Developer: Telltale Games
Release Date: February 4th, 2014
Available On: Mobile, PC, Playstation 3, Xbox 360
Reviewer’s Note: I played this game on the PC. There may be some differences between versions. This review also contains some spoilers from Episode 1.
After an unusually long wait, made worse by a cliffhanger ending, The Wolf Among Us finally has its second episode show up. The good news is that it was, without a doubt, worth the wait.
Smoke and Mirrors picks up right where Faith left off: Bigby now has a second body on his doorstep and needs to find the murderer before they get a third. He has to follow new leads, new witnesses, and new locations. The game does a great job with each of the characters, with people like Tweedledee/Tweedledum and Holly really starting to come into their own. Appearances from more fable characters, like Bluebeard and Jack, help flesh out the world even more. The game also features the choices you’d come to expect from the series. Do you sympathize with Crane or remind him what a douche bag he’s being? Will you beat the information out of your prisoner, or will you try to show kindness? Each of these choices has an effect on the way the story will pan out. Also, just like Episode 1, Episode 2 ends on another fantastic cliff hanger that has be ready for more.
Gameplay wise there’s nothing too different about Smoke and Mirrors that you didn’t see in a past Telltale game. You’ll still be exploring the environment, interacting with characters, and solving a few light puzzles. You’ll still have to decide how if your actions now will be worth the consequences you may have to face later. Things you did in the first episode still has consequences here, like how you decided to handle the incident with Beauty and Beast. One stand out scene has you interrogating a strip club owner and trying to convince him to give you information that he doesn’t want to share. You’re free to try and talk the information out of him, but you can also go about smashing the stuff in his club until you get what you want. There’s ways to go about either one and both can get results, you just have to see what is more worth your time.
Despite all the similarity there is one noticeable thing lacking from Smoke and Mirrors, and that’s combat. Outside of a single, almost forced, fight scene near the end involving Bigby and Beast you won’t be doing any fighting. Fans of the action may be a little disappointed at this, though it does help keep the story moving and not bog it down too much. Telltale has never really been the best at combat anyway, so this may be a bit of a blessing. Thankfully the one fight did have the reaction times required for entering commands to be lighten up significantly which means I didn’t go through the fight memorizing how to win because I lost so many times. I just hope that future episodes keep up this trend.
The Wolf Among Us – Episode 2: Smoke and Mirrors improves on many things from the first episode. A well written and fun continuation from before, people who are into The Wolf Among Us should be delighted at the way this series is heading.