The Wolf Among Us Episode One was excellent, but by now we’ve come to expect that from Telltale. To give you an idea of how excellent it was, I ended up hoping on Comixology and getting the entire available back catalogue of Fables (the comic on which it is based). Now armed with a more thorough knowledge of the setting, it is time to sink my teeth into Episode 2. This being the second part of an episodic, rather than going over familiar ground, I’ll just direct you to our first review for the basics.
The style of the game remains enthralling in a surreal fantasy noir kind of way. This time around I noticed some of the artsier touches that slipped by me on the first episode, like the way the game handles shadows. Rather than just casting the already largely dark atmosphere into blackness, the shadow subtly shifts the tones of the environment.
Small details like that meld well with cinematic touches. Watching the edge of the screen will sometimes reveal the telltale (heh) frame of a magic mirror, suggesting that you the player aren’t the only one watching the events unfold. Care is taken to ensure that there is a consistency and fidelity to the props, too, even bridging episodes. Something sitting on a character’s desk in one scene could appear at a crime scene later on, even if the game doesn’t necessarily highlight it as a clue.
The man addition to the game, though, is the expanding cast. As I’ve said, I’ve now read much of the print run of Fables, and characters are rendered with remarkable fidelity, such that when staples of the series, like Jack or Bluebeard, make an appearance you know precisely who they are at first glance.
As in the first one, the gameplay is less about figuring things out as deciding how you want the investigation to go down. You can play things up on the intimidation side of the equation, abusing suspects, robbing them, and then extorting information out of people with threats of property damage. You can alternately go easy on people, going so far as cutting off the questioning of a toad to avoid making him cry.
Unlike many such games of investigation, the game lets you blunder or make the connections as you choose. Since forward progress isn’t barred by your own stupidity, actually making connections between pieces of evidence feels just that much more rewarding, and when you notice non-highlighted evidence that gives you a further indication, that’s even better.
The voice work remains above average and quite appropriate to the characters. I noticed a tendency toward gruff cockney accents that put me in mind of a Guy Ritchie movie (again), but that’s by no means a bad thing. The music is moody and sets the tone, but it can lean a little heavily on the “moog” side of the spectrum for my taste, if that makes sense. (If it doesn’t, I’m talking about keyboards.)
I can’t discuss the story much without spoiling important plot points, but suffice to say there are a few swerves and a couple of incidental decisions made in the previous episode have their consequences show up here.
One thing I can add is that now that I know the characterization of the comic versus the game, there are a few places where things don’t quite match up. The main one, as was quite evident in the first game, is Snow White. She’s much less sure of herself in the game than the comic. Bigby, on the other hand, can be played pretty much exactly as he’d be in the comics.
What can I say? I was anxious to get my hands on this game, I played it all the way through in one sitting, and it wasn’t a letdown. Get it, play it, enjoy it.
9.7 / 10: The second episode of The Wolf Among Us packs the same punch as the first, and leaves me drooling for the third.