It’s hard to keep an episodic game strong in the middle act. The Council Episode 3: Ripples does not start out strong unfortunately. But really, if you are this far along, are you going to stop now? Is it that bad you will put your controller down and opt out of Episode 4 and 5? No. Just don’t expect to be blown away. I will be keeping my thoughts spoiler free, so feel free to read and find out if this game is worth putting in your episodic rotation of games. I mean, The Walking Dead did just start up again…
I picked up The Council late, catching up on Episode 1 and 2 before moving to this one. Overall I have been enjoying my experience with the game. While the voice acting is a bit cheesy and certainly not up the standard of some other episodic games I have played before, it does not deter from the interesting story and unique graphics that make up the entirety of The Council. Gameplay continues to be focused on dialog and using the skills you have built up in the character tree. By the time you get to Ripples, players really start to see the power of investing in certain skills, creating a unique experience for everyone, with lots of replay value for those who want to see all the various side stories and optional paths for our protagonist Louis.
The Council Episode 3 continues to pit Louis De Richet in a mental game with many historical figures on a quest to discover all the mysteries of the Lord Mortimer’s conference of political power players. Players must take their time choosing when to use their dialog abilities as they have a limited amount, although if you spend your time hunting you can generally keep your meter up with royal jelly hidden throughout the castle. Depending on your path up to this point, you should know who you can trust and who is lying. This is part of the charm of The Council.
As with Episode 2, we also get a fun and challenging puzzle in Episode 3. I did like that even if you do not solve the puzzle, the game will continue forward. The Council Episode 3 continues to be a solid combo of dialog and standard puzzles, with the addition of hunting for coins and other power ups. As you explore take the time to note how well designed the rooms of the castle are and the intricate detail was put into world you explore. If you can ignore the buggy lip syncing, graphically it really is a well done indie game.
The Council Episode 3 also keeps the feeling of owning your previous choices, as players must really pick from multiple sides while conversing with characters, good or bad, it helps to stick with some people and see where it takes you. Beyond the graphics, the story is the strongest draw of the game. Even in a middle episode I was still intrigued enough to keep going and am looking forward to future episodes to see where this all ends up, well, on my playthrough anyway. Yours could be different depending on how you chose to play it out.
There are still lots that could be improved with The Council, but if you enjoyed the first two episodes, expect more of the same with Ripples. While not as strong an entry as the first episode, I did find it superior as a whole to the second episode though. Lets hope developer Big Bad Wolf can keep it up and we end up with a strong Episode 4 in the coming months. I personally am looking forward to seeing where all this intrigue and dialog choices leads. Even if you are not a fan of episodic games, if you a history buff, and like to support indie games, you should still give The Council a shot. Of course check back in the future for our full review of later episodes.
The Council is releasing in episodes with plans to be complete by the end of this year. This review is for Episode 3 and is based on a PS4 code provided by the publisher.