The Council: Episode 3 – Ripples
The Council: Episode 4 – Burning Bridges
So now that we have reached Episode Three & Four of The Council, there are still a lot of questions to be answered. Especially about the rest of the guests at Lord Mortimer’s mansion and what their motivations are and how you came to meet them on the island!
While there is still a lot to learn about each one of them, there are still some guests lurking in the shadows waiting to present themselves. While intriguing to find out who they are, at this point in the proceedings, it feels a little mundane and you are now going through the motions just to get to the end. In this episode, nothing much has changed in the way of gameplay and it can feel a little stale as you progress through the game.
When Lord Mortimer announces his project to his guests at a meeting/conference and what he plans. It up to you as Louis to try and dissect the situation and to try find out as much as possible about each member of the group’s intentions. Throughout the episode, you will need to make some strategic choices, those that seem to him the most plausible for the future. Every decision made is fraught with consequences and will have a direct impact on whether you’re a success or a failure regarding the rest of the game.
It’s this puzzle of sorts that will effectively spark those brain cells and will have you constantly thinking and working out the what has happened to date, while you are foraging through the mansion. This would not be that much of a headache if it were not for the multitude of loading screens that seem to litter each episode that can make exploration in the game nauseatingly tedious. While the general atmosphere in the game is the same throughout and really adds to the overall narrative, it’s these loading screens that really ruin the experience during your play-through.
Another point to note from a technical standpoint is that there seems to be a little more texture bugs that appear as you play. The lip syncing that the game seems to suffer is more apparent here than ever and sometimes the game can suffer from a sort of distortion or sound mixing regarding each character’s voices. The same can be said with each of the characters facial expressions that appear to be frozen in time. It’s like they have some sort of rigor mortis has set in when they are trying to convey any sort of emotion! The only two characters that seem to avoid this small pitfall would be that of your character and Lord Mortimer himself.
I found it strange that a game that is so heavily relying on facial expressions and the immersion of the characters and the relationships they form that this would have been neglected as much as it has been.
The RPG mechanics and choices within The Council has been consistent throughout the game and while Episode Three and Four has added a few “new elements” it can still feel a little stale in comparison to some of the games that are out today. The characters you converse and interact with, seem to be more of an after thought and are more of a backdrop to the game rather than adding anything meaty to adventure you have undertaken.
While the games mechanism of your choices and their related consequences that leaves you wondering if you did the right thing refreshing at times, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the be all and end all, of those characters futures. Often is the cause you are felt that the choices you have made up until now have not THAT much bearing on the overall outcome of the narrative. In relation to the overall story as your progress through each episode, I had high hopes after Episode One and Two. Things only started to spice up a little in Episode Three when we see Louis de Richet enters the catacombs under the island of Lord Mortimer, which you are still left scratching your head about what his true motives are.
As with the previous episodes, Louis has different abilities with an RPG element that’s part of the game. These abilities or skills are in categories such as; Social, Scientific, Political and Esoteric and always make it possible to reduce or cancel the cost of certain specific actions during your dialogue with the other characters in the game. There are consumable items that you can collect to help offset these points so that you can use them more often.
The Council has been a mixed bag of emotions through the time we played, and it feels as if the game is unsure on what it’s trying to achieve. While the back drop to the game is amazing and its design is well presented to you throughout the game. It feels as though some of the characters have been shoved into the background that may never see daylight like the rest of the cast, which is a shame.
With Episodes Three & Four set and done, what can Episode Five give us as we bring our adventure to a close. These last two episodes had very little puzzles like in previous episodes and for some reason the framerate was too unstable, which didn’t help what was already hindering this game. At times the games story would ramp up very fast as it reached its end, but it felt like it was more of a rush than anything else. The Council comes to a conclusion at the end of this year and hopefully this journey will have been worth it when we see how it all ends!
GoG Rating: 6/10