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The Wolf Among Us: Episode 2 - Smoke & Mirrors (PC) artwork

The Wolf Among Us: Episode 2 - Smoke & Mirrors (PC) review

"The metagame is trying to spot all of the characters played by Walking Dead voice actors. I counted 5. "

After nearly four months, the second episode of Telltale's The Wolf Among Us is finally ready to go. This isn't the right place to start if you haven't played Episode 1, of course. In fact, this review will spoil a few things from the first episode, so if you need to catch up, you might want to take a look over here first, and come back to this review later.

It may have been months here in the real world, but Smoke & Mirrors picks up just hours after Faith's climax, with Bigby being questioned by the NYPD about the severed head found on the steps of the Woodlands. This murder is a Fable matter, however, and it's not long before Bigby is back on the case on his own.

From there, the story moves at a surprisingly brisk pace. Certain plot threads from Episode 1 are resolved promptly and satisfactorily (yes, including that one), and replaced by new mysteries. Smoke & Mirrors further explores Fabletown's neglect of the seedier underbelly of the Fable community. You're faced with constant reminders of the poor and downtrodden who are forgotten or ignored. It can't be easy to be chased from your home to a whole new world and to be expected to make a life for yourself. Sadly, not all Fables are treated equally.

Naturally, Episode 2 uses the choices you made in Episode 1 to craft its story. The final major decision you made last time, in particular, has a predictably noticeable impact on an early scene, changing what you learn about the case early in the game. On the other hand, player choices in this episode are mostly relatively minor, including deciding whether to hit one character one time or two times. I didn't exactly have to struggle with that one.

Once again, this episode features characters and locales both from the comics and newly created specifically for the game. Fan favourite Bluebeard makes an appearance, voiced by Dave Fennoy, who voiced Lee in The Walking Dead, which is incredibly distracting. Jack makes a small appearance, seemingly just because you can't have a Fables game without him (for the uninitiated, Jack is the Jack from whatever fairy tale or nursery rhyme popped into your head when you saw his name; he's the star of Jack and the Beanstalk, Jack and Jill, Jack the Giant Killer, plus numerous other stories, and he's every bit as sleazy as you'd expect from such a “Jack of all trades”).

One noteworthy original character is Faith's pimp, Georgie Porgie, who runs a skeevy strip club called the Pudding & Pie. He has a tattoo across his chest that says “Kiss the Girls” and he is simply a delight. Part of the fun of Fables is seeing how these innocent fairy tale characters would turn out on the streets of New York, and so far Telltale is nailing it.

Smoke & Mirrors is a bit lighter on action sequences (like fights and chases) than Faith, but the few that are there are somewhat interesting. In the second half of the game, I found myself holding back and not beating the snot out of a particular character because I felt like I shouldn't be fighting him at all. It's nice to have the option to go easy on someone, even if it means you'll take a few punches.

This second episode of The Wolf Among Us is a bit on the light side, taking about 1.5 to 2 hours to complete, but otherwise, it's a promising entry in the series. If Telltale can manage to get their release schedule in order and keep pumping out episodes of this quality, they'll have another gem on their hands. If you liked Episode 1, you probably already know you want to play Episode 2, and I'm pleased to say you likely won't be disappointed. Here's hoping Episode 3 comes before the summer.


Roto13's avatar
Staff review by Rhody Tobin (February 06, 2014)

Rhody likes to press the keys on his keyboard. Sometimes the resulting letters form strings of words that kind of make sense when you think about them for a moment. Most times they're just random gibberish that should be ignored. Ball-peen wobble glurk.

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