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The Wolf Among Us: Episode 2 - Smoke and Mirrors (Video Game Review)

Telltale Games has announced the release of the second episode of The Wolf Among Us series titled Smoke and Mirrors. The new episode continues the storyline presented in the October release. It's been a long wait for fans of the new video game series, but the patience is rewarded with another great release for the storyline. The game offers improvements in gameplay due to the new consequences presented that forces players to more carefully choose how they react to situations in the current episode. Problems persist in the new episode such as the lag and graphical issues that seem to be a part of all Telltale Games release, but it's hardly enough to keep players from enjoying the game in one or more playthroughs.

The Wolf Among Us is based on the iconic Fables comic series and stars Bigby Wolf as the sheriff of Fabletown. The events of Smoke and Mirrors picks up very shortly after the closing moments of Faith. The episode mostly focuses on the aftermath of the first episode, and it doesn't introduce as many characters but instead allows players to see the results of their actions in the original game while introducing some new choices. As such, The Wolf Among Us feels much more like a filler episode of your favorite television show rather less important plot points that other releases. This doesn't keep the game from being enjoyable, but it obviously makes the anticipation for the third episode even more extreme than the wait for Smoke and Mirrors.

Some of the character interactions in the new episode of The Wolf Among Us include questioning the Woodsman and his involvement of the events of the first release, learning what is going on between Beauty and The Beast and meeting a new character that owns a local strip club. The game is still plenty gritty and deals with some very serious issues affecting these classic children's tales characters. Players who are familiar with the Fables comic series won't be disappointed with the new narrative that introduces some very important characters for the series going forward.

The Wolf Among Us features the same gameplay Telltale game series are known for. The game focuses on dialogue and choosing how to react to certain situations. Smoke and Mirrors features plenty of intense scenes where players can react with violence or choose to be more passive. The flow of the game is based on player's action and can cause other characters to treat Bigby like an enemy or be very helpful for progressing in the game. Most situations give four choices in dialogue that range from being a jerk to trying to be nice to other characters or not responding at all. Characters remember how Bigby talks to them, so it's important to remember this with each choice in the game. There are other puzzles that require players to find items in the environment or fights that can play out in different ways depending on what items are used or which actions are ignored.

All of this combines to create an entertaining experience where players are allowed to play the game at their own pace and make Bigby the character they envision. The game encourages multiple playthroughs with the amount of options that can change the way certain scenarios unfold. Smoke and Mirrors does a good job of actually making the choices made in Faith really matter for the new storyline. We were able to go back and revisit the first episode and make different decisions to see how they change the storyline in the second episode, and the results were actually more pivotal than what has been seen in The Walking Dead series. The minor improvements make The Wolf Among Us a much more enjoyable experience that will hopefully be carried over to future Telltale Games releases.

The Wolf Among Us sees the return of the same great presentation that made the first release such a unique experience. The characters and world look great with cel-shaded graphics that easily compare with The Walking Dead series and may actually look better by comparison. The game series uses a completely different color scheme that features bright, neon colors that present a completely different atmosphere for players to enjoy. The game's voice actors return to give some strong performances in the release, and there are a couple of good themes in the game as well. A few camera problems, lag and graphic glitches exist in the game but are pretty much expected in Telltale Games titles at this point.

The Wolf Among Us: Episode 2 - Smoke and Mirrors is a great release for the series that continues the narrative inspired by the Fables series and presents some minor improvements. The game still has issues and the new storyline isn't the best the developer has produced, but it still offers enough entertaining moments to not detract away from the enjoyment of the game series. The wait for the third episode of The Wolf Among Us should be even more intense than the wait for the release of Smoke and Mirrors after seeing some improvements made to the choices made in the first episode, but the new episode provides a couple of hours of great entertainment that is a must own for fans of the series.

The Wolf Among Us is now available for download on PlayStation Network, Xbox LIVE Arcade and Steam. The Wolf Among Us is rated M by the ESRB for Intense Violence, Blood and Gore, Sexual Themes, Partial Nudity, Strong Language & Use of Alcohol and Tobacco. For more information on the game, check out the official The Wolf Among Us website.

Game Features:
  • Single Players
  • Based on Fables Comic Series
  • Branching Narrative
  • DLC Support
  • Trophy/Achievement Suport

Game Information:
Developer & Publisher: Telltale Games
Platforms: PlayStation Network, Xbox LIVE Arcade (reviewed) & Steam
Release Date: February 5, 2014

Score: 8 out of 10
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