Sometimes all we really want is to become immersed in a stunning story, void of any shooting, combat and the like. The Council, which debuts today with its first episode – The Mad Ones – is just that.

Depending upon your ability to talk your way into and out of situations, the Council focuses on a secret society member, Louis de Richet, who has been invited to a private island owned by the mysterious Lord Mortimer. In true murder mystery fashion, your fellow guests all have interesting stories, and it is up to you to find clues, uncover everybody’s secrets and understand how they all play a role in the game. Even though The Council is set in 1793, you may be surprised to find such political figures as Napoleon Bonaparte and the President of the newly formed United States of America, George Washington, playing a part in proceedings!

The main way you will go about this is by conversing with the many characters you will get to know, using a multitude of dialogue options to get what you want out of them in a sensible manner. The most exciting part, however, is the fact that you can upgrade your social skills through a traditional RPG skill tree and class system, purchasing new skills to unlock different dialog options. For example, if you needed to persuade a servant to give you a certain item, and you had the Manipulation skill unlocked, then you could use this to manipulate the servant into handing over the item. It may seem confusing at first, but it all boils down to how you would approach the task at hand in order.

Of course delving into what is quite a suspicious murder will raise alarm with characters, and you could find yourself on the wrong end of a particularly angry guest. With a knife against your throat it may be hard to think straight but this is where the Confrontation system comes into play, as Louis must use the information you have gathered to explain yourself. There is no Game Over, nor quick-saves and quick-loads. You must live with your mistakes, and sometimes that comes with a heavy price to pay throughout the 5 part episodic adventure. At the end of the series, don’t be surprised to see de Richet with nasty cuts and bruises across him because of what you said in Episode 2. So think before you speak!

Visually, one look at The Council and you can quickly see it is similar to the Dishonored games, and it looks to be a unique spin on the classic narrative adventure. You can grab Episode 1 – The Mad Ones from the Microsoft Store now for £6.39, whilst the Complete Season will set you back £23.99 and the Season Pass as a £19.99 individual purchase. Grabbing the latter will also give you access to future chapters a couple of days before their normal release. The Council should also now be available on PS4 and PC.

We’ve got a full review coming but should you be interested then we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

Game Description:

The Mad Ones is the first episode of The Council’s 5-episode season. Get the full experience with the Complete Season, or all remaining episodes with the Season Pass. The Council is an episodic game like no other. Delivering a fresh take on the Narrative Adventure, your choices and character growth truly matter. Make hard-hitting decisions, but also develop an array of skills to directly impact how the story unfolds. With permanent consequences, there is no going back. Plunge into a tale of intrigue and manipulation, with a cast of alluring characters each hiding their own dark secrets. Take the role of secret society member Louis de Richet after his invitation to a private island off the shores of 1793 England. Joining him are a number of guests, including Napoleon Bonaparte and George Washington. The strange nature of this reception goes beyond the prestigious guests – Richet’s mother has gone missing on the island, while each of the colorful cast has their own hidden agendas.

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