If we are talking about cinematic adventures, Telltale Games comes to mind first. Ever since their first release in 2012, we have seen numerous excellent releases from that developer. However, it is always nice to see somebody else trying to add something to the genre. That is what Big Bad Wolf decided to do with The Council. At this point, only the first episode is available, so let’s see if they are on the right track.
Come, Join The Mad Ones!
Don’t be alarmed – The Mad Ones is just the official title of the first episode. The game occurs at the end of the 18th century. You will be playing as Louis De Richet, a member of the Golden Order secret society. You and your mother Sarah are invited to an island mansion along with a host of other guests. The list includes famous people of the time, such as George Washington and Napoleon Bonaparte, as well as cardinals, duchesses, and so on. At one point, Louis’ mom goes missing, and you need to figure out what happened. We are used to other releases in the genre being too cinematic. That is not the case with The Council. Genuine gaming elements are involved here, which is what makes things interesting.
Reveal New Info and Improve Your Skills
As the story unravels, you will uncover new information that will bring you closer to the goal. Here we can see the first downside of the game. There are some unexpected turns in behavior the characters make. Going from utterly calm to being outraged at once just doesn’t look believable. These pieces of the story are implemented to reveal new info, but I can’t help but feel that it could have been done a whole lot better.
But despite that, the gameplay mechanics are excellent, and they are a real selling point of the game. In fact, it all starts at the beginning when you choose a class. The real fun begins when you start earning experience points and improve your skills. There is a skill tree involving detective, occultist, and diplomatic skills. You can choose to focus on a single area or develop them all.
Decisions Truly Matter
From time to time, you will be asked to make a decision that will have an influence on the story. Depending on how you developed your character, you might have extra options offered. Let me give you just one example – opening the letter with a seal requires you to break it. However, if you are skilled enough, you may take a peek and find out what the message is about while remaining unnoticed.
The graphics are adequate, and there are no glitches. Some things are not quite logical, such as the fact that the library seems bigger than the entire mansion once you take a look at it from the outside. But despite that, the character animations are well-designed, and there is a lot of details related to the timeline. That being said, the voice acting is not in line with the 18th century all the time. For example, I’m pretty sure that “Holy Sh*t” wasn’t used back then.