The Wolf Among Us Episode 2: Smoke & Mirrors Review: Story-Driven

While the first episode of “The Wolf Among Us” is full of quick time events and action scenes, the second one leans more towards dialogue. The decisions themselves are also a bit drier. Unlike the first episode, the vast majority of the players picked one choice over another. All this allows for the story to focus on the lovable big bad wolf.

Starting up where the climactic and heart wrenching first episode ended, Bigby Wolf (Voiced by Adam Harrington) continues his investigations into the possible serial killer that haunts Fable Town in the second episode of The Wolf Among Us, Smoke and Mirrors. Staying true to their calling, Telltale proceeds to astonish us with its ability to throw us into a fantasy world and make us care about it.

Filled with more twists and more side story development, episode two brings us back to the noir themed NYC akin to Chicago in The Dresden Files Novels. You once again play as the likeable Big Bad Wolf while he follow clues and interrogates uncooperative denizens of Fable Town. You visit all the same characters from the first episode and have run ins with some new ones.

This time around the game doesn’t feel anywhere near as fast paced as the first episode. Which may be a positive for some. Less action means less, some would say dreaded, quick time events. The investigation and interaction with the residents takes the front stage. Unlike QTEs from The Walking Dead, if you mess up here, you aren’t instantly killed. It just becomes part of the story. Getting hit isn’t the end of the world.

In one scene, you might even want to lose the QTE. While the action scenes are few and far in between, the decision to go through with them or not feels more impactful.

The writing is as emotionally wrenching as ever. Telltale does what it does best and makes you think about your decisions. Will you get angry or keep your cool? There are times where someone who is immersed will definitely feel the emotions being thrown around. The writing is extremely captivating. The episode covers some gruesome topics, including torture, childhood trauma, drug addiction, prostitution and trafficking. The narrative also delves deeper into the human aspect of these fables and how they adapt to the world we live in.

It’s clear that your decisions from the first episode are present in the second. From broken scenery, to some of the characters reactions (or maybe that’s just the immersion talking), the game reminds you of your previous indiscretions.

The cliffhanger from the second episode was nowhere near as powerful and jaw dropping as the first one. It isn’t even that surprising if you’ve been paying attention. Some might say it’s thrown in your face off the bat. Overall the episode does what the first one did, if with a little less umph, it makes you want more.

The downside to this episode is that it’s extremely short. Lasting only about an hour, the window into our souls closes almost as soon as it opens. This isn’t that big a deal if you purchased the game on steam, since that price includes the entire season, but the four-month wait for such a short episode is a bit out of fashion for Telltale. Telltale’s The Walking Dead season one episodes were released every two months and each was longer than Smoke and Mirrors. Then again season two of the walking dead has also not been released and the two-month date is almost up.

We will have to wait and see how this fantastic story unfolds in the future. This episode, while short, is still a couple steps forward in the story and has developed our favorite characters further. A major side-story arc comes to fruition and we get to insight into how the fables that don’t hate or fear Wolf view him.

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