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 didnt
hit the mark.
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
If it sounds complicated it isnt
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
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 hasnt
worked, and I irritated more than one character with my approach. I dont
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 cant
be done without certain skills. These wont
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
in the plot that in my view didnt
work, a verbosity that did need trimming, and I have mentioned the
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 dont
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
I played on:
OS: Windows 10, 64 Bit
Processor: Intel i7-6700 4GHz
RAM: 32GB GDDR5
Video card: AMD
Radeon RX 580 8192MB
GameBoomers Review Guidelines
design copyright© 2019