The Wolf Among Us Episode 2 Review - Grim Tales

The Wolf Among Us Episode 2 Review - Grim Tales

The second episode of Telltale's A Wolf Among Us series based on the Fables comics is called Smoke and Mirrors. It could be called "Game-ified Torture".

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Not surprised to read about Episode 2's narrative excellence. At this point, that's just par for the course with Telltale. Am a bit disappointed to know that 'Smoke and Mirrors' doesn't have the somewhat satisfying run time that 'Faith' had (depending on dialog choices and other actions), especially considering how many threads are left dangling at the close of Episode 1 (especially that ending).

As someone who's been reading Willingham's 'Fables' comic almost since the start, there are a couple of things I feel I've already figured out (especially if you pick up on some of the wink wink Easter Eggs throughout 'Faith') but there is still plenty of room for some surprising plot twists. After reading this review and some of the things discussed I've already got a pretty bad feeling I have an idea of where the story goes in 'Smoke and Mirrors' and, if I'm right, I'm sure it's going to leave me feeling more than a bit icky when all is said and done.

Work needs to end faster so I can play this. I loved the first episode to bits, and I'm all kinds of glad to hear the second one lives up to it.

I've just finished playing through it myself, and I felt more or less satisfied by the length - not quite as long as episode 1, but then it didn't have the job of establishing everything - and perhaps whatever production difficulties lead to the long delay of the episode prompted them to release a shorter episode than they might have intended, rather than have us all wait longer, and if that's the case, they made the right call - the episode doesn't feel lacking for quality, and I'm glad I don't have to wait another month.

One issue I did have with it is that when I managed to put together some plot developments for myself, I wasn't able to act on my hunches and take the story in a new direction - a universal problem for detective stories, really, and it didn't make things unbearable, but it did break the immersion for me at times.

But damn, was it good.

I love stuff like the Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead (the game not tv show, tv show characters/situations/reactions are not believable). However, I can't talk myself into getting this game. I know the narrative is going to be well written, but I can't see myself getting invested into characters like werewolves and vampires. Am I missing something?

Really loved the second episode although I felt that it was a tad shorter than the first one, but maybe that was just me. It just ended very...suddenly.

Now the only sad part is that we may have to wait again a couple of months until we get Episode 3.

I just finished and clocked myself in a bit shy of 1.5 hours. I think ep 1 was closer to 2 hours.

Length is a bit of a bummer, but overall I'm quite satisfied with how the story has been running. I'm genuinely intrigued and dying to see where this goes.

deathmothon:
I love stuff like the Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead (the game not tv show, tv show characters/situations/reactions are not believable). However, I can't talk myself into getting this game. I know the narrative is going to be well written, but I can't see myself getting invested into characters like werewolves and vampires. Am I missing something?

Well... there's the fact that I don't believe there's any werewolves OR vampires in the plot at all so far...

Played it today. It's still good, and I'm definitely waiting for more, but...

I'm getting a bit of Dragon Age II flashbacks, as in "you're such and such, you monster" when I really am not. I really did my best not to be violent in any case

ep 1

ep 2

And yet, every conversation begins with a request to be gentle this time, and everyone acting like I'm the dick, even if the only acts of violence came from me in a self defense. I KNOW that Bigby has a bad reputation from the past, but can you please at least acknowledge, that I AM trying?

3 random things that also jumped to me:

1) The splash art for episode 3 is changed. Previously there was a bandaged female mundy cop stalking Bigby in there, and now we have Bigby chasing a car. Aborted Arc? I mean, the cop DO appear in this episode, and now we know why would she be bandaged in the first place. In fact, I was interested about her even before I started playing, because I checked splash arts beforehand. I really hope that was just a completely unconnected decision, and she won't be cut from the story just like that.

2) Some of the "Next time on TWAU..." scenes from the end of ep 1 doesn't appear at all in ep 2. In fact, I knew it that

thanks to a scene shown in teaser, so the final scene of ep 2 wasn't a shocker for me in any way. In fact, I thought there would be one more scene, because of that teaser. I was really disappointed, when it turned out not to be the case. Same goes with Never happened in game, although since they're teasing it AGAIN, it might just as well happen in 5th episode. I don't know if it was thrown there for a deliberate confusion, or I just missed some choices, or simply plot plan changed between ep 1 and 2 (my money is on the last option tbh).

3) There was no "your choices" chart at the end of the episode. Was it because I played it so early, they didn't have time to gather enough data, or was it just an intermission, to bridge us to the next part of the case? This last question isn't rhetorical, it's the first time I'm playing a TellTale episode from minute 1 of the release, so an answer from a veteran TellTale gamer would be appreciated.

Even though it may sound like I'm whining, I'm still enjoying this series, and all those concerns were raised, because I really do care about it, so now I'm just overthinking things, like I usually do when I'm reading/watching/playing a murder mystery. I really hope the next 3 episodes will live up to the rest. Good job TT, I will probably support you to the very end of March Mayhem.

deathmothon:
I love stuff like the Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead (the game not tv show, tv show characters/situations/reactions are not believable). However, I can't talk myself into getting this game. I know the narrative is going to be well written, but I can't see myself getting invested into characters like werewolves and vampires. Am I missing something?

They are not werewolves and vampires. They are literal characters from faerie tales and fables. IE the main protagonist Biby Wolf... is the literal Big Bad Wolf from the Three Little Pigs and Red Riding Hood stories. Snow White is literally Snow White. Mr. Toad is literally Mr. Toad from Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, etc, etc.

They are in modern NYC living in a neighborhood (akin to Little Italy or Chinatown) because they have been exiled from their Homelands and are forced to live here among us Mundanes.

Yossarian1507:
Never happened in game, although since they're teasing it AGAIN, it might just as well happen in 5th episode. I don't know if it was thrown there for a deliberate confusion, or I just missed some choices, or simply plot plan changed between ep 1 and 2 (my money is on the last option tbh).

No, it had nothing to do with choices. That scene wasn't in the episode at all and it seems like I did the exact opposite of a lot of your choices. Perhaps the plot did change, but my money right now is that it's just a teaser. I don't know what could've led to that scene as this episode didn't have a whole lot of action and a lot of talking and investigating.

Yossarian1507:
3) There was no "your choices" chart at the end of the episode. Was it because I played it so early, they didn't have time to gather enough data, or was it just an intermission, to bridge us to the next part of the case? This last question isn't rhetorical, it's the first time I'm playing a TellTale game from minute 1 of the release, so an answer from a veteran TellTale gamer would be appreciated.

I'm no veteran TellTale gamer, but I played Walking Dead Season 2 ep 1 day of release (for PS3) and it showed the results no problem. I didn't get any choice results for Wolf Among Us ep 2 either. Can't help you, but I will say the same thing happened to me and it was weird. Either a glitch or not enough data. I will say for Walking Dead: 400 Days (I played it on release day) that the numbers for the first days or so were kinda funky. Everything was 50/50 (exactly) for all the choices.

And nah, I don't think you're whining. Those all seem like valid complaints or curiosities. I personally took the "big bad cop" route so I wouldn't have noticed a lot of those things regarding taking non-violence (because, well, even I was uncomfortable with some of the violent actions I selected. Christ...) Personally my main complaint for Wolf Among Us (and Walking Dead season 2 so far) is that there is a lot of imbalance to these choices. Walking Dead season 1 results mostly hovered in the 50/50 and 60/40 range, while in the more recent games we're getting 90/10s all over the place with a clear "sensible" option. Not whining, but something I know kinda bugged me recently and brings me out of it too.

DeimosMasque:

deathmothon:
I love stuff like the Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead (the game not tv show, tv show characters/situations/reactions are not believable). However, I can't talk myself into getting this game. I know the narrative is going to be well written, but I can't see myself getting invested into characters like werewolves and vampires. Am I missing something?

They are not werewolves and vampires. They are literal characters from faerie tales and fables. IE the main protagonist Biby Wolf... is the literal Big Bad Wolf from the Three Little Pigs and Red Riding Hood stories. Snow White is literally Snow White. Mr. Toad is literally Mr. Toad from Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, etc, etc.

They are in modern NYC living in a neighborhood (akin to Little Italy or Chinatown) because they have been exiled from their Homelands and are forced to live here among us Mundanes.

I've been staying away from anything resembling spoilers because I know how story driven these games are. It still makes me wonder how invested I will be in the problems of Mr Toad and the like. It's an extra layer of disbelief for a game that (I assume) relies entirely on identifying with the characters and their interactions. All this being said, I probably will get it. I think I'll just wait for it to finish like I did with TWD season 1.

deathmothon:
I've been staying away from anything resembling spoilers because I know how story driven these games are. It still makes me wonder how invested I will be in the problems of Mr Toad and the like. It's an extra layer of disbelief for a game that (I assume) relies entirely on identifying with the characters and their interactions. All this being said, I probably will get it. I think I'll just wait for it to finish like I did with TWD season 1.

Staying away from spoilers is fine, but not knowing the premise of the world can really mess up your perceptions of it. The trick of character investment in this world is more about the plight of the everyman... the twist being that the evermen of these stories are actually faerie tale characters living in our world. And they know they are characters from our literature.

(NO STORY SPOILERS BELOW, JUST BACKSTORY)

Mr. Toad, for example is working in NYC as a cab driver and renting out slum-level apartments in his building. He has a wife and kid, but for any of them to be allowed to go out and interact with the real world they have to buy magic glamours (illusions that make them look human) or else get shipped upstate to the Farm (where all the non-human looking Fables go.) His plight is that he has to make enough money to pay for his building (so he gets rent from his tennants), food for his family AND hide his and his families appearances from the Mundanes (us) or else no matter what, they lose everything and get shipped off to a gilded cage prison to living out their days (and Fables are nearly immortal)

Also on a side note:

STUPID XBOX 360 FOR NOT HAVING IT COME OUT UNTIL TOMORROW!!!!!

deathmothon:

DeimosMasque:

deathmothon:
I love stuff like the Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead (the game not tv show, tv show characters/situations/reactions are not believable). However, I can't talk myself into getting this game. I know the narrative is going to be well written, but I can't see myself getting invested into characters like werewolves and vampires. Am I missing something?

They are not werewolves and vampires. They are literal characters from faerie tales and fables. IE the main protagonist Biby Wolf... is the literal Big Bad Wolf from the Three Little Pigs and Red Riding Hood stories. Snow White is literally Snow White. Mr. Toad is literally Mr. Toad from Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, etc, etc.

They are in modern NYC living in a neighborhood (akin to Little Italy or Chinatown) because they have been exiled from their Homelands and are forced to live here among us Mundanes.

I've been staying away from anything resembling spoilers because I know how story driven these games are. It still makes me wonder how invested I will be in the problems of Mr Toad and the like. It's an extra layer of disbelief for a game that (I assume) relies entirely on identifying with the characters and their interactions. All this being said, I probably will get it. I think I'll just wait for it to finish like I did with TWD season 1.

So...Look, I don't want to sound like an asshole, but that makes no sense to me at all.

Zombies? Fine. Magic? Fine. People telepathically possessing wolves? Fine. But if a character doesn't look like a human, THEN the story is unbelievable. Uh...What?

To use your example, Toad is still a believable character. You understand the way he acts and interacts with other characters. He just so happens to be a large, talking toad. But that's just what he LOOKS like. He's still just as relatable as any other well-written character. As are all the others in the game.

I...really just don't understand your logic here.

Yossarian1507:

3) There was no "your choices" chart at the end of the episode. Was it because I played it so early, they didn't have time to gather enough data, or was it just an intermission, to bridge us to the next part of the case? This last question isn't rhetorical, it's the first time I'm playing a TellTale episode from minute 1 of the release, so an answer from a veteran TellTale gamer would be appreciated.

I think this is because there were no major "pick one or the other" style choices like most of the other recent Telltale episodes have had. The only real choices were how you picked subtle dialog choices or sequences which involved several choices in a quick succession which would be hard to compile into anything statistically meaningful.

I think the characters are wonderfully done toad and his son especially i've enjoyed the heck out of this serioes sofar and that not something i can say about adventure games much.

I like the lore i like the world i love the characters.

deathmothon:

DeimosMasque:

deathmothon:
I love stuff like the Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead (the game not tv show, tv show characters/situations/reactions are not believable). However, I can't talk myself into getting this game. I know the narrative is going to be well written, but I can't see myself getting invested into characters like werewolves and vampires. Am I missing something?

They are not werewolves and vampires. They are literal characters from faerie tales and fables. IE the main protagonist Biby Wolf... is the literal Big Bad Wolf from the Three Little Pigs and Red Riding Hood stories. Snow White is literally Snow White. Mr. Toad is literally Mr. Toad from Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, etc, etc.

They are in modern NYC living in a neighborhood (akin to Little Italy or Chinatown) because they have been exiled from their Homelands and are forced to live here among us Mundanes.

I've been staying away from anything resembling spoilers because I know how story driven these games are. It still makes me wonder how invested I will be in the problems of Mr Toad and the like. It's an extra layer of disbelief for a game that (I assume) relies entirely on identifying with the characters and their interactions. All this being said, I probably will get it. I think I'll just wait for it to finish like I did with TWD season 1.

if you can't suspend your disbelief that far, you must struggle a lot finding scifi and fantasy to enjoy, if any

Greg Tito:
Recommendation: Episode Two lives up to the excellent introduction and you won't be disappointed in anything but the length. Season pass holders rejoice, but single-episode-purchasers may want to wait until more of the series is released to gorge.

Your ignorance is disturbing.
Episode 2 of Wolf Among Us is not available to season pass holders. What possible reason would we have to rejoice?

Mikeyfell:

Greg Tito:
Recommendation: Episode Two lives up to the excellent introduction and you won't be disappointed in anything but the length. Season pass holders rejoice, but single-episode-purchasers may want to wait until more of the series is released to gorge.

Your ignorance is disturbing.
Episode 2 of Wolf Among Us is not available to season pass holders. What possible reason would we have to rejoice?

I currently have it installed, and I have it on the PS3. I installed it around two hours ago. Before anybody asks, yes I do have the season pass.

Mikeyfell:

Greg Tito:
Recommendation: Episode Two lives up to the excellent introduction and you won't be disappointed in anything but the length. Season pass holders rejoice, but single-episode-purchasers may want to wait until more of the series is released to gorge.

Your ignorance is disturbing.
Episode 2 of Wolf Among Us is not available to season pass holders. What possible reason would we have to rejoice?

Umm... what?

It most assuredly is, seeing as I've beaten it already...

Sight Unseen:
It most assuredly is, seeing as I've beaten it already...

I have the Wolf Among Us season pass on the X-Box and I haven't been able to download the second episode. This seems to be a pretty common issue with the X-Box season pass and there is a long thread about it on the Telltale forums.

http://www.telltalegames.com/community/discussion/58200/xbox360-season-pass-not-working/p1

Sight Unseen:

Mikeyfell:

Greg Tito:
Recommendation: Episode Two lives up to the excellent introduction and you won't be disappointed in anything but the length. Season pass holders rejoice, but single-episode-purchasers may want to wait until more of the series is released to gorge.

Your ignorance is disturbing.
Episode 2 of Wolf Among Us is not available to season pass holders. What possible reason would we have to rejoice?

Umm... what?

It most assuredly is, seeing as I've beaten it already...

Are you on PS3? I'm being told all over the place it works on PS3.

It's still fucked up on 360

Mikeyfell:

Sight Unseen:

Mikeyfell:

Your ignorance is disturbing.
Episode 2 of Wolf Among Us is not available to season pass holders. What possible reason would we have to rejoice?

Umm... what?

It most assuredly is, seeing as I've beaten it already...

Are you on PS3? I'm being told all over the place it works on PS3.

It's still fucked up on 360

Uhura:

Sight Unseen:
It most assuredly is, seeing as I've beaten it already...

I have the Wolf Among Us season pass on the X-Box and I haven't been able to download the second episode. This seems to be a pretty common issue with the X-Box season pass and there is a long thread about it on the Telltale forums.

http://www.telltalegames.com/community/discussion/58200/xbox360-season-pass-not-working/p1

PC Master Race here :P

sorry to hear about your problems with the Xbox version, hopefully it'll work soon. You're missing out on a pretty decent episode.

One very important thing about this game is the non-violent options in the QTE.

You heard that right. In this game, just because it prompts you to hit someone in a QTE, you don't have to.

I remember in the Walking Dead I was forced to kill someone on "accident." Because if I didn't strike in the QTE then the game would fail me even though the game would blame me for killing the person.

I''m not trying to spoil anything and honestly I don't think it changes much in the story, but You can purposely fail QTEs in this game so you don't hurt someone.

UsefulPlayer 1:
One very important thing about this game is the non-violent options in the QTE.

You heard that right. In this game, just because it prompts you to hit someone in a QTE, you don't have to.

I remember in the Walking Dead I was forced to kill someone on "accident." Because if I didn't strike in the QTE then the game would fail me even though the game would blame me for killing the person.

I''m not trying to spoil anything and honestly I don't think it changes much in the story, but You can purposely fail QTEs in this game so you don't hurt someone.

Yeah, it took me a moment to realise that myself. When someone's got me by the neck and a big orange button sprouts out on their face, I just went for it thinking "Well, a good bop on the nose or a shove would serve them right" I didn't think

So yes, I'll have to remember that for next time since I'm trying to be a nice Wolfie.

OT: Maybe it's just blessed nostalgia, but the first episode very much out-shined the second for me. I understand that the first episode had to establish a new and interesting world and was longer in actual length, but I feel like I barely started playing the second episode and - ta-dah! - it was over.

It was still wonderful quality and it's making me anxious to play the rest of the episodes, but I just felt disappointed because I felt a lack of real progression.

 

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