I’m all for a good mystery. A well presented narrative game where “decisions matter” is exactly my cup of tea. The Council presents a “Whodunnit” in the form of trying to find your missing mother. Environments are beautiful but that is where the game stops impressing. The voice work isn’t great and the story is all over the place. After completing the first chapter I forgot all about trying to find my mother and instead was semi-curious about everyone else’s reason for being in the same place at the same time.
The Council does have some good things going for it. When the game starts you can select a class for protagonist, Louis. Each class will give you a skill tree that can be used when engaging in conversations later on the game. This will help Louis keep up with the search for his mother while finding out other interesting facts about the guests staying in the mansion. The conversations are a key part of the game mechanics as everything weighs on whether or not you get the information you need. Unlike other “narrative games”when you fail a conversation in The Council the game keeps going. Other guests will build negative feelings towards you and you’ll need a higher skillset next time you challenge someone in conversation.
The problems with The Council come from all the characters in the game. The voice acting isn’t great and the main character doesn’t have any emotion in his acting. Accents are all over the place and after talking to everyone in the mansion I stopped caring about Louis’s mother and cared more about the overarching plotline that was sprinkled throughout.
The controls feel like they were more suited for a mouse and keyboard rather than a controller. Every time I walked into a new area and the camera angle changed I had to readjust my fingers on the controller otherwise Louis would end up in walking off in some other direction. Trying to navigate around this massive mansion became more of a chore than fun exploration.
The Council isn’t a BAD game, but it’s not a great game. To be honest between the bad voice acting, not great controls, and weak story there’s a lot more bad than good. I am not even sure if I will pick up the rest of the series to continue. I might, just because I am still curious enough to try and figure out what happened. Or I’ll just wait until all the chapters are out and watch a Let’s Play on YouTube or something.
The reviewer was given a copy of The Council: Episode One on Xbox One for review purposes.