The Council: Episode 4 – Burning Bridges
Episodic games are curious things. Not much changes between episodes bar the story. You could even argue that there isn’t much to really talk about, but as soon as that episode ends there’s always an urge to grab the first person you can find to talk about them. It’s part of their magic. The Council has kind of been like that, magic.
Mechanically, the animations are still janky, the frame rates still judder, and character models look a little off. Yet, it matters not. Even as I looked deep in to Piaggi’s dead eyes, I was too engaged by the puzzles that lay underneath it all. An element that was definitely amiss from the previous episode.
Everything feels like it’s progressing towards a better place as the story ramps up after the cliff-hanger of episode 3. As the vault mechanism opens up a new area, we recount what we perceive to be the agendas of those visiting Lord Mortimer, as well as Mortimer himself. A much needed recap for a series that has now spanned a good chunk of the year. The area itself is unfortunately lacklustre, even though it is integral to the grand puzzle at the heart of episode 4.
Outside of the rather sparse cave we just opened, exploration is largely confined to Lord Mortimer’s mansion with the addition of Cardinal Piaggi’s room unlocking. Thankfully the drought of consumables is washed away by many of the previous episodes’ items being refreshed, giving you more reason to scurry around and investigate everything all over again.
There’s even more reason to bask in the detail of the décor thanks to the larger puzzle running concurrently throughout episode 4. Paintings are no longer and grand display of wealth, but intricately curated red herrings that bury a mystery just a little bit deeper. It’s something that very few games do reasonably well, let alone make it an integral part of the bigger picture, so when the pieces fall in to place you can’t help but appreciate the misdirection at play.
I was seriously concerned about the ending to The Council after the last episode. Yet, in just a few brief encounters and a whopping revelation I found myself yearning for more content. There is a clear delineation of the paths you take throughout your journey creeping through and if they pay off it will have all been worth it.