The Wolf Among Us Episode 2: Smoke and Mirrors Review

The premier episode of The Wolf Among Us felt almost like it could be a narratively complete story. With a strong opener, several big set pieces and a gut-wrenching finale, it was an excellent first act. Episode 2 is dependent not only on its prequel for context, but on the next chunk of this narrative for a clean resolution. It can’t be anything other than an incomplete work. That’s not necessarily a problem, but the wait between the first two pieces of this pentalogy clocked in at a full three months. With such a long stretch, I found I had forgotten quite a few of the finer plot details, and the opening recap didn’t help as much as much as it probably should have.

It’s hard not to recommend that potential buyers wait until the season finishes so they can play each episode at their leisure. It’s strange that I find myself recommending that, though, because it flies directly in the face of what Telltale’s goals seem to be. Perhaps that means I’ve fully bought into our modern “binge” culture.

Regardless, Telltale promises that the wait won’t be as long for Episode 3, and if that holds up I might be more ready to give this my unqualified endorsement. That’s the risk with episodic gaming, however. Television never carries with it the promise of quality, regardless of what your personal investment may be. It does however; guarantee a new bit of content every week.

Pros:

  • Aggressive social commentary is a breath of fresh air
  • Decently mixes up play from previous episode
  • We get a different perspective on many of the characters in tumultuous situations
  • Visual style is well-developed and gives the art team a chance to show it can keep up with the series’ writers

Cons:

  • Lackluster recap
  • Shorter than Episode 1

Final Score: 80/100


Game Front employs a 100-point scale when reviewing games to be as accurate about the experience as possible. Read the full rundown of what our review scores mean.

Join the Conversation   

* required field

By submitting a comment here you grant GameFront a perpetual license to reproduce your words and name/web site in attribution. Inappropriate or irrelevant comments will be removed at an admin's discretion.

3 Comments on The Wolf Among Us Episode 2: Smoke and Mirrors Review

Name*

On February 4, 2014 at 10:11 pm

I have no problem telling people why I like Telltale’s walking dead and TWAU so much. The art design, interesting characters, pacing and choices keep me invested

Swine Flew

On February 5, 2014 at 1:09 am

I like Walking Dead and Wolf Among Us because there’s no pretentiousness. Sure, they can be sad at times and in some cases the balance might be too much in favour of that, but there’s nothing as emotionally manipulative and artistically dishonest as the sort of crap you have to endure in, say, a Quantic Dream game where every scene has someone spontaneously start crying and you’re supposed to feel bad for them on that incredibly artificial basis instead of any engagement with the story, or the ending of Mass Effect 3 where there’s absolutely nothing you can relate to and you’re supposed to accept that it’s a big decision that only you have the power to make simply because some little knob jockey tells you so. Telltale games are all centred around the characters that you become attached to. They don’t try to make things more important than they are, they keep it contained, and in doing so it makes you care about them more than any amount of half-baked theology and grandiose terminology ever could. Plus, the choices you make actually mean something, even though they’re still binary and more limited than they first appear (if you have the option of saving someone’s life or letting them die, you can rest assured they’re going to die in a later episode anyway), and they mean something because they affect people that you can identify with instead of blanket ideas and wish fulfilment of plot.

That said, I hope the success of these games (and the impending Game of Thrones game that will kick all the arse) doesn’t prevent Telltale from still making some of their more lighthearted titles like Sam and Max. I also enjoyed Back to the Future, still hold out hope for a PAL disk release of Jurassic Park, and even quite liked the CSI games which honestly felt like a pretty in-depth police investigation and didn’t have to rely on sudden bouts of violence like LA Noire did in order to keep players entertained. I’d hate to see a situation where Telltale no longer experiments and instead just sticks with the maudlin because it’s been successful in the past. I don’t like Telltale games because they’re sad, I like them because they can successfully create and maintain a range of tones.

Cumt

On February 19, 2014 at 3:59 am

What was wrong with the recap? I thought it was pretty effective. The only major anomaly was not mentioning that Snow White’s head had been cut off, which would be like the Game of Thrones recap for Mhysa not mentioning the red wedding. But other than that, it was ok. Besides which, they decided Snow White wasn’t really dead anyway, so it didn’t matter. Bit of a lame reset-switching-hitting exercise mind you, I wondered what the point of killing her was anyway since she’s a major part of the comics. But whatever.

What was a bit annoying, though, was that the teaser for episode two ended up only having minimal relevance to what we actually received in episode two. Understandable given how long it took to make, maybe, but a bit disorientating. In fact, one of the bits from the episode two teaser (Bigby transforming and what sounds like Toad or one of the Tweedle brothers asking if it was really him) didn’t happen in the second episode and was just placed into the teaser for the third one!