The Council: Episode 3 – Ripples
Lots of things tend to sag in the middle, particularly my comic book shelf that has been questionably overfilled. Understanding why there is a sag is just as important in noticing the lasting damage it causes. In the case of my bookcase, I’ve simply over encumbered the shelf. How does this apply to The Council? Well, episode 3 is at the point where that sag in the middle could turn into a catastrophic slope.
After the insane cliff-hanger of Episode 2 and strong start of Episode 1, there was a lot riding on the next instalment. It’s probably the plot that broke the camel’s back. Episode 3 dials back massively on progression and character development to embellish the revelation of whoever was in the sewers at the end of episode 2. For by that, I can barely recount the key points bar one too many discussions held about the events of previous games and the lingering notion that we are all on the island to change the world.
Even the environment begins to stagnate as you continue to potter about the same rooms as before with little to no new real areas to explore outside of the sewer and its collected tunnels. The lack of new areas to explore also results in a distinct lack of collectibles and consumables, often resulting in many of the more costly actions being just out of reach if you hadn’t prepared properly.
And just like the plot and the environment, the gameplay is still largely unchanged. You’ll still need to incredibly observant during dialogue to pinpoint opportunities, but, with your increasing repertoire of social skills these feel far less tactical and more obligatory. In fact the only time I believe I missed an additional opportunity was due to a lull in the amount of attention The Council demanded. As for the puzzles, Episode 3 is incredibly light. Outside of the final puzzle, which involves a lot of reading, religion, and rotation, there’s very little in the way of challenge.
By this point in The Council’s episodic delivery there’s not been much of a wait between episodes, which is fantastic, but Episode 3 is by far the shortest yet. With about 2 hours playtime and a lot of re-treaded ground, it’s hard to really sing praise that we haven’t touched upon previously and the shine that was evident in The Mad Ones is dulling. If this truly is just a sag in the middle, that means an upswing is hopefully just around the corner.