Big Bad Wolf / Focus Home Interactive (studio)
15 May 2018 (released)
15 May 2018
It’s only been two months since the last instalment of The Council and I’ve been waiting eagerly to see what happens next for our Louis de Richet. Last time we saw our handsome lead begin his journey at the island retreat of Lord Mortimer, where he’s also invited some high profile quests including Napoleon and President George Washington. Louis is here at the gathering for two reasons, to represent the Golden Order at the infamous meeting held every year and to also look for his missing mother. The last episode left us on a small cliff-hanger and soon enough things go from bad to worse.
Am I talking about the story’s events or just the game in general? Let’s find out.
Now a quick recap: The Council is a story driven adventure game where players will have to use a host of skills and tactics during conversations with fellow guests to find out more information. There’s a good variation of social elements and topics you can invest in and use the skills acquired to find out more about a particular guest, the manor or about the secret meeting that’s soon to take place. 70% of the game is driven through dialogues and in-depth conversations between yourself and a person of interest. There are different outcomes, multiple choices and events which take place and everything has a cause and effect depending on your actions.
The first episode had a great deal of build-up but also some very interesting factors which made a significant impact on your journey. You could easily miss very important plot elements if you choose the wrong thing to say. This episode is more focused on lateral elements and exploration, making it a nice change of pacing from episode one. This episode is broken up into three chapters and for a brief overview I’ll state which ones are good and which ones aren’t. Summed up, Episode 2: Chapter One – Bad Chapter Two – Good Chapter Three – okay. So as you can see there’s a drastic mixture of good and bad. I’ll break it down to explain.
Episode One is by far the worse chapter in the entire game so far. It starts off with an extremely long winded dialogue exchange which really has no impact on the rest of the story, it just feels like filler that’s trying to be important. Maybe later on it’ll have some baring on the story but it’s a tedious and overly long interactive cut-scene with plenty of redundant questions, including a few trick ones. I hated some of these questions as they’re very petty in objective and execution.
One question asks you to choose the correct spelling of a character you see, for less than two minutes at the very beginning of Episode one. Why? I’m sure Louis would’ve remembered the name as he does remember Greek myths, Political endeavours from 200 years ago and much more. But remembering the correct spelling of a name? The developers thought an enthralling exchange of dialogue would be to have players guess the correct spelling of the name?
It doesn’t even go anywhere if you get it right or wrong.
The second problem with this chapter is the lengthy and tedious Riddle based puzzle. It involves breaking down a series of riddles, studying a number of paintings and matching clues from riddles to particular passages of the Bible. It goes on for far too long and while many of the clues make sense, I found the last part of the puzzle to be the most infuriating, lacking direction for the most part and given a couple of red hearings to divert players away from the correct answer. It’s a painful and tedious puzzle I was thankful when it ended.
The second chapter is more interesting and has Louis engage in a confrontation, break up an argument and explore a secret room where you could easily trap yourself in. It’s fine and has some small lateral elements which seemed much more focused and included some investigative elements. Lastly chapter three sees Louis solving yet another puzzle within a small maze at the centre of the manor. It’s one that doesn’t require too much deduction but could be very misleading if you’re an outsider to Greek mythology, or even if you know something about it.
I’m aware of Greek Mythology and my first guest was wrong, even though I thought it made the most sense. The answer does make sense in the context of a clue you’re given but overall could throw you off if you’re following the myth itself. The episode ends on another cliff-hanger and is in comparison to the first episode much, much shorter. It wasn’t worth the two month wait and hopefully we won’t have to wait much longer for Episode three.
I did like the change of pacing with more lateral elements this time round but the riddle puzzle was unbearable and the lengthy dialogue exchanges can also drag down the otherwise intriguing mystery. This feels like a filler episode, bridging the more engaging first episode to (hopefully) the more enthralling third part of The Council. This is nothing terrible, but a miss step that really could impair people’s interest in the story.