The Council: Episode 5 – Checkmate
It’s Curtain Call for The Council. A journey that began in March of this year has finally drawn its final conclusion. The whole cast might not have been able to make it to the stage, but they are undoubtedly with us. There have been ups and downs, especially when it comes to episode 3, but thankfully the peaks were higher than its troughs.
I could waffle on about the basics of The Council all over again. I could remind you about how the engine’s flaws embody the pure essence of loveable jank. Or I could bore you even further by explaining the various different skill trees and how they can impact on your options. I could do all of that, but I won’t.
Instead, I’m just going to remind you that The Council is a game. A good game. It made me reflect on the things I learned at university about how branching narratives could be implemented. It reminded me of the debates around how chokepoints stifle the breadth of the story available. And then it made me forget all about those classes. I was playing in the moment.
The Council makes you take a second look at everything, consider its meaning, and then ponder its relevance. It’s laden with religious imagery that, at first, seemed innocuous. Then it made you look at it again, and again, and again. Each time the meaning changed. It might have been the same picture you were looking at, but you looked upon it with new eyes.
Puzzles were always easy enough that you could complete, but never so easy that they were uninteresting. When you did struggle, The Council’s system would account for parts that didn’t quite make sense without intruding upon the experience. The slow methodical accumulation of power made sense come the revelation in Episode 4. You weren’t just Louis De Richet, you were something more. Everyone was.
From the political figureheads that graced your presence to the religious monarchs that demanded your attention, The Council offered a spin on historical fact that captures conspiracy in every way. It’s the illuminati without the silly pictures of Jay Z/Kanye with hidden triangles drawn on.
Big Bad Wolf might not be innovators of the genre, but they’ve managed to step in at a point where it was starting to become stagnant and one developer was in charge of a majority and offer something truly different. It’s not GotY material, as much as I’d like it to be, but it’s a game worth playing. It’s a game worth talking about. And it’s a developer worth supporting, even if it’s just to see them prosper with their next title.
There are no pros or cons attached at this point, but if you wish to see our previous conclusion please check out our reviews of episode 1,2,3 and 4.