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The Wolf Among Us – Episode 2: “Smoke and Mirrors” Review



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Posted February 21, 2014 by

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Bill Willingham was the genius behind the Fables comics – a series published by DC Comics’ Vertigo. The comics have been in circulation since the early 2000s, 2002 if you’re feeling the need to be specific, and it was last year that Telltale Games decided to turn the comics into their rendition of an episodic game title. The Wolf Among Us follows the ‘big bad wolf’ – known in the Mundie world as Bigby Wolf, as he tries to solve a murder case. Much like himself, Bigby is surrounded by other fairy tale characters, or “Fables” as their dubbed within The Wolf Among us, that are forced to fit into the real world, blending in with humans – that are referred to as Mundanes or mundies by the Fables. The Wolf Among us serves as a prequel to the comic book, and follows the Fables as they adjust to being displaced from their homeland and deal with the murders occurring around them.



Telltale Games really brought it with the second entry into The Wolf Among Us series. While the first episode of the title was bland in some areas – especially where story was involved, “Smoke and Mirrors” makes up for any faults that “Faith” might have had. The first episode was off to a bit of a slow start, leaving anyone who delved into it wanting more. With “Smoke and Mirrors” the same cannot be said, as the second episode is action packed right from the get go. Despite the story following – what on the surface seems, like your run of the mill ‘who done it’ murder case, but soon after set itself up as something more in depth than that. It’s evident that Telltale Games took inspiration from Emeril himself, and kicked it up a notch. In doing so, “Smoke and Mirrors” has paved the way for the last three episodes to be just as good, faith in Telltale’s ability restored once more.



The Wolf Among Us follows in The Walking Dead’s footsteps by taking on point and click gameplay. While it’s a simplistic take on gaming – perhaps not as interactive as some might like, the meat of The Wolf Among Us lies within its story, allowing for the gameplay to be easy to navigate through. By pressing the A, B, X, Y, LT, or RT players can essentially navigate through the game with ease, only needing to use the analog sticks to direct Bigby around. The biggest downfall that The Wolf Among Us faces is how choppy transitions are from loading screens, or cut scenes to actual gameplay. The lag between one or the other can be a bit of annoyance, especially for when a gamer finds themselves on the edge of the seat – waiting to see what might happen next.





Call me crazy, but it seems that “Smoke and Mirrors” has more vibrance than “Faith” did. Graphics, when it comes to Telltale Games’ rendition of comics turned videogame, have also been something to marvel at. The Wolf Among Us does not falter in following this trend, the graphics of “Smoke and Mirrors” possibly more refined than the first entry into The Wolf Among Us. Some might think the graphics a bit cartoony, but it seems that was Telltale Games’ intention. Instead of giving the gamer something that looks like they’re walking around in the every day world, the player instead feels like they have been implanted into a comic book, being able to flip through its pages with the click of a button, or nudge of an analog stick.



In “Faith”, the first episode of The Wolf Among Us, there were times where the background noises within the title would drown out points of dialogue – something that was a tad bit irritating whether subtitles were on or not. With “Smoke and Mirrors”, that is not the case and the sound within the second episode only enhances one’s gaming experience. The hustle and bustle of New York every day life – the cars driving on the street, horns honking, animals making this or that noise, help to add to the atmosphere Telltale Games was aiming to create for the player. In addition, the dialogue scenes this time around are more clear, and allows for an overall smooth gaming experience within the sound department.





The Wolf Among Us’ first episode “Faith” might have felt like five bucks thrown away, and while that might seem like chump change for some that’s a couple bags of chips, or five dollar menu cheeseburgers. With how lackluster “Faith” felt, it wasn’t that out of the blue that gamers would make the assumption that “Smoke and Mirrors” would be a bit of a let down too. Fortunately for anyone thinking that, the opposite is true. Where “Faith” had a bit of a slow build up, “Smoke and Mirrors” delivers players action from the get go, and introduces plot twists that will either leave gamers with an agape mouth, or shouting “No way!” out loud. Sure, you could buy five Lindor candy bars with five bucks, but this time around the purchase of “Smoke and Mirrors” is worth it.



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