Game Reviews

The Wolf Among Us - Episode 2, Smoke and Mirrors

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| The Wolf Among Us
The Wolf Among Us - Episode 2, Smoke and Mirrors
| The Wolf Among Us

In the last six months, I've played two games with torture scenes.

I watched the one in Grand Theft Auto V through the gaps in my fingers, as certified maniac Trevor pulled out some poor sap's teeth and water-boarded him with gasoline. I was forced to participate if I wanted to see the rest of the story.

The one in the Wolf Among Us's second episode happened very differently. For me, at least. While I was given the choice to beat, burn, and injure my victim, I didn't. I got my answers through pacifism and pressing, not my fists and a broken bottle.

Like many choices in The Wolf Among Us, this is ultimately a hollow one. Events will play out in much the same way for everyone, and we'll all end up at the exact same cliffhanger ending, whether we play good cop or bad cop in this interrogation scene.

Tell me what I want to know

You might go down a few different paths, or see scenes play out differently, or in a shuffled up order, or with entirely different characters are slotted into scenes. But if these two episodes are any indication, this isn't a series where two players' plot synopses can spiral away from each other until they're utterly unrecognisable.

Instead, your choices have more subtle effects on the game. Ripples instead of waves. Your relationships with other characters are affected by your actions, and twisting the variables can have a small but surprising impact on events.

But while all paths eventually converge, and while most choices are - in the grand scheme of things - meaningless, Telltale does a good job of making it feel like you have some agency and lets you inhabit the character.

Blow your house down

That character being Bigby - the big bad wolf from Red Riding Hood, now a town sheriff in a city filled with old fairytale heroes and villains using magic drugs to hide their fantasy appearance.

Episode two inches us along in the grand season-long murder plot, and like most detective shows little progress is made at this early stage in the investigation.

Aside from the interrogation scene we get a few crime scenes, a few witnesses to question, a body to inspect, a few quick-time event brawls for good measure. There's one detective-like deduction scene, but it is insultingly straightforward.


Overall it's a brief, often unsatisfying stepping stone that simply fails to live up to the promise of the first episode. That's especially grating when it's a more than a month overdue.

The cast is expanded a little, at least. Bluebeard is a torture expert, Jack Horner makes a fleeting appearance, and Georgie Porgie is a foul-mouth Geordie working at the Pudding and Pie strip joint.

Taken in isolation, this episode is a bit of a drawn-out dud. It's not as sharp, surprising, or malleable as episode one. Ultimately, Telltale's got a lot of ground to make up if it wants to bring back the pace and excitement of the debut.

The Wolf Among Us - Episode 2, Smoke and Mirrors

Episode 2 isn't as well written or sharply plotted as the pilot, and your choices feel more hollow than ever. Telltale's got its work cut out if it wants to restore the season's energy