRAVEN47

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