The first episode of The Wolf Among Us was certainly a very fine string to Telltale Games‘ already impressive bow, and Smoke & Mirrors takes us even deeper into the clandestine, noir depths of Fabletown. You don’t so much play The Wolf Among Us as participate in it, but it’s an experience you won’t soon forget. The characters, despite being plucked straight from the pages of Brothers Grimm, have intriguing depth and personality and their plights will leave you wanting more insight into the rugged fairytale necropolis. I played episode 2 on the Xbox 360 and while there are one or two lingering frame rate issues it did little to diminish the charm and the urge to push the story on.
If you haven’t read DC Comic’s Fables comic series then you should certainly spend some time with it. The Wolf Among Us takes these characters and brings them to life in an all new murder-mystery tapestry like something right out of David Lynch. Smoke & Mirrors sees us continue Bigby Wolf’s investigation into the murdering of Faith and Snow (White) with a surprising plot twist right off the bat. The same simple game mechanics are present but the genius of the game lies with its story telling and excellent character dialogue. The Wolf Among Us borrows a lot from the decision driven story telling that made Telltale’s The Walking Dead such a hit with fans, but, for me, it pulls it off even more perfectly.
The game looks exquisite. Out of the box the graphics seem fairly run of the mill but once you start playing you realise how sharp and engaging they are, offering up a delicious colour palette of velvets and neons, the heavy outlines emphasising the dark forces rife in the town.
“You don’t so much play The Wolf Among Us as participate in it, but it’s an experience you won’t soon forget.”
One of the highlights of Smoke and Mirrors, and something which defines the series so far, is how far the player is willing to go to preserve Bigby’s humanity. The quicktime button-mashing fighting sequences are well choreographed, but the real buzz is the ultimate control you have over events – how far will you go to solve the case? How will you interrogate your witness? Of course, the chapter will close in much the same way for all players, but with The Wolf Among Us it’s all about the journey and how the small decisions you make will alter the story and character interactions further down the line.
If you played Episode 1: Faith then Episode 2: Smoke & Mirrors is a no brainer. While it’s short (took me around 2 hours to complete) and relatively uneventful in the grand scheme of things, there are some revelations which leave you with a real sense of ‘what next?!’. Let’s just hope Telltale Games don’t make us wait another 3 months for Episode Three. In the meantime we can all enjoy Episode 2 of The Walking Dead which should have a release date soon.