Continuing the tale...
The first episode of The Wolf Among Us left gamers on quite the cliffhanger. Smoke & Mirrors, the second episode in Telltale Games' adventure series set in the Fables universe, continues the engrossing plot centered around the sheriff of Fabletown, Bigby Wolf, delivering a compelling follow-up that will leave gamers hungry for the third chapter.
Because the Telltale adventure games are based so heavily on their narratives, I'm going to do my best to dance around the story. At the same time, there isn't a whole lot to the game besides the story—especially in this second episode—so please bear with me as I attempt to give you my impressions. With that said, if you've already purchased the season pass and have not yet played Smoke & Mirrors, stop what you're doing and take the plunge now. If you're still on the fence, be sure to read our review of Episode 1: Faith right here.
I am continually impressed by Telltale's ability to craft interesting and relatable characters. The same proves true in this second chapter, as we're introduced to new faces like Jack from "Jack and the Beanstalk" and revisited by familiar ones like Toad and Ichabod Crane. Thanks to the incredible writing, not a single character comes across as flat or shallow. Plus, the killer voice-acting talent the dev team has brought on only helps to further elevate the spectacular script.
That said, expect to do a lot of watching while you "play" Smoke & Mirrors. Since I'm more of a passive gamer, the lack of interactivity didn't really bother me, but I'm sure I'm in the minority there. This may very well be the least interactive Telltale game I've played yet, and that's saying something. Don't expect to do much more than select dialogue options and click around for clues. As far as puzzles go, you won't find any here.
But in many ways that doesn't really matter, as Smoke & Mirrors tells a fantastic story full of twists and turns. The visuals look great, even amidst the bits of jank that are all too common in titles from Telltale. I didn't encounter as many technical hiccups this time around, though, so that's certainly a major plus.
As to be expected, this second chapter ends with a surprise, only this time I saw it coming from a mile away. To be completely honest, I was more shocked that the episode was over. In the past, each episode of Telltale's adventure games takes me somewhere between two to four hours to complete. I finished Smoke & Mirrors in under two. It was a great ride while it lasted, even if the ending was a bit too predictable. If you're a fan of Telltale's work and are hungry for more of The Wolf Among Us, you'll find plenty to love about this second chapter.
Code not provided by publisher. Review based on Mac version. Also available on PS3, X360, and PC.