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The Wolf Among Us: Episode 2 - Smoke & Mirrors
Score: 91%
Publisher: Telltale Games
Developer: Telltale Games
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Adventure

Previously On: The Wolf Among Us:

The Wolf Among Us: Episode 2 - Smoke & Mirrors picks up just after the shocking conclusion to the first episode in this series. In Episode 1: Faith, we were introduced to the world outlined in the graphic novel Fables, where the fairytale stories we grew up on left their worlds and moved to ours for some reason. They have been living among us for years and have been trying to keep a low profile.

You play as Bigby Wolf, the former "Big Bad Wolf" of the stories, and the current sheriff trying to keep the Fable's existence on the down low. Faith was about meeting a Fable not widely known, and when her head shows up on the main high rises' doorstep, Bigby starts his investigation.

Before the episode is up, Bigby will have to make a few key decisions, and like Telltale's The Walking Dead series, those decisions will be remembered and they will have consequences. Before jumping into Episode 2 - Smoke & Mirrors, Bigby has to decide between different investigation routes and eventually chase down one of two possible suspects going in different directions - whichever one you choose is who you are going to question soon after Smoke & Mirrors starts up. That being said, the final scene of Episode 1 is a shocker, and the immediate aftermath of that is Bigby's first task in Episode 2.

Cleanup and Questioning:

With a new head on a doorstep, The Wolf Among Us: Episode 2 - Smoke & Mirrors starts off with Bigby being questioned by the police since he couldn't keep this new death as quiet as he liked. Your job right off the bat is to keep your answers non-descript while trying to figure out some way to keep the Fables' existence from getting out. While I found this to be a slightly shaky start to the episode, it quickly picks up when you get past this chapter and start to question either The Huntsman or Tweedledee (depending on which person you chased in Faith).

Joining you in the basement of the Woodlands Building for your questioning is Assistant Mayor Ichabod Crane and Bluebeard and positioned rather properly behind each shoulder. One, Crane, pushes you to talk and persuade the interviewee for answers, while the other prefers more direct and painful manners of inquisition. Partially because you are Bigby and partially because this is a Telltale game, you get to choose how you want to "ask" your questions - just remember, people will hear about how you treat him and people remember your decisions beyond just the current scene, or even episode.

Just when you get to the bottom of your interrogation, how ever you might be going by it, you get interrupted as you learn that the body fitting the found head has been recovered and your next phase in the investigation really begins.

Following the Clues:

The Wolf Among Us: Episode 2 - Smoke & Mirrors' last half is all about keeping your eyes open and putting the pieces together. As you investigate the body, you pick up a few items that will help you finally learn who the killer is. Your first step after the examination is back to the Clap Trap where you not only have to tell a few hard truths, but deal with the aftermath of your fight with Grendel the night before.

From there, you learn about a strip club run by Georgie Porgie called the Pudding & Pie where a lot of down-on-their-luck Fables find they have to work in order to get a little extra income. Moreover, you learn that it isn't just a strip club and many of the girls use the location as a way to get more "personal" clientele.

Before the episode is over, you will meet a few more Fables, get into a fight with Beast after he sees you with Beauty and finally, find the crime scene that led to the previous episode's shocking conclusion. Using what you've learned and picked up in the episode, you need to piece together exactly what happened and what the motivation behind the killings is. Much like last episode, Smoke & Mirrors' final scene is bound to have major repercussions over the rest of the series.

Next Time On: The Wolf Among Us:

So what's going to happen after The Wolf Among Us: Episode 2 - Smoke & Mirrors? The episode is called "A Crooked Mile" and while I'm sure Bigby will go after the killer, the name is a reference to The Crooked Man - a person mentioned briefly in Episode 2. Based on the clips shown after completing this episode, it looks like we get to see Bigby truly wolf out (as opposed to the hairier and teethier version we've seen so far) and it also looks like how well you treated your prisoner during the interrogation will also come to fruition in the next episode.

I enjoyed the first episode of The Wolf Among Us, and while I haven't read any of the Fables comics yet, I feel like these characters have a lot of dimension to them. Smoke & Mirrors only helps to reinforce that feeling as we get to see a much darker side of Fabletown and we even get a bit of a hint inside Bigby's detective prowess, though I have to say the clues pretty much fall into place for him/us - but he/we still had to observe them.

While the season still has three episodes to go, so far, it is turning out to be a fun and dark ride - provided the following releases don't take an unexpected downturn, The Wolf Among Us is looking to be a game to remember.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

Related Links:

Microsoft Xbox 360 The Wolf Among Us: Episode 2 - Smoke & Mirrors Sony PlayStation 3 The Last of Us: Left Behind

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