In today’s play-by-play, I have the unfortunate news that I will be ending my running commentary on The Council, an episodic game that I began earlier this year. If you’ve read the write up from Episode Two, you might have seen it coming, but I felt there was a lack of polish that now, at the beginning of Episode Three, has resulted in me deciding not to continue the game. I don’t like the thought of leaving the series here on a cliffhanger though, so I’ll share my opinions on why The Council has failed to grip me and what exactly resulted in me deciding to drop the game.
The first episode had it’s quirks – the character models were hideous – but there was a lot of promise under the rough exterior. I really felt that the developers were doing something interesting with the adventure game structure by adding things like vulnerabilities and immunities to the characters and by adding skills and levelling to the player character. The central mystery wasn’t set up particularly well, but it felt like there was room to grow. I walked away feeling mildly optimistic about where the game would go from there.
Then, in Episode Two, the cracks began to get wider – the writing started to be increasingly slapdash – characters contradicted themselves constantly, and not in the ‘ooh, that’s mysterious’ kind of way, and more in the ‘did the writers check their work before they put it up for sale’ kind of way. And that was something that was too much to look past. I did however, think I’d like to push through and see what more the game had to offer. I was already two-fifths done, and it’s not like it takes a long time to finish each episode. After writing the post recapping the second episode, I kept the game downloaded on my PS5, ready to play through Episode Three the following weekend.
Then, that weekend came and went, without me playing through the episode. I just couldn’t motivate myself to play any more. It’s been on the back of my mind for a couple of days, wondering when I was going to dive in and sit down with it. Then yesterday, I finally took the plunge. I began the episode with the confrontation with Louis’ mother, the character we’ve been on the tail of for the last two episode. In a conversation that just didn’t really make much sense to me, I was then told to attend the meeting all of the guests had come to the island to attend. Lord Mortimer shared his plan for Spain to cede Louisiana to the French, but offered no real benefits for Spain in doing so other than that he just said they should. The Spanish Prime Minister was understandably not convinced and left the room, at which point, so did I. Now there might be further explanation in the rest of the episode as to why Lord Mortimer prepared no way to convince Spain to see things his way, but based on the writing I’d seen in the previous episode, I’m not convinced. I have no desire to play more of The Council, and I could safely say that I wouldn’t particularly recommend for you to buy it either. Spend your money elsewhere.