The Council




Genre:    Adventure 

Developer:   Big Bad Wolf

Publisher:    Focus Home Interactive

Released:   March 13, 2018              

Requirements (minimum):


  • OS: Windows 7 or higher (64-bit)
  • Processor: Intel Core i3-2125 (3.3 GHz)/AMD FX-4100 3.6 GHz
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: GeForce GTX 750/Radeon R7 360 with 1 GB VRAM
  • Storage: 15 GB available space
  • Additional Notes: Internet connection required for activation



By flotsam


The Council

Big Bad Wolf

It took me a while to get through this, real life being what it is, and then I went back and started again to play it through in one go. I was glad I did, and it benefited from the restart. It had its clunky moments, and an unsatisfactory conclusion, but overall what I liked about it overshadowed what didn’t hit the mark.

It’s the 1790’s, and a prelude in Paris introduces us to Sarah de Richet and her son Louis, members of a secret society and in a somewhat difficult situation. Once resolved, we jump ahead a few months to an island off the coast of England, where Lord Mortimer has his estate, where Louis is arriving by boat, and where Sarah has gone missing. Louis is determined to find out what has happened, and the party invitation is a good starting point. He soon finds himself hobnobbing and more importantly conversing with all manner of historical characters, Napoleon Bonaparte and George Washington amongst them.

Conversing is probably a bit weak to describe this aspect. It is more akin to verbal fencing, with feints, ripostes and parries a-plenty. Winkling out the knowledge and secrets of the other characters is a key part of The Council, and the way it is done is a strength of the game. It is here where the game brings RPG elements to bare.

First you pick a calling, either Diplomat, Occultist or Detective. Each comes with its own skills (or talents), which impact how you move through the game. You can build on those skills as you go, levelling up as you gather experience points, and the skills of other callings can also be acquired. Have lots at a low level or max out a few – its up to you. Conversation options will be affected by those skills (or the lack of them) and the skill level will impact how many effort points you need to expend to use a particular response. Points are impacted by your skill set, and are limited, but can be augmented by items you might find. It adds another layer. Who you are talking to, their own makeup, and what you are trying to elicit also play a part. Time can also be a consideration.

If it sounds complicated it isn’t really. It helps that the game provides an abundance of feedback as you go. Early on you might decide to examine some letters. Had I chosen a different calling, the addressee of at least one letter might have provided a more insightful result. I knew that because the game interface told me, suggesting perhaps a skill I might invest in down the track.

The conversation repartee and how it worked means you need to think about your response. Once I settled into the rhythm of the game, chatting to people was akin to developing a strategy to elicit the information I needed. It could backfire spectacularly, and you will know when it hasn’t worked, and I irritated more than one character with my approach. I don’t usually like conversation puzzles, but here it felt more organic and real than most other things I have played, and I liked it a lot.

How you can solve puzzles might also be affected, being solved in different ways based on your skills, and some puzzles can’t be done without certain skills. These won’t stop you moving on, but do offer a reason to play again.

Voice acting is a mixed bag, as are the visuals. Most of the environment is excellent, but many of the characters appear almost mummified. It faded a little into the background as I played, but never completely went away for some of them.

Playing through in one go means the ups and downs of any particular episode are somewhat smoothed over by the whole. There were also times when I thought the character skills that I had spent some considerable time deciding upon were sidelined by the game in favour of my own, but these were limited. There was a “what the” in the plot that in my view didn’t work, a verbosity that did need trimming, and I have mentioned the conclusion already.

It is played in the third person and you use the WASD keys to move around. The mouse is used to interact with the environment, but you don’t explore it by painting the scene in front of you. The mouse rotates the perspective around a central fixed point, and when you get close to an item you can interact with (look for the little sparkle), a left click will result in the various options then being available to you. It autosaves as you go.

I confess that despite some downsides, I hope we see more games like this.

I played on:

OS: Windows 10, 64 Bit

Processor: Intel i7-6700 4GHz


Video card: AMD Radeon RX 580 8192MB


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