The Wolf Among Us: Episode 2 Review The Game that Cried ‘Wolf’ The Wolf Among Us: Episode 2 – Smoke and Mirrors Playstation 3 | Telltale Games | February 04, 2014 Smoke and Mirrors, episode two of five, picks up from the cliffhanger of Episode 1 and sets out to elevate the sex, violence and tension of the story – to mixed effects. This is a competent chapter. It is enjoyable to play, pushes the story forward and doesn’t try anything crazy with the mechanics. It also doesn’t attempt anything new or fresh. This feels like a paint-by-numbers episode, good but it probably won’t be the best of the set. During segments of the game, Bigby engages in conversations with returning characters that could almost be alternate drafts from Episode 1. The takeaway is supposed to be that Bigby is a badass and can’t be a good guy in this harsh world. This is more difficult to pull off when the sheriff is threatening tied-up hostages, intimidating children and spends most of his time damaging property. Some characters are introduced almost as a “hey, nudge, nudge. You like so-and-so from the comics.” It is nice to see them, but they don’t offer anything extra. When making the good choices, Bigby is usually less effective at his job. Telltale almost wants you to play a conflicted individual, but don’t worry, even if you always choose the paragon option, all roads lead to the same conclusion. Bigby’s world is dark, dreary and not pretty. There aren’t a lot of classic beauties in this game (just the one Beauty, actually), though the stylistic visuals used to bring them to life is spot on. Telltale’s now-classic shaded graphical engine works within the context of this story. Gamers will see characters for who they truly are, warts (literally) and all. The game itself has a few warts and could use some extra time in the code mines. It is surprising that Telltalle took four months to release the second chapter, with about two hours of gameplay, and it still suffers from bugs. During my playthrough I encountered: an item in Bigby’s hand that wouldn’t disappear, out-of-sync dialogue, clipped frames, long pauses between choice……………..then action, and even a completely frozen machine. The scuttlebutt is that the PC version doesn’t suffer as many glitches, but that doesn’t help me. Smoke and Mirrors is at its best when solving the over-arching mystery that is afoot and exploring new locations. The game is at its worse when the player is going through the same motions as last time; the quick-time-event battles return and feel like a cookie cutter version of the last. Episode 2 is a satisfying story that ultimately pulls some of its punches and might have an obvious twist coming in subsequent chapters (check out the spoilers for a theory). Score: 7.0 /10 + Graphic Style Works + Solid Middle Chapter – Repetitive Story Beats – Glitches Galore Level Up, Friends! Spoiler Inside: Story Elements SelectShow> Episode 1 ends with Snow’s severed head. A powerful shock ending because readers of Fables know that Snow is very much alive. I was hoping this entire series was not a prequel, as advertised, but an Elseworlds story. Turns out Snow is alive and well, which is revealed within the first twenty minutes…kind of making the ending of Episode 1 feel a little cheap. Bigby has a talk with Toad and Toad Jr., which plays out almost exactly like it did before. You revisit the office from the first game and the bar. I’m sure it helps cut down on assets, but it feels slightly lazy. In past Telltale games you never ran into the same area multiple times. The mystery at play is that someone is using a glamour to make people look like Snow and then have sex with them. One of these sessions went too far, hence the severed head. To solve this murder Bigby visits a strip club full of pixelated boobies (which don’t really add anything to the scene and feel like they are there to be ‘darker’ or more adult). The game ends with the big reveal as Bigby discovers a picture of Crane sleeping with the fake-Snow whore. Bigby is convinced that Crane is a dirty bastard and is going after him. Let’s stop and think about this. The “Snow” in the picture is a fake, could there be a possibility that the “Crane” in the picture is also a fake? Even before seeing the preview of Episode 3, which shows Crane holding the same talisman that the fake-Snow carried, I guessed that the “Crane” we saw was an imposture. Time (and Telltale) will only tell.