Treading the line between good and evil; something games return to time and time again oftentimes utilizing it as a crutch to propel players forward. With The Wolf Among Us: Episode 2 - Smoke and Mirrors. Telltale Games continues to offer a compelling and unique take on this situation.
Bigby Wolf is not an inherently good character. He's had his past struggles with the Huntsman and many of the other Fables around him. Becoming sheriff of the magical meets mundane city Fabletown doesn't change any of that. Again and again Bigby is put into situations where it's all too easy but to be the bad guy. Telltale has instilled that inner anger into the core of his character and even the most clean hearted players will be tempted to give in and channel that power into answers.
Through a swath of efforts detailed in our review of the first chapter, Faith, the Fables have moved to the city, attempting to live among common everyday humans. Worth it or not, with the rise of murder and crime among the Fables, many are beginning to question if it was a smart decision in the first place.
Complete with laws, rules, and regulations, Bigby continues the struggle to identify the motive and identity of the Fabletown killer. While those around him stand bewildered with how low some of their companions are willing to stoop, Bigby is all but too familiar with the temptation to harm others. Dealing with the emotional fallout of a murder so personal leaves many characters dazed and in a fog. As a result it's all too easy to lose your temper and accidentally lash out.
Whereas the first episode focused more on introductions, Smoke & Mirrors visits some of the seedier places around town. Bars, strip clubs, and questionable hotels are all on the agenda lending some credence to the different classes of Fable life.
Many of Episode One's decisions are yet to be cashed in on, and that's perfectly fine with the emphasis on Bigby's struggle. If the interaction between Beauty and Beast is any way of showing what the future holds there will be plenty of opportunities for Telltale to differentiate each and every playthrough.
Tension mounts throughout the episode culminating in yet another moment that leaves us dying to experience more.
Smoke and Mirrors is full of relationship building, forcing the player to set the tone for the remainder of the campaign. There are a lot of questions in this episode and how you get your answers could leave Bigby with a more humane personality or sculpt him into a monster fueled by rage and vengeance.
There's a war inside of Bigby, that much is clear. And if the preview for Episode Three is to believed, this story is about to go to some dark places. We can't wait to see what's next.
- We're still begging for more.
- More excellent storytelling.
- A little too much time spent on fleshing out relationships.
- Very little results from decisions made in Episode One.
A copy of this content was provided by the publisher for review.