REVIEW – Continuing this week’s WTF antics, this time, The Council reaches its end. Big Bad Wolf’s game has come to a conclusion, although it happens in a somewhat sad way. However, episodic games might see a significant evolution if other devs utilise this formula, as we haven’t seen many similar games try some RPG elements.
The Council‘s story started to become a bit frightening in episode four, and this tendency went further with the finale. Unfortunately, compared to the previous chapters, Checkmate ends far quicker than the rest, even with the epilogues included.
Our first goal in this episode will be making the other “team” voters join your side. In my case, the list was short – there were only three people, and one of them confirmed his allegiance after a simple conversation -, but we’ll still have at least one (or two) confrontations. Then, the story’s important segment, the voting, happens, and let’s not forget that a vote is only valid if all members vote the same way – just one no with everyone else saying yes can wreck the voting process for that scenario.
Here, the story starts to flip out big time as its plotlines begin to open up in front of us. In my case, I had to put the characters in the right order (and I met two people beforehand… or was it after?), then, an even more complicated puzzle followed with memories that needed to be put in the right order. The twist was that there were redundant memories in the list. Meanwhile, we’re going to meet someone that I shall not reveal, but I should name the person: Asahel. They will give us an offer that could put us in an advantageous position at the end of the story. In short, there will be a godlike battle. I hope it’s not spoiling things.
Then, the three of us will be in a room with even more weirdness. Asahel will step in to prepare us for the showdown, and in this case, I wasn’t able to fully get the last confrontation done, but thankfully, the first and the previous steps worked, and that meant I got out of the event in one piece. There was another scene, followed by an ending clip, and then, the epilogues followed for the characters with the staff roll closing the episode. For me, it was roughly 75 minutes, which means Checkmate was the shortest episode of them all, which is disappointing. The end (and there are multiple endings…) might not be suitable for you, but this is a good reason to replay the game, or maybe play with two saves, as there are variety and replayability, which isn’t that present in Telltale’s games…
So the game of Daemons (or… should I say, Game of Daemons?) becomes a theatrical play, making us play a pivotal role in the last 30-35% of it. Still, The Council became far better than what we could have initially expected.
The Council is one of the pleasant surprises of the year. Sure, there are mistakes here and there (weird lights on some clothes/body party, different of poorly typed subtitles, animations could be strange, and the characters might not have the best visuals in general), Big Bad Wolf might set a brand new standard for episodic games’ future. There were a few hilariously badly dubbed lines (I still fondly remember that line from the fourth episode; that pronunciation was terrible!), but the soundtrack did its job, and the animations were also MOSTLY alright. (However, if you try to open a door while being somewhat far away from it, Louis will be moved there like he was a piece of metal near a magnet – the result is some laughable “movement!)
So the episode itself gets a kind-hearted seven out of then, but as we’re at the end of the game, The Council, in general, receives a score. And it gets a decent one at that: an 8.5 out of 10. It’s a great idea which could have been improved here and there, but it still is a stunning game. Sure, it’s not on Life is Strange 2’s level, but seeing such a concept from a small team is a brave, bold, and honourable. If you like episodic games, get this game right now – maybe it’s going to get two playthroughs that could total 18-19 hours, which is more than several recent AAA games’ length! (And there’s also no live services, sucking the pEAnis, or a 50 GB day-1 patch, not to mention no getting thrown off a server randomly either!) On Steam, this game costs 15 dollars as it’s 50% off. Welp, I reached the character limit, to be continued with Soul Calibur VI tomorrow. (Or SoulCalibur VI. Why is it written in one word? I got used to seeing it in two….)
+ RPG elements in an episodic game
+ Mostly excellent voice acting
– Minor flaws in animations, subtitles, and in the dubbing here and there
– The story takes a brave turn, which might not be easy to digest
– The characters’ looks might be a bit… off?
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive, Cyanide
Developer: Big Bad Wolf Games
Genre: episodic, adventure, puzzle
Release date: December 4, 2018