Reviews - Updated on April 12, 2022

At the end of last year, the new CEO of Telltale Games talked about how much the company needs to innovate and improve product quality. The studio has been releasing episodic adventures for many years, but it’s almost impossible to see the difference between junk like 2010’s Back to the Future: The Game and the ending season of Batman. Decisions that do not affect almost anything, primitive gameplay, stylized but mediocre graphics – not only many players, but also developers are tired of all this. The genre, in which only a few act in addition to Telltale, needs a shake-up, fresh blood. And with the release of the first episode of The Council, the debut project of the French studio Big Bad Wolf, the ice seems to have broken.Council game review

There is no way without fatal beauties with a large bust today.

Hello Napoleon!

The game takes place at the end of the 18th century. The protagonist, Louis de Richet, is invited to the private island of a certain Lord Mortimer, where several prominent personalities have gathered, including George Washington and Napoleon Bonaparte. Louis goes to a private reception, but he does it not only for the sake of meeting respected gentlemen and ladies – he is looking for a missing mother who is hiding somewhere on this island, but so far has not come across anyone’s eyes.

As is usually the case, in the first episode, the player is not bombarded with unexpected plot twists and spectacular scenes. He is gradually introduced to all the main characters in order to get to know them better, to enter data into a journal and use these facts against them in conversations. The people Louie meets have different personalities and are resistant or weak to one or the other attempts to extract information from them, and when choosing dialogue lines it is important to keep all this in mind and sometimes consult notes.

At the same time, the episode cannot be called boring either – Louis will learn more and more interesting details about his mother’s past over and over again. At the end of the passage, the story becomes so exciting that you begin to regret having to wait a couple of months for the next chapter. And two diametrically opposite endings, most likely, will eventually lead to different consequences.

There are really big problems with facial animation in The Council, and it’s hard to argue with this – in some scenes this fact can greatly distract the player watching the negotiations between the two “woods”. But the mansion turned out to be impressively beautiful and detailed: marble walls and columns, courteous servants in masks, huge bookcases full of books, statues and figurines placed everywhere. The walls of many rooms are hung with paintings by famous artists – Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt and Jean-Baptiste Regnault. If the game does not surprise with the animation and quality of the models, then everything is in order with the design and atmosphere.

Council game review

Communication with secondary characters also bears fruit.

An unusual lot

The gameplay of The Council is very similar to Telltale’s interactive “kintso”, but there are much more features and subtleties here. For example, the main character has three small skill trees, like in some RPG, and the main one must be selected at the very beginning of the episode. The diplomat’s skills make Louis more eloquent and persuasive, allowing him to talk to other guests on additional topics. The detective notices the smallest details in the behavior of the interlocutors – he is insightful, dexterous, understands psychology and knows how to interrogate others. Well, the occultist is distinguished by cunning, erudition and love of science. When a class is selected, all skills related to it are raised to the first level and can be used in dialogues. The rest of the abilities can also be unlocked, but for this you will have to spend experience points that are issued after leveling up.

The first episode is divided into four chapters, after each of which the results are summed up. The player is shown which scenes succeeded, which ones failed, as well as which plot points they missed – a great reason to replay the chapter if there is something interesting in the list. Depending on the results, the protagonist receives experience points – goals achieved, open character traits, new acquaintances, exploited weaknesses, and much more are taken into account here. If you were in a hurry and thoughtlessly clicked on everything without exploring the location, you will get very little experience and will not be able to improve the desired skills. And if you played “by the rules” and paid attention to every little thing, the game will generously reward you for this and allow you to upgrade one or two abilities.

And a lot depends on the choice of skills here. Since my hero knew nothing about politics, it was not possible to discuss it with Washington. And the inability to break locks led to the fact that a couple of closed boxes had to be left untouched. In dialogs, some replicas also become available or blocked. Not able to pressure the opponent to make him speak, or not trained in etiquette – grieve about missed opportunities and choose a different answer. Usually there are several ways to achieve the goal, using different emotions, so regardless of the active skills, you will surely manage to get out of a difficult situation. But here it is worth remembering about action points, of which Louis has a limited amount.

Council game review

Meet Napoleon Bonaparte.

All in your hands

The fact is that points are spent on all actions related to abilities. If only one of them is selected for hacking, then four are sometimes used at once in dialogues. And when the hero has only seven points in his arsenal, they have to be sacrificed wisely. You are no longer so sure of the need to read a book written in Latin, although you have studied linguistics – what if in a couple of minutes you will have to communicate with Bonaparte, and you spent money?

Part of the points is restored after each chapter, one is returned upon successful use of the interlocutor’s weakness, and two of them can be earned by eating honey, pots of which are scattered throughout the mansion. There are other collectibles, including books, one of which you choose at the beginning of a chapter for a free level up in a particular skill. And if you find a few fragments of amber, you can permanently increase the number of action points. So studying the locations here is no less important than chatting with distinguished guests.

All this may seem like a bunch of meaningless mechanics and completely confuse those who might be interested in The Council, but in fact everything is extremely simple. The above is gradually explained in the process of passing, and the player always feels complete control over what is happening. There are no Telltale-style QTEs here – only dialogues and the need to periodically make decisions related to plot forks. There are also confrontations in the manner of those that were added in Life is Strange: Before the Storm. Only Louis is not as caustic as Chloe, and he doesn’t know how to cling to words – it’s more important to use logic and remember the weaknesses of the people with whom you arrange verbal duels.

Council game review

I played The Council – it was like going to a museum.

***

Of course, it is impossible to draw conclusions from the first episode – we will probably see the season finale only towards the end of the year. Perhaps the RPG elements will fade into the background very soon, as the player will have enough points to get all the skills. At the same time, a limited number of action points can lead to the fact that at some points it will become more difficult to restore them, and in dialogues you will have to spend more money on “correct” answers. So far, The Council seems like a long-awaited evolution of a genre in which they either couldn’t or didn’t want to come up with something new. And it’s interesting to interact with the characters, and it’s exciting to explore each room, and every action here is rewarded, and the story promises to be exciting. It combines an era outlandish for video games and unusual gameplay – these components can be forgiven for bad animation.

Pros: unusual era and excellent design of the mansion; RPG elements fit perfectly into the adventure game; the options in the dialogues depend on the leveling of the character; locations are strewn with secrets and collectibles; interesting beginning of the story and two diametrically opposite endings.

Cons: some character designs can be off-putting; Facial animation leaves much to be desired.

Đánh giá Star
Similar content:

ENDER LILIES: Quietus of the Knights Review & Gameplay

Reviews • 31/03/2022

Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights garnered a lot of attention when it hit Steam Early Access this winter. And it’s not just that ...

Saints Row (2022) Review & Guide

Reviews • 30/03/2022

Koch Media and Volition in the first teaser of the new Saints Row thickly hinted that the series is waiting for a reboot. They ...

Encased: Early Version Review

Reviews • 07/04/2022

Publisher Black Tower Entertainment positions itself as an incubator for creating quality RPGs. However, one of the first pancakes – “bagel” Sin Slayers came ...

Sir Lovelot Review & Wiki

Reviews • 06/04/2022

A platformer divided into levels with obstacles, traps and collectibles, which has an instant restart after death – when you see such a description, ...