The Wolf Among Us - Episode 2: Smoke and Mirrors


By: Matthew Codd    On: PlayStation 3
Published: Saturday 15 Feb 2014 11:01 AM
 
 
 
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It’s been a long and agonising wait for the next part of Telltale Games’ take on the Fables comic book series, especially after the tense cliffhanger that the first episode finished on. I’ve lost count of how many times I typed “The Wolf Among Us episode 2 release date” into Google, and that in itself is telling of how well the first chapter managed to sink its claws into me.

The longer-than-expected wait is finally over, and episode two - Smoke and Mirrors - is finally with us. I’m pleased to report that it’s lived up to - and perhaps even surpassed - the game’s stellar debut last year.

Most striking about Smoke and Mirrors is its focus on a continuous plot. While the first season of The Walking Dead had an overarching narrative, each individual episode was, for the most part, self contained. Judging from Smoke and Mirrors - which picks up right where Faith left off and carries on as though there was never a break in between - Telltale are going in a different direction with The Wolf Among Us.

Doing this with an episodic game could have been a risky move, especially given the unexpected delays between the first two episodes, but Wolf undoubtedly benefits. The continuity allows for a more intricate plot than a standard episodic structure would allow, and means that events can play out in an organic fashion, without needing to be cut short due to time constraints.

As you might expect from Telltale, though, it’s the writing that makes Smoke and Mirrors truly brilliant. Maybe it’s because I’ve been on a Sherlock Holmes kick lately, but I can’t help but compare the script to BBC’s Sherlock and CBS’s Elementary TV shows - it masterfully combines the complex and intriguing criminal plots of the former with the deeply human character growth of the latter. The murder mystery gets eminently thicker, while the seeds of Bigby’s internal conflict and relationships with the rest of the cast sown in Faith begin to grow.

Smoke and Mirrors is more conversation focused than the episode before it, with only one action scene, and this is to the episode’s credit. Like I said before, the strength of The Wolf Among Us is in its writing, and the sparse use of action scenes allows that to shine through.

Additionally, given that combat in the game essentially boils down to quick-time events, throwing in extra fighting and chases for the sake of appealing to the trigger-happy masses would quickly undermine the rest of the game. The rare use of physical conflict also means that it’s more impactful when it is present, and this is something I’d like to see more developers catch on to.

Smoke and Mirrors still suffers from the mechanical flaws of the first game, and particularly struggles with frame rate drops around scene changes, but these are minor annoyances in an otherwise top-notch episode that ups the ante for a game that had already gotten off to a great start. The release schedule alongside The Walking Dead: Season Two might condemn The Wolf Among Us to sit in the shadow of its big brother, but if it continues along the path its on, this could easily be Telltale’s best game this year.


The Score

The Wolf Among Us
"The plot gets thicker"
9.5
Excellent
Rating: R16   Difficulty: Easy   Learning Curve: 5 Min

 

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Comments (10)

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BlakeyNZ NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Saturday 15 Feb 2014 11:33 AM Posted by BlakeyNZ
I really wish they would fix the season pass issue already
 
 
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piratemonkey NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Saturday 15 Feb 2014 12:00 PM Posted by piratemonkey
15 February 2014, 11:33 AM Reply to BlakeyNZ
I really wish they would fix the season pass issue already
You still can't download it via season pass? I was messaged a code to download it from microsoft
 
 
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ALK3MiST NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Saturday 15 Feb 2014 2:03 PM Posted by ALK3MiST
this so far is brilliant. it gets me so hyped to know they're doing borderlands and game of thrones
 
 
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LukeB NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Saturday 15 Feb 2014 2:38 PM Posted by LukeB
I have this game waiting for me to play... but I also have the Titanfall Beta downloading which should be finished soon... talk about first world gamer problems :P
 
 
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LeftoversNZ NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Saturday 15 Feb 2014 3:35 PM Posted by LeftoversNZ
15 February 2014, 02:38 PM Reply to LukeB
I have this game waiting for me to play... but I also have the Titanfall Beta downloading which should be finished soon... talk about first world gamer problems :P
haha, dam those first world problems. Be good to hear your thought on the beta.
 
 
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BlakeyNZ NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Saturday 15 Feb 2014 5:48 PM Posted by BlakeyNZ
15 February 2014, 12:00 PM Reply to piratemonkey
You still can't download it via season pass? I was messaged a code to download it from microsoft
I just got my download code! Will be playing tonight
 
 
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democracy_savvy NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Saturday 15 Feb 2014 6:16 PM Posted by democracy_savvy
Loving the series alot more than the walking dead
 
 
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grdwalker NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Saturday 15 Feb 2014 7:38 PM Posted by grdwalker
i was pleasantly surprised early on in this episode due to the twist of events that transpired at the end of the first episode.
 
 
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BlakeyNZ NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Sunday 16 Feb 2014 9:34 AM Posted by BlakeyNZ
I completed this last night and must say how awesome it is, I tell everybody i know to at least try it. 3 of them are hooked on this and the walking dead now. Review was pretty spot on aswell
 
 
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Bappernz NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Monday 17 Feb 2014 10:05 PM Posted by Bappernz
will have to go get this now, cheers for the informative review NZG
 
 
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