Wolf Among Us Episode 2 Smoke and Mirrors - reviews
Episode two of hard-boiled murder mystery game takes players deeper into the murky world of Fabletown
What you need to know
The second episode of the comic-book style murder mystery videogame The Wolf Among Us, titled Smoke and Mirrors, has been released in the UK. The five part game from the creators The Walking Dead is based on DC Comics Vertigo/Fables comic book series.
The game combines elements of hard-boiled thriller with characters from myths and fables. In episode one Faith, players took on the role of Bigby Wolf, the Big Bad Wolf in human form and Sherriff of Fabletown, as he tried to solve a brutal murder. In Smoke and Mirrors Bigby follows a trail of clues that suggest he has a serial killer on his hands.
What the critics like
Episode two is a great second act that "elevates the stakes to the next level", says Marty Sliva on IGN. In a world bathed in a beautiful neon color palette, Smoke and Mirrors dives deeper into your bond with Bigby and its 90 minutes are packed with memorable characters and scenes, and some agonizing decisions.
"Violence is easy to come by in The Wolf Among Us", says Justin McElroy on Polygon. But while it is satisfying in most games, in Smoke and Mirrors that satisfaction is replaced by guilt at the emotional toll it takes on our hero as the game seems to ask: "How far will you go to preserve your humanity?"
Episode two picks up minutes after the previous installment's cliffhanger, and "settles into something more procedural", says Justin Clark on Slant. Its greatest success is in giving the player a lot more freedom to steer the game, as well as dragging them kicking and screaming into something more tonally murky than the first episode lets on.
What they don't like
The storytelling is up to Telltale's usual standards, "but waiting three months for such a short and relatively uneventful episode is unavoidably anticlimactic", says David Jenkins of Metro. When the whole season is complete nobody's going to say this was their favourite episode, but in context it will hopefully feel like a necessary and enjoyable bridge to the more fulfilling later chapters.