The Council: Episode 4 (Xbox One) REVIEW – Messy, But Still Enjoyable
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Developer: Big Bad Wolf Publisher: Focus Home Interactive Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One, PC Review Copy Provided
This review is part of an ongoing series of the episodic adventure game The Council, where you control Louis De Richet as he attends a conference of the world’s leading political figures. Naturally, mystery and death don’t stray too far behind. If you want to read up on prior episodes, check out what we had to say about episode 1 (which includes more details on game mechanics and the like), episode 2 and episode 3.
When we last left The Council, our hero Louis De Richet had reunited with his mother and found a massive crypt underneath Mortimer’s giant mansion; a crypt that may or may not have taken your arm depending on whether or not you solved the puzzle correctly. It’s never a dull moment in the world of The Council, unless you’re solving biblical puzzles. Surprise, this episode opens with another one.
Thankfully, this puzzle isn’t quite so obtuse as previous episodes, as you’re merely tasked with talking to a few characters, scanning the environment and judging which item is the right one. In this instance, the game also gives you hints as to where to go, who to speak to and so on. It seems like the developers have perhaps learnt from their previous mistakes.
It’s what happens in the chapters afterwards that makes Episode 4 of The Council so interesting. Without giving away too much, everything about the game and its story gets turned on its head, and you’re left grappling with this new reality. These revelations also come with new abilities that can make conversations with certain characters much easier, along with an interesting set piece towards the end of the episode.
This twist takes the story into a new direction, leading to a finale where literally anything could happen, which is always exciting to think about. There’s nothing better in a narrative adventure game than a story that isn’t predictable, and at this point, The Council sure isn’t.
That being said, the story, or at least my version of the story, led to the deaths of a couple of big characters, and The Council doesn’t seem to properly resolve those plot threads. One death is just glossed over and practically forgotten about in the next scene, while the other is frantically waved off under the same umbrella as the aforementioned twist.
Episode 4 also suffers from the same technical missteps as the previous episodes too, with subtitles being misspelled or just missing entirely, some sound and graphical glitches mar the experience and the loading screens that are still just a little bit too long make their return to the game.
The biggest glitch though is one that returns from Episode 3, which is the balcony glitch in Elizabeth Adams’ bedroom. If you exit the room onto the balcony then try to return, you’ll end up stuck behind a double bed with no way of moving other than the door you’ve just walked in and out of.
This glitch wasn’t too bad in the previous episode, as you were allowed to explore other bedrooms from the balcony, but in this episode, your only escape from the balcony is through Adams’ room, meaning you’re trapped forever. If you don’t manage to quit before the game autosaves, you’ll have to restart the chapter all over again. Players, consider this a warning. Big Bad Wolf, consider it a heads-up.
Episode 4, Burning Bridges, maintains the return to form that was a established in the previous episode, but it still feels like a lot of the same mistakes are being made. Here’s hoping that Big Bad Wolf can close things out with an absolute banger of a finale.
Though the glitches are still present, along with the Bible puzzles, Episode 4 of The Council focuses more on what works: narrative twists and tense conversations between the characters where everything is at stake.