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The Wolf Among Us Episode 2: Smoke and Mirrors review for PC

Platform: PC
Also On: XBLA, PSN, iOS
Publisher: Telltale Games
Developer: Telltale Games
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: M

It’s taken a bit longer than any of us would have liked for the second episode to Telltale Games The Wolf Among Us, but thankfully this week the wait is over for patient fans. This episode is dubbed “Smoke and Mirrors”, for reasons that’ll become evident after the first 10 to 15 minutes of playing have passed.

This review will contain spoilery stuff for the first episode, so if you’re waiting to tackle the game after the full release, I’d suggest you stop reading here.

Still there? Here we go.

TWAU_EP2_Jack_BigbyEpisode 1 of The Wolf Among Us ended on a fantastic, gut-punch of a cliffhanger, with the unveiling that the mysterious murderer driving the story forward had claimed none other than Snow White as his latest victim. This was a bit of a shocker for both those familiar with the Fables universe created by Bill Willingham and for those of us just jumping in with the game. It had been thought, up to that point, that Snow White was another piece of the puzzle to unravel, a compatriot to protagonist Bigby Wolf, and someone that we’d be seeing a lot more of as the series progressed. So to see her decapitated and essentially laid at Bigby’s doorstep was a shocker to say the least.

Episode 2 picks up shortly after, beginning with a minor chat between Bigby and Ichabod Crane, which provides a little bit of human insight into Crane’s otherwise pompous and arrogant demeanor. This small opening moment becomes a bit more meaningful and twisted as the episode progresses and then culminates, so it’s worth paying attention to. I’ll give Telltale credit for a lot of unassuming foreshadowing provided in this episode and the previous episode that comes to some fruition here.

TWAU_EP2_Bluebeard_InterrogationOne of those threads is unveiled really early, providing a surprise to equal the one that ended Episode 1. I’ll freely admit to not being happy with it though, as I felt like it was a bit of a disappointment and allows for a whole lot of second-guessing knowing that a particular type of magic is available as a plot mechanic. Thinking back on it though, and referencing the aforementioned foreshadowing, Telltale did lay the groundwork for this component in Episode 1 through a conversation between Bigby and Mr. Toad. So again, I have to give them credit for slyly building this up.

Once I was past that disappointing reveal, I really enjoyed this second trip to the Fables universe. One thing that continues to stand out to me here is how Bigby’s character, and my impression of who that character is, dictates the way I play this game. I tend to go the good-guy hero route when given morality choices or dialogue decisions for games, but with The Wolf Among Us I find myself straddling the fence. Bigby doesn’t strike me as a particularly agreeable guy/wolf, and I make sure that shows through the choices I make. Granted, some of the options given by Telltale can be pretty rough, but I found myself more than willing to damage Bigby’s reputation with certain characters in this episode because I believed these were the actions he would take without my guidance.

TWAU_EP2_Pudding_and_PieThe cast of characters used here continue to shine as well. We get a bit more of Beauty and the Beast’s place in this world, we get introduced to Georgie Porgie in a way that makes absolute sense, and we get to hear Dave Fennoy voicing another Telltale character again through Bluebeard. There are a number of great moments throughout this episode that might not be as ferocious as the showdown between Bigby and Grendel in Episode 1, but still allow Bigby to make waves in this small, out-of-place fairyland community.

There is one sequence towards the tail end of the “Smoke and Mirrors” that falls a little flat. This sees Bigby investigating a crime scene with Beauty looking on in the background. Every time Bigby uncovers a clue Beauty offers up a statement of amazement telling Bigby how great he is at what he does. Her first comment is sort of a backhanded compliment, but from there she just seems to go into full on praise. The problem here is that the clues being uncovered are largely in plain sight, and how they tie into the crime scene is painstakingly obvious. This entire sequence really took me out of the game, and felt sort of at odds with Beauty’s general attitude in the scenes leading up to this.

TWAU_EP2_BigbyVSBeastThat said I’m still pretty intrigued by the overall mystery being presented. This episode doesn’t really offer up anything new from a gameplay perspective when compared to the past. You’ll still cycle through dialogue choices on a timer, and you’ll have a limited action sequence with on-screen prompts to follow.

The Wolf Among Us continues to impress visually, echoing its comic book roots without sacrificing animation. I’ve been playing the series on PC, and with all options turned to the highest setting, the game looks absolutely beautiful. I’m certainly ready and willing to jump into Episode 3, and from what I understand, the wait won’t be nearly as long.

Grade: B+



With an Xbox LIVE Gold membership, take your Xbox 360 online to play Kinect and controller games with friends wherever they are. Instantly watch HD movies, TV shows and sports, and with Kinect, your voice is the remote control. Not sure what to play or watch? Quickly find new movies, songs or games with your voice. Even use your phone or tablet as a second screen to control and interact with what you’re watching. Plus, now you can explore the web on your TV with Internet Explorer for Xbox.* Entertainment is more amazing with Xbox.

Take Your Xbox 360 Online To:

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  • Keep games fresh with new map packs, new songs and workouts


* Broadband Internet, Kinect Sensor and console, games, add-ons and media content all sold separately. Not all Xbox LIVE functionality is Kinect enabled. See xbox.com/live.

 

Xbox LIVE Code Redemption
NOT AN XBOX LIVE MEMBER YET?
Follow these steps first before redeeming your code:

  1. Connect your Xbox 360 to a broadband Internet connection.
  2. Press the silver/green Xbox Guide Button on the controller.
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Xbox LIVE account.
TO REDEEM GOLD MEMBERSHIP CODE:

  1. Sign in to your Xbox LIVE account.
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Codes can also be redeemed at live.xbox.com/en-US/RedeemCode.

 

What is Xbox LIVE?

  • Your entertainment. Your way. Get your favorite games, music, movies and more on your TV, tablet and phone.
  • Use your voice to easily find movies, TV shows, music and games on Xbox 360 with Kinect
  • Play Kinect and controller games online with friends
  • Watch HD programs from Netflix, HuluPlus, ESPN, and more
  • Use your phone or tablet as a second screen for an enhanced game and entertainment experience
  • Explore the web on your TV with Internet Explorer for Xbox
  • Use Microsoft Points to buy or rent TV shows, movies, and games
  • Download new songs, workouts, levels and maps to keep your games fresh
 Xbox LIVE Entertainment Your Way 
      
Games Entertainment Kinect 
Xbox LIVE Gaming Xbox LIVE Entertainment Kinect 
Xbox LIVE is where your friends are playing Call of Duty, Halo, and other online multiplayer games1. With your voice you can quickly find things to watch and play. Even use your phone and tablet to add an extra layer of control for an enhanced experience with your console games. Plus, explore the web easily with Internet Explorer for Xbox on your biggest screen. Xbox brings you great entertainment no matter where you are. Play games online with friends on your TV, tablet or phone. Even enjoy music, TV shows and movies on any of your devices2. And when you’re at home with Kinect, just say what you want to watch and Xbox finds it. Entertainment is more amazing with Xbox. With Kinect for Xbox 360, you are the controller. Enjoy HD movies, TV, music and sports and control it all with the sound of your voice. Or choose from tons of great Kinect games and experience the fun of getting your whole body in the action1. Games and entertainment is more amazing with Xbox. 
      
SmartGlass Windows 8 Internet Explorer 
SmartGlass Windows 8 Internet Explorer on Xbox 
Xbox SmartGlass lets you use your phone or tablet as a second screen with your Xbox 360 for an enhanced game and entertainment experience2. Control and interact with your favorite TV shows, movies, music, sports and games. Even start watching on your tablet and flick it to your TV to keep watching on the big-screen. With Xbox SmartGlass, your devices intelligently work together to show rich interactive activities and new content related to what you’re watching or playing on TV at the moment. The Xbox SmartGlass app will be available on Windows 8, Windows Phone, and the innovative Xbox SmartGlass technology will be available on other major platforms in the My Xbox LIVE app. Xbox is the new way to get great entertainment on Windows 8. Enjoy the latest movies, TV shows, and music on your PC or tablet. You also get access to great games for every style — from the latest hits to your favorite classics. Plus, you can use your tablet as a second screen with your Xbox 360 for an enhanced experience with what you’re watching or playing2. Even start a show on your tablet and flick it to your TV. Entertainment is more amazing with Xbox. Explore the web on your TV with Internet Explorer for Xbox1. And with Kinect, use your voice to explore your favorite sites with ease on the biggest screen in the house. Even use your phone or tablet to type and control your experience. Discover the entertainment you love with Xbox. 
      
Xbox Video Xbox Music   
Xbox Video Xbox Music   
Xbox Video brings you the latest HD movies and TV shows on your TV, tablet, PC or phone. Rent or buy new blockbuster movies and classic favorites, or stay up with last night’s episodes of your favorite TV shows3. And with Xbox Video you get instant on HD to start watching right away. Plus, the video you buy can be enjoyed wherever you want. Start watching on your Xbox 360, and pick-up where you left off on your tablet. Even download it and take it with you on your Windows Phone at no extra cost. Xbox makes it easy to watch what you love wherever you are. Xbox Music brings you all the music you love, every way you want it. With millions of songs to discover, stream, download and own—it’s the all-in-one music service for your tablet, PC, TV and phone4. Select an artist, and SmartDJ instantly creates a playlist tailored to you. And with Xbox Music Pass, your favorite songs follow you wherever you go, across all your devices, including unlimited downloads. Because music is more amazing when it’s all brought together for you.   
     

 


1
Xbox LIVE Gold membership, fees and/or requirements apply for some Xbox LIVE features. Not all Xbox LIVE content is Kinect enabled. Games, add-ons and media content sold separately. Internet Explorer on Xbox coming Holiday 2012. See xbox.com/live.
2 Coming Holiday 2012. Compatible devices required. Broadband internet, additional fees and/or requirements apply for some Xbox LIVE features. Not all features and content on Xbox LIVE is Kinect voice and gesture enabled. Second screen control requires compatible devices enabled with Xbox SmartGlass and is only available with select Xbox LIVE content. See xbox.com/live.
3 Coming Holiday 2012. Broadband internet and compatible devices required. To watch on Windows Phone, sync content from compatible PC. See xbox.com/live.
4Coming Holiday 2012. Compatible devices and internet required; carrier fees apply. On TV, Xbox Music Pass allows for streaming only and requires an Xbox 360 console and Xbox LIVE Gold subscription (both sold separately). Limited hours of free streaming after 6 months; unlimited with paid subscription. Available Xbox Music features and content may vary over time. See xbox.com/music.



Get an Xbox gift card for games and entertainment on Xbox One, Xbox 360, other select Microsoft online stores, and Windows Phone 8. Buy the latest games, map packs, music, movies, TV shows and more.* And on Xbox One, buy and download full blockbuster games the day they hit retail shelves. Great as a gift, allowance, or credit card alternative.

* Music: Only for purchase of individual tracks & music pass on Windows 8.1; or music pass on Xbox One (Xbox Live Gold required). Coming holiday 2013

Specifications
Gift card valid for eligible purchases (exclusions apply) made directly at select Xbox and Microsoft online stores. Microsoft account required. Subject to full terms and conditions and country restrictions at www.microsoft.com/en-US/giftcard.

Xbox Live Code Redemption
To redeem Xbox Gift Card code:
Redeem this card in your U.S. Microsoft account. Simply login to your account and enter your 25-digit card number.

To create a new account, visit https://commerce.microsoft.com. You must be 13+. The full card value will be applied to your Microsoft account and may be used for eligible purchases (exclusions apply) made directly at Xbox Games, Xbox Music, Xbox Video, and Windows Phone stores and other select Microsoft online marketplaces in the U.S. Balance restrictions may apply. Eligible purchases and prices may vary by region, device, and over time.

NO EXPIRATION DATE OR SERVICE FEES.



The currency in your Microsoft account can’t be used to buy an Xbox Live Gold membership at this time.

List Price:$20.00 USD
New From:$20.00 USD In Stock
Used from: Out of Stock