The Wolf Among Us Episode 2: Smoke & Mirrors Review

Things aren’t going well in Fabletown. The hiding place of storybook characters in New York was struck with the tragic death of some of its more notable residents in The Wolf Among Us‘ premiere episode, titled ‘Faith’. The local sheriff, Bigsby Wolf was tasked with handling the case, but things got complicated as they do in any good detective story. Things aren’t what they appear to, as is common in this kind of mystery. He has to dive in even deeper in order to claw out the truth. Sadly for him, Bigsby might not like the answers he manages to find in ‘Smoke & Mirrors’, episode 2 of The Wolf Among Us.

Unlike The Walking Dead‘s Lee, who starts out as an open book that allows you to mold his personality through your decisions throughout that game, Bigsby is already an established character in The Wolf Among Us. He’s the Big Bad Wolf and everyone knows the stories he’s been in. They already have an opinion from the get go. They know he’s evil. It’s in hos name, right? It’s interesting to take different approaches with him than what everyone you talk to expects, even though taking the natural route is still very satisfying but might result in some trouble later on, at some point.

bigbyvsbeastopenarmsAnd boy, do your decisions come back to take a royal bite of your ass in this episode. Side characters take a definite stance after Bigsby’s actions in the first episode, and if you’ve made him to be a cover-up liar between a certain couple, for instance, you’re bound to meet up with wrath. “My” Bigsby is uncharacteristically mild-mannered and only resorts to violence when pushed past the point, so his huff and puff comes down on people who really really piss me off.

With that in mind, it was surprising to see how many of the new characters introduced in ‘Smoke & Mirrors’ almost had me going for that kind of response. Trying not to go into spoilers, you will run into a few established fairy tale protagonists that have since fallen off grace, one in particular that practically begs to meet with the wrong end of Bigsby’s claw. Lucky for him, I mostly controlled my already beloved inner Big Bad Wolf tendencies – because they’re so awesome to see in action in The Wolf Among Us – and let the bastard walk away mostly unscathed.

wolfamongus_puddingandpieThe double-sided nature of Bigsby’s struggle to put his past behind him molds the world around him. It goes so far as to actually surprise himself at moments of restraint or aggressiveness. At times, he’s expected to lash out, and might not, which doesn’t always yield positive results. That’s an obviously vague way to describe how your actions ripple in the overall pond of decisions, granted, in order not spoil the writers’ solutions to developing the story.

‘Smoke & Mirrors’ packs a lot into a shorter episode that clocks in at around an hour and a half of game time. There’s no fluff or filler whatsoever, aside from a handful of character profiles that are added into the ever growing Book of Fables. The game’s admittedly linear. Even though your choices play a heavy part in Bigsby’s interactions, you’ll go to the same places, at just about the same order regardless of how it all plays out. Still, it’s all so well put together that you’ll probably want to go through the game again in order to see just how green the other side of the fence is, story wise.

Telltale is doing an amazing job with The Wolf Among Us so far. And even though ‘Smoke & Mirrors’ leaves you asking more questions by the end than when you started it up, its atmosphere and presence leaves you craving for what’s to come. As short as it is to play through, Episode 2 of The Wolf Among Us carries the season well as we approach the middle mark of this intriguing investigation and more development of Bigsby’s inner struggles.

The wait begins anew.

4stars

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