The Wolf Among Us, Episode Two: Smoke and Mirrors

FTC Statement: Reviewers are frequently provided by the publisher/production company with a copy of the material being reviewed.The opinions published are solely those of the respective reviewers and may not reflect the opinions of or its management.

As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. (This is a legal requirement, as apparently some sites advertise for Amazon for free. Yes, that's sarcasm.)

Telltale Games has, undoubtedly, been working their way up the ladder in the gaming industry within the last two years. Their innovative point and click adventures never cease to amaze with their stunning atmospheres, unique characters, and usage of dramatic and very consequential decision making that keeps you holding your breath until the very end. Now, after a nearly four month wait, the second installment to the newest franchise that the company has to offer has finally arrived. With the cliff hanger ending that left players’ jaws hanging back in October, there was no doubt that this much anticipated game would bring some heavy hitting content.

‘Smoke and Mirrors’ continues the story of Detective Bigby Wolf (The Big Bad Wolf) as he, amongst other outcast fairy tale characters, also known as “Fables,”  gathers evidence of a serial murder case in the slums of Manhattan. The emotions are high as the “Fables” live in fear, knowing that anyone can be a target in this gruesome story. Personal interactions  with beloved and notorious characters such as Snow White, Belle and Beast, Ichabod Crane, Bluebeard and many more, force you to make time based decisions that will either give you the reputation as a thoughtful detective or a violent beast, willing to burn any bridge to solve the case. These decisions will also play a huge role in the outcome of the story, and trust me, they come in abundance and aren’t always easy to make.

While playing through the roughly two-hour long game, the central plot does very little progressing, but this isn’t a deal breaker.  Instead, ‘Smoke and Mirrors’ worked with the information that was given in the pilot episode, ‘Faith,’ and provides you with a multitude of reasons to look at the story in a different light. Using the strict, often time sensitive, decision making system that the game provides you with, I left no stones unturned. I would check certain pieces of evidence multiple times to hear all that Bigby has to say about them, ask subjects every question that I was able to be ask, and did all I could to be a kind, level headed detective. These decisions ultimately paid off greatly in the last moments of the episode, where most of the plot progression is made, and it never felt like I was hopelessly dragging my feet to get there. In fact, I was shocked to find out that I had already finished the episode. With the slew of options provided throughout the game, replay value is top notch, making you wonder what would have happened if you went a more thoughtful or even more violent route.

Though the game provided me with an up close and personal story, a beautiful comic-esque art style combined with saturated neon purples, pinks, and blues, along with well written character development, the game mechanics were plagued with petty bugs. This, unfortunately, isn’t anything new for Telltale games in the recent past, leaving you with broken “Previously On” recaps and stuttering cut scenes. I’m currently playing through the series on Xbox 360 and have found myself, on numerous occasions, patiently waiting for scenes to catch up with the audio. These problems would never pull me away from the story, but they are never easily ignored. If you are looking for a more refined version of the game, I would highly recommend looking into the PC version. Though the game will still have its points of lag, the occurrences will be tightened up and easier to shrug off.

After much anticipation, Telltale Games has, yet again, provided us with another very well written story that puts you in complete control of its lead protagonist, allowing you to construct a one-of-a-kind experience. Along with the ever-changing characters, gorgeous art style, and a unique soundtrack, it’s easy to get lost in the “Fables” universe, feeling responsible for the lives of its inhabitants. If you can handle an occasional hiccup during the more technical aspects of the journey, ‘Smoke and Mirrors’ is not to be missed out on. 

4.0 / 5.0

More by this author