The Wolf Among Us: Episode 2Written by: / / 8 Comments
Spoiler Warning: While it is our intent to avoid them, the text below may or may not contain spoilers for the story of The Wolf Among Us. We recommend playing through the first episode of the series (or simply read our review of that episode) before continuing on below.
What You Need to Know
The Wolf Among Us: Episode 2 is the second entry to a five-part series of adventure games based on the world seen in the Fables comic book series and set in Fabletown, a section of New York City hidden away from regular humans to act as a safe haven for all kinds of magical creatures and fabled characters including Beauty and the Beast, Snow White, Ichabod Crane, Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee, and many more, all disguised as humans with a special charm called ‘Glamours.’
Playing as Bigby Wolf (known in a previous life as The Big Bad Wolf), you act as the sheriff of Fabletown, which ordinarily means keeping the peace and policing the residents by making sure they’re keeping themselves hidden with Glamours, but after a string of murders it’s up to Bigby and the local investigation agency to discover the motives of what appears to be a serial killer on the loose.
Using Telltale Games’ dialogue system pioneered in games like The Walking Dead (and other titles including Mass Effect and Alpha Protocol), interviewing suspects and chatting with the locals to get leads and find clues is always a tense endeavour with a few dialogue options to choose from, each with their own consequences on the story and characters, and each of them on a timer to ensure you choose quickly.
Searching for clues in crime scenes is a simple matter of moving Bigby around a room and interacting with items that look interesting or suspicious, while brief action sequences play out from time to time to cleanse the gameplay palette which usually involve button mashing to get out of a death grip from an assailant, or require you to move a reticle over a target and then hit a button to smash an enemy’s head in with a chair.
The second episode of The Wolf Among Us introduces a few new characters important to the story including Bluebeard (a well-to-do businessman and Fabletown benefactor with shady motives) and Georgie Porgie (owner of the local Fabletown strip club, Pudding and Pie, and all-round greaseball).
We also get to find out more about Holly the troll and the existence of black market magics, while discovering what Beauty has been hiding from Beast since the first episode of the series, too.
What’s the Same?
The progression and gameplay in The Wolf Among Us: Episode 2 is similar to Episode 1, with a crime scene to investigate and characters to interview, although there are no split decisions to make that impact the path of the story in the future, as seen in Episode 1 when choosing which character to help first (Mr. Toad or Prince Lawrence) and who to pursue at the end (The Woodsman or Tweedle Dee… or maybe it was Dum…).
You’ll Enjoy The Wolf Among Us Episode 2 You Liked…
… The Wolf Among Us: Episode 1.
… Telltale’s The Walking Dead adventure game series.
… making conversation decisions on-the-fly in Mass Effect or Alpha Protocol.
What I Liked
– 4.) Despite there not being any split decisions to make, there are still opportunities to play through conversations diplomatically or more forcefully.
– 3.) Seeing a good recap of events from the previous episode, complete with the consequences of my results, was a great way to catch up on the story.
– 2.) The quality voice acting and performances still hold up in Episode 2.
– 1.) As expected, the artstyle of The Wolf Among Us is just as strong in Episode 2 – it truly does look like a stylised noir comic book in motion.
Although not as satisfying as the best scenes from episode one, piecing together Episode 2’s main crime scene was still enjoyable, and even as the clues were fed to me, the reality of the situation was sufficiently creepy and horrific when it dawned on me what was going on.
What I Didn’t Like
– 5.) I would have liked there to be at least one split decision to make in Episode 2 of the series to see how I could affect the flow of the story in the future – I played through Episode 1 twice in a row in one sitting simply because I wanted to find out how the narrative would change.
– 4.) The game runs rather poorly on PS3 and Xbox 360, with stutters between scenes and slowdowns during more taxing environments – the rough cuts and transitions in-between scenes were very noticeable in what I would like to be a smooth interactive narrative experience.
– 3.) The limitations of Telltale Games’ adventure game technology seemed to show up more often than I’ve seen in the past – despite the excellent vocal performances, the on-screen models aren’t up to the task of displaying the same level of emotion with their body language, gestures and facial expressions.
– 2.) On a few occasions, the responses from characters weren’t equal to my choices and actions, most notably when I was berated for using force when I didn’t, and being questioned why I didn’t agree with someone when I did.
– 1.) Episode 2 not only feels a lot shorter than Episode 1, but also not nearly as fleshed out with a few loose ends from the first episode being tied up very quickly and not very satisfactorily (well, to me anyway).
Least Favourite Moment
Feeling as though my console was on the verge of a system crash between transitions while waiting for the game to load into the next scene.
The Wolf Among Us Episode 2 – Smoke and Mirrors Launch Trailer
There are new entries to the Fables book to earn and get background information on the characters and special items you’ve found.
The Bottom Line
The Wolf Among Us: Episode 2 is disappointing in terms of scope and technical execution, but the intrigue of the story and the vibrant world of Fabletown is just as compelling as the incredibly strong start seen in Episode 1.
The Wolf Among Us Episode 2 – Smoke and Mirrors was reviewed on PlayStation 3