Does it build upon the amazing first episode or should we send this series to the farm?

The Wolf Among Us is a world where classic fables live alongside you and I. You play as Bibgy, the big bad wolf, who is sheriff of this small community. Fables have been murdered and you have to stop the killer before things get out of control…

I really enjoyed the first episode, It grabbed me right away. The characters were fresh and the world was one I wanted to explore every inch. I’m a big fan of the Walking Dead games and I think this series could easily top that. If you haven’t played the first episode I suggest giving it a try.

As with the first episode, Smoke and Mirrors has top notch writing. Much like Mass Effect you can play the lead different ways while not feeling out of place. Almost every main decision I made was unpopular (Telltale tally’s the choices and percentage of people who did the same); I played this episode pissed off, stomping and smashing my way through everything. Not once did I feel out of character. While the choices don’t really change anything (no matter how many times the game tries to convince you otherwise) it’s more about playing out a scene the way you see it, putting your stamp on things. The different ways you can use to reach the same destination is the fun of it. A lesser written game would highlight the lack of real difference your choices make; the Wolf Among us is so well done you don’t even notice/care. I never felt like I was searching for the best thing to say, I was choosing how I would react in the situation. Conversation felt natural.

The game plays out like any good detective series. Things progress enough to keep things fresh but there is always something tantalizing ahead. This episode felt like everything was out in the open, you just needed to piece it all together correctly. The only real drawback is while the game has great pacing it’s over way too quickly. I had a lot of fun but was left saying “that’s it?” In context the length isn’t such an issue (the second episode of five) but having to wait months just to play a few more hours is a real bummer. It sucks having to settle for a beautiful bite instead of an amazing meal.

It’s a good thing the writing is so well done, as the action was limited. You don’t walk into these games expecting crazy action but even by Telltale standards it was sparse. The one action event that did occur felt tacked on, as if they felt obligated to throw us a bone. It was especially noticeable as the first episode had a ton of great action sequences. Overall it’s a minor knock against the game, it’s more about discovery and interaction, but still stings a bit.

The usual Telltale polish is here. Long loading time, stuttering actions scenes, pauses during random scene transitions. It’s nothing that ruins the game for you but with so little happening on screen you wonder how things are so bad. It’s disappointing because the game really is beautiful. Characters are very stylized and really looked “lived in.” The design really hammers in the fact that the Fables haven’t been leaving the best life since escaping their respective stories. They are just trying to survive like everyone else.

Even with the bugs and short play time The Wolf Among Us is more than worth the price of admission and should hook you in right away. If you’ve already bought the first one, keep going (you probability already have). The only reason you shouldn’t be playing this right now is to wait for the conclusion so you don’t have to suffer the pain of anxiously awaiting the next episode.

The game was played on the PlayStation 3.