So here we are with the penultimate episode in the deeply political and highly intriguing saga which is The Council. The writers and developers have an even trickier job this time round than with the last episode, which was the complicated middle chapter. Here they have to set up most of the exposition and narrative to let the finale fully blossom. So how does it fare? Does it get the taste buds wet with anticipation or is it like a vegan sausage… alright, but a bit of a disappointment?
The action begins again from exactly where it left off after the third episode, and if you want to read my reviews of the other chapters then please do so because this won’t make much sense otherwise.
Set in the year 1793 you play as Louis de Richet, a French occult expert who has come to Lord Mortimer’s private Island in search of his mother, and colleague, who has gone missing two days earlier. In the first episode, we discovered secret rooms with unusual artifacts and it finished with a murder. The second episode focused on the host, letting us discover some of this motives. It finished by seeing your mother holding a gun at your head.
In the last episode, it all kicked off at a conference, with some very clever political chess playing. The council was divided about how to proceed in North America and you were asked to choose a side. It also became very clear about the ramifications and purpose of the council, and a darker aspect about who Mortimer really was. Were there such things as demons? In the end, you and your mother were sent on an adventure under the estate’s grounds, only to come across a lethal puzzle that could signal the entrance to something with all the answers…
In this exciting but exposition-heavy episode it really does deliver the truth about a lot of things, explaining the lore and secrets behind the world the developers have created. It all starts with you going through the secret door and deep underground. Here you find a strange crypt in a vast underground area, from which you start looking for a religious artifact to do with the crucifixion of Christ. Like in Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, you have many artifacts to choose from and it’s up to you to utilise research and investigation skills to find the right one. After a while, you are charged with meeting your mother back on the docks in the hope you can make a quick escape. Lord Mortimer has other plans though and asks you for a moment of your time, before telling you the shocking truth about who he is and the mysterious origins of his organisation. Then he lets go a bombshell about who Louis really is and the relationship with his mother. Things then go from bad to worse, leaving you with a major decision to make…
The Council Episode 4 employs the usual delicate balance between exploration and dialogue choices. All the RPG elements of specialising in certain skill trees like politics or diversion help you in certain situations, levelling you up and allowing more knowledge as you progress.
I am still hooked into what this game has to offer and the twists and turns in this particular episode are absolutely brilliant. The concept and the world it has created is indeed both clever and epic in their scope and ingenuity; there has been a great mix of real-world history, religious texts, and a truly imagined world all blended in a very clever way. This episode is however shorter than the others but that which is included is hugely enjoyable. What I do like is that there’s a code puzzle to decipher, but what’s nice about it is I won’t find out whether I’ve cracked it or not until the next episode.
Chapter 4 of The Council has some great looking locations too and I particularly like the crypt underground; it’s still a great spot to spend some time in. That said, for all its good bits, there have been a few lip syncing problems still and in one strange scene two characters were both talking but the mouths weren’t moving. Did it spoil my enjoyment of The Council though? Not one bit, because everything else is top notch.
Bring on the finale!