The Council Episode Two:
Hide and Seek Review
When The Council Ep 1: The Mad Ones dropped by and paid a visit, I was pleasantly surprised at how the game and setting was portrayed. The characters were intriguing and you always wanted to find out about each of them as much as possible and it always led to greater rewards as you played through. With the release of The Council Episode 2: Hide and Seek, I couldn’t wait to jump back in and see what happened after the big cliff-hanger from Episode 1.
In Episode 2, the game immediately picks up where we left off and we are met with Louis de Richet and his meeting with the mysterious Lord Mortimer. Lord Mortimer wants you to investigate the gruesome murder that has happened at his mansion. So it’s up to you to see what has actually happened and who the culprit is. So you head off to interview the various characters that are skulking around the mansion, as they try to come up with their own ideas of what may have happened. Some of the guests are there to help you while others want to hinder your progression.
Not only are you working to find out about who the murderer is, but you are still trying to find out what happened to your missing mother, Sarah de Richet. She plays a huge part in The Council, as she seems to be neck deep in everything that runs through the mansion. Your mother knew the murdered victim and as certain connections to the other guests in the mansion and even Lord Mortimer himself. Each character you meet and interview to find out more of what has happened plays a much bigger role in this episode. You meet characters like George Washington and Emily Hillsborrow in the last episode and they were more at the front of your enquiries. In Episode 2 however, they take a back seat and you get to know more about Lord Mortimer and who he is, plus we get more acquainted with Jacques Peru. He was previously known by the victim, Elizabeth Adams, and was been aggressive towards her in Episode 1.
The Council definitely stands out compared to other RPG titles, with how the gameplay is handled, with its light RPG elements and how they are utilised in the game. While it’s not as compelling as Episode one, it does the job and gives you plenty of information to pore over. The amount of information on offer, from documents and old artefacts to the books scattered about the mansion. There is also a lot of time spent interacting with the other characters you meet in this episode and while you can try to exploit their weaknesses with new dialogue from the knowledge you have acquired, it’s far from engrossing as it first was. Even if you acquire the right skills to help you to improve on your interaction with the characters sometimes they aren’t as important as you are first led to believe. So you soon figure out that the skill points you spent, could have been put to better use somewhere else. This episode feels more about researching than actually confronting the guests about their pasts or finding a motive to who could be the culprit.
What more adds to the tedious researching is that the majority of the puzzles that are in Episode 2, are rather tedious and don’t offer any real incentive. Most of them follow a similar pattern and are not particularly enjoyable to solve. It forces you to filter through endless amount of books in hoping to find that one single clue to solve the puzzle is not very rewarding at all. It’s a shame as with the previous episode, I thought the developers would have built upon what was achieved, rather than coasting along in Hide and Seek. Hopefully in Episode 3, this could be rectified or improved somewhat to make the researching part of the gameplay a bit more enjoyable and worthwhile.
The Council was never one to have the most amazing character details and Hide and Seek remains the same. Some of the characters facial expressions don’t always seem to work alongside the dialogue and it can be a bit off putting. It at times can be very unappealing to the eye. The expressions and how they move is awkward and even Mr. Holms creepy and contorted face peers at you like some creepy clown from a retro B horror movie. When you come this to the landscape and the overall look and feel of the island and Lord Mortimer’s mansion, it’s quite a huge contrast between the two. It’s as though the mansion itself is the star and the characters themselves are just extras in every scene. Each of the rooms have their own personality to them and they shine through the game. This is more apparent when we visit Lord Mortimer’s office as it has some nice touches to the interior plus a huge marble floor with a large gaping hole in the middle. It feels as though he would throw is ill mannered guests or staff down there just for the hell of it. It’s safe to say that the overall look and feel of the game may not change at all and hopefully story-wise, things improve as we move forward to its conclusion.
The Council still seems to suffer from the terrible load times that seem to be too often for my liking and are very inconsistent when moving from room to room. You can also notice some framerate issues when you are making Louis jog/run about the mansion and it can even slow down to a crawl at times. There were no such issues in the first episode, so it’s a bit confusing as to way it’s happening now. This should be rectified in the next episode and hopefully not a continuing issue moving forward. I also hope that more time is spent on improving the interactions with the other characters as while the conversations do branch out and make them worthwhile to interact with. The do seem to have received less attention than the previous episode and you are more pushed towards doing long dull puzzles instead. This makes the overall experience more about frustration than enjoyment.
The Council: Episode 2 Hide and Seek has not really lived up to the promises of continuing on from where Episode 1 left us. I was expecting much more to happen after the cliff-hanger, but was left with more of a bitter taste than anything else. I’m still intrigued to see how it all ends, but I feel that more time is needed to improve Episode 3, if Hide and Seek is anything to go by. I am still slightly optimistic about the conclusion of the story, only time will tell if it’s worth the journey.
GoG Rating: 6/10