Review: The Wolf Among Us – Episode 2 – Smoke and Mirrors / Developer: Telltale Games / Publisher: Telltale Games/ Platform: Playstation Vita, Playstation 2, iOS, OS X, Xbox 360, PC / Release Date: Out Now
Carrying directly on from the shocking ending of Episode 1, this latest instalment of The Wolf Among Us keeps what works and changes little. Based upon the Vertigo comic Fables, the game follows the lives of a number of fairy tale characters who have taken refuge in the traditional world. Most fables are a very grimy version of themselves and it soon becomes clear just why Bigby Wolf, sheriff, is required to keep the peace. A job which is becoming tougher with every passing day, especially now a murderer is on the loose.
While Episode 1 helped set the scene, it’s clear that Telltale Games know that the concept itself is the game's greatest strength, with as many fables as possible kept front and centre. That said, the mystery element is nothing to be sneezed at with new revelations coming thick and fast. While obviously leading somewhere, it’s a carefully crafted investigation and allows you a surprising degree of choice. At every turn you’re given a good cop or bad cop route, along with others, and for once even an option to just shut up and see how things play out. Combined with continual hints at how even minor choices could influence those around Bigby, the game gains some replay value by making you want to keep going back and see how things could have played out differently. A very good thing given it’s only about two hours long.
This is the real crux of the problem with this title – it’s only one episode of an ongoing story and there are months between each release. Most will want to replay Episode 1 just so they can remember what happened last time and we could be left waiting another four months for the next one – a serious problem when this is a story-driven title which requires you to remember past choices. Combine that with laughable QTE combat, and few improvements on the original’s failings, and you’re just left wondering why this took so long to see release.
At the end of the day though, it’s consistent with what was in the first episode. It might have all the same weaknesses, but its strengths definitely have not diminished. Pick it up if you’ve enjoyed the tale so far, otherwise start with Episode 1.