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*Couldn’t Find Episode 1 Review*
“Smoke and Mirrors” continues the pseudo-noir vibe of the series, and gives us our first big reveal
Story (with Spoilers)
We continue where we left off, with Snow’s murder being the newest victim of the case. But, surprisingly, we find Snow isn’t the victim, but the sister of a fable we met. With this, we find that someone is obsessed with Snow, and we are lead on an investigation in which, in the end, we may find who it is, but seemingly won’t find out why until the next episode.
The story as a whole though is quite satisfying, and though it does feel a bit predictable in some ways.
The controls haven’t changed much since the first episode, but I did use a controller to play this time around and found it a bit easier to use. Moving around with the left analog stick I preferred, and with me being able to use the right-hand side controller buttons to open, investigate, and etc, it made things a bit easier for me, and quicker than using a mouse. However, there were moments during a fight scene in which I used the mouse because the right analog stick isn’t as exact for trying to hit someone, or defend yourself.
Combat Difficulty & AI
Only twice in the game do you have any type of fight and they aren’t as exciting as the one with the Woodsmen or Grendel. And with that, there isn’t much difficulty for you button mash, swing an analog stick, and then move the cursor to hit. And for all of that, I felt I was given more than enough time to even make an error or two if I wanted.
Graphics & Presentation
There isn’t much of a different in the graphic quality, since it still looks like advanced cell shading graphics, to fit a comic book style, but I do feel, and maybe I didn’t notice this back in the first episode, that TellTale is continuing to try to make up for the lack of AAA graphics by trying to give us enough expression, and less robotic movements, to help tell a story.
When it comes to the decisions made this round, I feel like a lot of them dealt with you showing empathy or mercy and not so much making split-second decisions, which for the first episode meant someone living or dying. With that, though some decisions surely make things easier, or will make things easier, I do feel that there weren’t any serious, major, story changing, decisions made.
Overall (Longevity): Lasts less than an hour and a half
To me, this was a decent way to spend an hour and a half, and I still remain quite enchanted, and interested, in what this series has to offer. However, I am beginning to wonder whether any decisions I’ve made, speaking solely about what I did this episode, will make big differences in the story, or just lead to slightly altered dialogue. And the only reason I worry about this is because that, to me, is the main selling point of this series. I mean, you can also note that TellTale adapting the stories of known media certainly helps, but when you compare the look of this game to others, it is really the story, and the sense your decisions matter which is what makes it good. And, as noted in Beyond: Two Souls, while having a good story is makes for a good foundation, letting players feel like each action could lead to a major consequence is far better. And to me, though I could be wrong, I just felt like nothing I did was going to do anything worth noting.
For example, of how decisions made which I don’t think will have major consequences in the future episode, in the first episode you can decide whether or not to keep Beauty’s secret, and in this episode keeping said secret is noted during your conversation when you meet her. That, to me, is the level of decision-making consequence in this episode. At most, you’ll get some slightly altered dialogue, and then end up with an inevitable sequence. Also, I haven’t played the game as the big bad wolf much yet, seemingly, Bigby’s previous reputation supersedes anything I say or do. Which, while understandable, it does add onto the idea that while I may choose dialogue, and that will lead the AI to saying certain things back, as a whole, what I say and do will have little consequence, at least in terms of the decisions made in this episode, I think. And maybe the issue is I keep having Mass Effect in the back of my head and compare it to this game, which is leading to higher expectation.
Either way, I think this remains worth a series pass, as does The Walking Dead, and I still find these games to be my favorite titles since I started playing video games back in the Playstation 1 era. But, there remains spots to be improved for, even with graphics aside, it would be nice if future episode had that seem feeling as the first in which decisions could lead to you getting more necessary information, maybe leading to someone’s death, or if not asking enough, or asking too many, questions could lead to something unfortunate happening.
Things to Note
- I’m currently waiting for ACTION! (A video recording software program) to export so I can upload major decisions done, and anything I think which was affected by my previous choices. It will be in video form, and with text in case you have limited data to use.