|System: PS3, Xbox 360, PC*|
|Release: February 4, 2014|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Intense Violence, Blood and Gore, Sexual Themes, Partial Nudity, Strong Language, Use of Alcohol and Tobacco.|
by Angelo M. D’Argenio
Episode 2 of Telltale’s The Wolf Among Us is a bit of a departure from the standard Telltale mold. It’s not about making serious choices that alter the game world, although that does happen. It’s not about quick time events and action sequences, although that does happen too. Heck, it’s not even about rubbing items against each other and the environment until suddenly puzzles are solved in classic adventure game style… that doesn’t happen so much.
Instead, Episode 2: Smoke and Mirrors is more of a “press your luck” detective simulator. As Bigby Wolf, you can very easily throw your weight around. Got someone tied up in an interrogation room? Smash his face in all you like! You are a powerful supernatural force of nature that can live through a bullet and tear down walls with your bare hands. That’s just who you are.
The question is, how much force do you use to get what you want? Continually beat up a suspect and he may just shut down, thinking that no amount of squawking will get him set free. Go soft and people will walk all over you, keeping secrets from you and basically telling you to f@!< right off for being unable to be tough enough to do the job. Yes, Bigby’s job needs to be handled with finesse, sometimes compassionate, sometimes tough, sometimes not even getting involved.
This is the main gameplay conceit of Episode 2, trying to find the balance between being a violent hardass and a passive sleuth. You’d think that would be easy, but The Wolf Among Us manages to put you into plenty of hard situations.
Now, we are going to try our best not to spoil the episode for you, so we will only speak in generalities here. Here are some examples of situations you’ll be put in in The Wolf Among Us Episode 2. You’ll have to decide how hard you want to press a traumatized kid for facts after he may have witnessed a murder. You’ll have to decide whether or not to side with his father when he becomes upset at his kid for even witnessing the act in the first place. You’ll have to decide whether to side with your asshole boss or a common thug when it comes to interrogating someone, whilst simultaneously making sure that someone doesn’t clam up. You’ll need to work your way around confidentiality agreements by smartly talking to suspects. You’ll have to choose whether to be tough with your partner even though you only performed actions in your partner’s best interest. You’ll have to somehow threaten a man who WANTS you to beat him up, if only to get you in trouble. You’ll have to decide whether the case or the emotions of the people around you are more important, and that is just the tip of the iceberg.
All of this decision making really helps to flesh out the character of Bigby. Once again, Bigby isn’t really a stand in for the player, like Lee Everett was in The Walking Dead. Instead, he is a character that you get to mold into the exact type of badass you want him to be. Is your Bigby the type of guy who will follow the law to the letter, prioritizing his job first? Is he the type of guy who will obsess over a case to the danger of others, including the law? Does your Bigby have a heart of gold under his tough exterior, attempting to save lives and help the people of Fabletown? Or is he a bastard, only taking this job because it allows him a safe outlet for his own violence?