The Wolf Among
Us - Episode 2: Smoke and Mirrors
If Episode 1 laid the table,
Episode 2 sat down to eat. Whether it’s the sort of meal where everyone
at the table is just managing to keep their first instincts in check and
stay just the right side of the civilised dinner companion line, or one
where 5 minutes into the first course and a butter knife ends up in the
back of someone’s hand and all hell breaks loose is up to Bigby aka you.
More than any other Telltale
episode, Smoke and Mirrors felt like I was in control.
Bigby is front and centre. His
reputation precedes him and we have had a glimpse of what that can lead
to in Episode 1. He is feared and loathed, a product of his past which
his present has not dispelled. Whether it can may be up to you.
I have no idea how Bigby will
turn out, but there are numerous instances in this episode where you get
to contribute to and shape that outcome. Early on you question a
prisoner strapped to a chair. You rummage through his paltry belongings
and find a cigar stub – do you ignore it, offer him a puff or burn him ?
You could similarly give him a drink from the glass bottle, or you could
smash it over his head. What you do may or may not bring answers, but it
will certainly have an impact on what follows.
Later, an obnoxious, sleazy weed
of a man called Georgie (of Pudding and Pie fame) probably deserves to
be belted with the cricket bat, and it would certainly make Bigby/you
feel better, but do you do it? Or do you smash up the bar instead?? Or
just ask, albeit with menace and simmering intent.
In between, there is a
frightened small boy who may have seen something. Can a big bad wolf be
tender enough to convince him to open up, or do you frighten him some
more so he can’t help but talk.
It’s all up to you.
A number of these interactions,
and many in between (are you understanding, dismissive or silent in
various conversations) will undoubtedly determine where we go and how we
get there, and more than one has an immediate and obvious consequence.
Softer or harder, that reputation will always get there first.
These confrontations by and
large replace the set piece fight scenes of the previous episode. There
are some of these, but not on the same scale. The violence here is very
much a product of your choices.
Except for the blood soaked
mattress where the beheading occurred. That is simply a given.
Plot wise, there are further
deaths and a surprise or two. We start not long after where we left off
in episode 1, and about an hour and a half later we have more loose ends
than we started with, we know a bit more, but haven’t made a whole lot
of progress towards a resolution.
Which doesn’t matter because it
isn’t what Smoke and Mirrors is all about. A character tells Bigby at
one point to try not to be … and he finishes … so much like me. He knows
what he is, and whether he can or wants to be anything different is the
rich tapestry we are weaving.
It remains a class act in all
those other aspects that matter. Read the earlier review for more
I tried to behave as I thought I
would. I confess to breaking a bottle or two. I was surprised that only
12% of other players chose one option, but not that 81% chose another. I
can’t wait to get to the very end, then go back and make deliberately
different choices to see the difference.
There is regular use of bad
language, lots of cigarette smoking and one scene with some nudity. They
are all integral parts of one of the more compelling games around. As an
episode, Smoke and Mirrors is outstanding, and the character investment
in Bigby promises much for what lies ahead.
Bring on episode 3.
I played on:
OS: Windows 7
Processor: Intel i7-3820 4GHz
RAM: 12GB Ripjaw DDR3 2133 Mhz