About This Game
The Complete Season of The Council grants you access to all 5 episodes.
The Council is an episodic game like no other. Delivering a fresh new take on the Narrative Adventure, your choices and character growth truly matter. Make hard-hitting decisions, but also develop an array of skills to directly impact how the story unfolds. With permanent, long-lasting consequences, there is no going back. Plunge into a tale of intrigue and manipulation in the style of a classic murder mystery, living with a cast of alluring characters each hiding their own dark secrets. Trust no one while uncovering dire truths – no matter the cost to mind and body.
The Council begins in 1793, with players taking the role of secret society member Louis de Richet after his invitation to a private island off the shores of England by the enigmatic Lord Mortimer. Joining him are a number of high profile guests, including Napoleon Bonaparte and President of the newly-formed United States of America, George Washington. The strange nature of this private reception goes beyond just the prestigious guests –Richet’s own mother has recently gone missing on the island, while each and every one of the colorful cast seems to have their own hidden agendas.
In a new twist for the genre, the core of The Council’s gameplay comes from manipulating and maneuvering through character encounters using the unique Social Influence system. During confrontations, skills and limited resources can be used to gain the upper hand and achieve the desired outcome. Players will be rewarded for their knowledge of each character’s psychological vulnerabilities and immunities, as well as their preparations made during prior exploration and investigation. Failing an encounter does not mean ‘game over’, and no action can be taken back. The consequences are permanent, and may result in persistent physical disfigurements or mental traits that help or hinder the rest of the player’s adventure.
Richet’s numerous skills can be developed to align with your chosen approach to the adventure. Solve issues with diplomacy, delve into occultism to expand your historical and scientific knowledge, or play detective and see what others do not perceive. Your skills will have uses that extend far beyond your conversations with fellow guests. With 15 diverse skills to use and invest in, players are free to uncover The Council’s mysteries how they see fit, with wildly varying consequences depending on their methods. The results will forever alter the life of Louis de Richet, of those around him, and shape history as we know it.
- Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
- OS: Windows 7/8/10 (64-bit)
- Processor: Intel Core i3-2125 (3.3 GHz)/AMD FX-4100 (3.6 GHz)
- Memory: 4 GB RAM
- Graphics: 1 GB, GeForce GTX 750/Radeon R7 360
- Storage: 15 GB available space
- Additional Notes: INTERNET CONNECTION REQUIRED FOR GAME ACTIVATION
Investigating characters to learn their immunities and vulnerabilities, expending effort points on skill checks to try and convince, or intimidate them. There’s a distinct pen and paper RPG feel to everything that adds an engaging layer of depth to dialogue choices.
It can be a little unpolished in places, and it’s hard to know how well things will play out over the five episodes, but so far this is something really interesting.
Addendum after Episode 5:
Unfortunately the plot doesn’t really hold up, and things get overly complicated and a little absurd by the end. Still worth playing but temper your expecations.
The Council is a narrative game with a mix of adventure sections where you explore the environment and solve puzzles.
There’s a lot of talking in the game, basically everything is based on dialogues and your decisions so if you love narrative games this one is for you.
You start the game when you arrive at the meeting with influential and famous people like George Washington and Napoleon Bonaparte. But suddenly you realize your mother is missing and you start solving her riddles by trying to find her. I don’t want to talk about the story because of spoilers but its pretty good, you won’t be disappointed.
The Council combines narrative gameplay with adventure and rpg genres. This mix works wonderfully.
When you talk to other characters you can choose what to say and what to ask. To unlock some of dialogue options you need to have certain skills. So if you want to talk about politics you need to unlock politics skill. You also can upgrade your skills to bypass some more difficult dialogues. The system is really nice and majority of rpg’s could learn from it. There’s also confrontations when you try to persuade other characters or defend yourself. This requires effort points often. You have a limited amount of effort points and can use them on everything, in dialogues, in confrontations, unlocking doors or understanding the books. But if your skill is high enough it doesn’t cost any effort points. So if you have upgraded the religion skill for example then reading and understanding the bible or talking with someone about religion won’t cost you effort points. Wait that’s not all. Every character also has his strengths and vulnerabilities which you need to find and then exploit them. This means that if character’s vulnerability is psychology and strength is etiquette you can use psychology to persuade him, but he’s immune to etiquette and using your etiquette skill won’t work on him.
All this system might look complicated from the first sight but shortly you’ll understand how it works.
The game involves political, religious, historic, mythological and art themes. There’s a lot of art in the game like paintings of famous painters and your character comments on them. Characters speak about French revolution, about George Washington’s role in slavery of black people. You learn about mythology and so on.
Besides talking you will need to investigate some things and solve puzzles. There are not many puzzles but they might seem quite difficult and requires thinking and your attention to details. Unlike in other adventure games where you collect items and try to use them, here you can use/pick up incorrect items and mess up the situation which is not reversible so you’ll need to live with the consequences. Besides you can solve puzzles in different ways using different methods. You also can’t see the whole game in one playthrough, sometimes you will need to choose where you want to go so you can only talk to one person and lose the important dialogue with another character or only check one place losing the opportunity to find something important elsewhere.
The story is good. You won’t know what is happening at the start and you must find the truth yourself. 4th and 5th episodes are very different (that’s when you learn what is happening) but are in no way bad. I loved the game from start to finish. There’s a nice idea about what democracy really is and how it works and it is so true.
Between chapters and episodes you can upgrade your character and choose what book to read which gives you some points in certain skills.
I know this probably never happen, at least not from small studio but I wish someone would make a game like this but let us play as any character and have a completely different experience each time. Or an rpg game with this system. This game has some replayability value but you already know what’s going on, what to say and so on after your first walkthrough so the excitement is gone.
Unfortunately this game is very disappointing graphically. Character design is acceptable, faces are lower res but nothing too bad. But facial animations are absolutely terrible. In a game like this where you stare at faces from close range most of the time it really is annoying. Faces have no signs of life in them, facial animations are laughably bad. Lips randomly move without any synchronization. The only good thing about character design is the artstyle. It really looks cool.
While environment graphics are pretty good, the game lacks anti-aliasing so you see jagged edges everywhere all the time. I’ve tried to run the game in 4k using DSR in a hope to get rid of this ugly image but my PC could barely hold 30fps. Don’t know why. Even on 1440p it struggles to keep 60fps and often drops to ~40 which is annoying. Optimization is really bad.
Sound design feels pretty nice. There’s some classical music playing and voice acting is good for a low budget game. I can’t say anything bad about sound.
I strongly recommend this game to adventure and narrative game fans. If you can overlook the terrible graphics there’s a wonderful game underneath with a lot of meaningful choices. The blend of the genres works really well and I consider this game an evolution of adventure genre.
Is it jancky? Yes
Are there clipping and texture issues? Yes
Do you feel like you are moving through mollasses? Yes
However, also bear in mind
Is there a compelling story? Yes
Are there different play styles? Yes
Do your decisions make a difference? Yes
Personally, I have found that the flaws are on the whole minor, and the core of the game is solid and engaging, and I have no hesistation in recommending it to anyone.
+ The level up system is so good. You read books to learn about politics or psychology or whatever books you can find and this translates to you being able to influence others through conversation. If you are a pencil and paper CoC fan then The Council has a very similar feel to the old school Cthulhu RPG. It isn’t a groundbreaking mechanic but it is done so simply and so well in this game.
+ The skill check system is set up so that you can’t really spam hints. When you are in investigation mode you can use points to learn clues. There are ways to replenish these points or to bypass even paying for them but there were points in the game I found myself short on these points and having to make hard choices between what information I wanted to know. I think if you explored every place then you wouldn’t have a problem.
+ The music is good.
+The voice acting is good (except for the protagonist’s mother. Sorry but she is just awful.)
+ Some of the puzzles will have you scratching your head. For the most part they are logical but you might need to consult a walkthrough. When I did (and I did for some) I always saw that I had made a mistake and it wasn’t the fault of the game.
+ The story is solid.
– Chapter 4 AKA Exposition Chapter was a bit of a drag for me. Some love this chapter but I found it a chore to click through dialogue of a story that I had already mostly pieced together on my own. Yes there were some cool bits but I felt I wasn’t playing a game but more like just reading a book.
– The weird faces didn’t bother me in this game and I just put that down to artistic style. But the lip sync is really off/non-existant. That did bother me for some reason.
– The inability to back out of puzzles to gather some more information was crippling at times. Sometimes when you say you are ready to solve a puzzle, you cannot back out of it without a reload.
The Council is a step in the right direction of mystery/intrigue games. I don’t understand why it is so hard to nail the choices matter theme as in my eyes the ball has been dropped at every opportunity. The Council handles short term Choices Matter really well and has a fair amount of end game variation too….maybe even enough to justify another playthrough. But at 15 hours long for me and my backlog, I just can’t see me going back in to get the other endings. And maybe here is the failing of the Choices Matter idea. It’s not you honey, I love you and all your complexity. It’s me and my busy lifestyle.
Episode 2 threw that out in favour of frustrating puzzles that reminded me why I don’t like puzzle games.
Episode 3 clawed it back, but is buggy as hell and really could’ve used more polish.
It’s a verrrry tentative ‘yes’, or an ‘if you’re on the fence, maybe wait and see how the rest of the eps turn out’.
While the game’s episodic nature might be reminiscent of more recent titles, it does come much closer to older adventure games that heavily relied on puzzles. The game even dubs each chapter a "quest" and gives out experience after completing one. As such, the game also offers a skill tree that unlocks certain actions. This is where the game shines. You can choose between three classes (Detective, Politician, Occultist) and unlock certain skills with it. Skills consume limited effort points, but there are a lot of items in the game that boost you one way or the other. After each chapter you get points to spend on your skill tree and you can choose to either unlock new skills or upgrade the ones you have. You have the freedom to choose whatever you want, whatever decision you make you will get locked out of many options though. It gives the game a huge replay value, but it’s difficult to know exactly what skills you need for your upcoming adventures so it might feel unfair.
Outside the skill tree, the game also offers dialogue challenges and puzzles. There aren’t a lot of puzzles, but I really enjoyed most of them. I wish there were more puzzles in the first half of the game and less in the second, but they don’t take up too much of the episodes either way. You’ll find much more dialogue challenges, or "confrontations", though. When you get confronted, you need to pick the right options to get important information out of someone or avoid putting yourself in danger. Each character is immune and vulnerable to certain skills, for example some characters might be vulnerable to logic while others are immune to your attempts of manipulating them. It’s all very straightforward, but it’s interesting that you can either fail or succeed at dialogues and see real consequences for it. The story itself doesn’t have too many paths, but it seems like there are 7 different endings to the game based on your decisions and ability to solve certain puzzles.
I really hated where the story went though. I can’t say the game is bad for this reason alone, it is good. But I just really hated the story, at least the second half of it. My biggest issue is that you search for your mother for two entire episodes, but when you find her it doesn’t even matter because only now have you reached the real story of the game. There are little to no hints for this in the first two episodes, I personally dislike the story but I would be okay with it if it was established much sooner.
The game itself also isn’t very well-made. Characters look in the oddest directions while talking, your protagonist likes to float around while interacting with things and worst of all it’s very easy to get stuck when you walk in a bad spot. You can’t even reload the chapter or anything, if you find yourself stuck you have to close and reopen the game in order to continue.
Another thing I like to add is that the developers were really thoughtful when coming up with the achievements. The game has a handful of alternating paths for each chapter, but the game only expects you to replay the first chapter to earn every single achievement. Seeing all the different paths is optional and should only be done purely for entertainment. I really applaud the developers for this decision, I was willing to replay the game but I’m much happier reading more about it online.
Overall, The Council is a solid narrative adventure that mostly stands out for its indepth skill and puzzle mechanics. While the story falls flat in my eyes, the events until then are definitely memorable and worth experiencing. I’d still recommend this game for anyone interested in these types of games, but be prepared for obscure puzzles and even obscurer plot twists.
Plot points that were not revealed due to an alternative path being taken earlier were referred to. It would be one thing if this was obviously intended to happen and make you want to go back to complete the alternative path, but the context in which it occurs makes it obvious this was a mistake.
I would have absolutely recommended this game all through chapters 1-4, but the final chapter being so sloppy and poorly written to the point that it seems like it was rushed at the last second means I can’t say I would buy it again if I could go back in time.
I’m honestly very disappointed. I had so much love for this game and it’s almost sad to see it end in a way that makes it seem like the devs had no plan for the resolution whatsoever. Very bewildering.
Its part procedural murder mystery, part Telltale point and click adventure, but at the same time it’s neither of these things and so much more…
At least, that’s what it’s trying to be. Visually it’s not too bad, it’s not stellar but it’s not so dated to look at that it is unplayable. The dialogue trees are hokey as ♥♥♥♥ but then again that’s not entirely bad. Where the game does fall down though, imo, is the lip synch… it’s practically non existant.
I’ve sunk a lot of hours into this game and I have to say that it’s actually grown on me. I highly recommend it if you’re looking for a game with narrative twists and puzzles that are actually quite well thought out. And for once in these episodic games, your choices actually seem to matter, with story trees branching further than a telltale game dares to.
You are a member of a secret society, who gets an invitation from a mysterious lord, to meed at his reclusive manor, together with important political persons from across the globe. What´s more is that you have to find the leader of your cult, who has gone missing from exact this location.. and who happens to be your mother.
The Council uses a all the right mixtures for an interesting visual novel. A very fresh, unique setting, which can be seen as a who dunnit crime novel as well as conspiracy thriller.
The presentation of the Council fits the theme, you explore the impressive manor, which is a dream come true, for every fan of art, i guess. Entertainingly the lavish outfit also from time to time is included in the riddles you have solve, while the main part of it is get to know the characters and their hidden motives, via dialogue or other ways.
A main part of how you get along depends on how you develop your character, as it has a broad field of attributes (dialogue, knowledge and abilities), which so far offer quite different ways and options.
The graphic is mostly well done, it brings the grandeur to impressive life as well as the characters and while i expected some few stutters when the camera glides through the halls, it doesn´t matter much, as it is no action game. The music fits the ambiente and the speakers do their job well.
The saving system is automatically, but as it saves after nearly each action you take, even i – who likes his free saves – can live with that (don´t believe some noobs, who write about no saves and having to do many actions again).
!Update after the full game is now released!: The quality and level of quests and riddles stays in a good but never unfair setting, also the decisions you can take offer you quite some different outcomes in small and bigger ways.
– Spoiler –
The only questionable decision i have with "The Council" is the way the story develops from a good mix of politic and intrigue, to something supernatural.. with quite a bit of over the top story telling. I would have preferred otherwise, but if you´re open for that, the recommendation stays.
Conclusio: A fresh and gripping kind of visual novel, settled in a quasi historic setting, which could also interest the friends of history as well as art. You have many decisions to take, in how you develop your character, your investigations and in whom you trust. Despite a maybe questionable story progression, still an entertaining and novel game.
Point Score: 7/10
I particularly found myself at odds with the casting of the protagonist: he looks a bit rattish, acts a bit rattish, is FRENCH, and yet for some reason has been given an all-American "everyguy" persona that begs for the audience to empathise with him. Surely we’re all grown up enough to not require such heavy-handed emotional manipulation? Surely we can make our own minds up as to how much we wish to "identify" with this questionable character?
Predictably enough, it wasn’t long before I "got used to" it all, but I guess I expected some slightly darker characterisations given the game’s subject matter. But a game’s gotta sell, and it never hurts to throw a little Scooby Doo in there to increase your prospects. Don’t get me wrong: the acting is, on the whole, of a fairly high quality, with some very excellent individual performances. Just don’t go expecting as high and consistent a level as I did, especially given the game’s somewhat substantial price.
The visuals are far more spot-on, for my sensibilities. Sure it ain’t quite photo-realistic, and the animations are especially grotesque at times, but the character designs are quite, quite wonderful (pretty much the reason I bought the game, to be honest)! For my buck, the game succeeds commendably on a visual level overall: highly cinematic and immersive, truly convincing the player that they are experiencing some kind of "interactive movie" (though I must confess to not knowing they had plastic surgery way back in the 1700s; the young dutchess’ more-than-ample, yet hard-as-stone bosom quickly proving me wrong)!
The game’s class and skill-tree system is very interesting. Basically, it means that different information and locations can be accessed to varying degrees and at different times, depending on which talents your character currently possesses. The game even goes so far as to tell you what opportunities you’ve missed, if only you’d possessed the appropriate skill or level at that time. This presumably would lead to a great deal of replayability, and the frequent choices you are given throughout also suggest a wide variety of outcomes (though I can’t honestly confirm this after a single playthrough; of the first of five scheduled episodes, no less).
Story outcomes are also affected by at least two other things. Firstly, a lot of responses are quick-timed, a bit like followers of Telltale games have come to expect: take too long in deciding, and opportunities will of course be missed. Secondly, the autosave system requires you to restart an entire Chapter – some of them upwards of thirty minutes to complete – in order to change undesired outcomes. So that idea you had about altering your response to the bit of dialogue you just fluffed? Only if you’re willing to go back a ways, bucko.
An odd confession: despite being a huge fan and champion of narrative-driven games, I can’t honestly say that I’m very familiar with this particular breed of product. I generally play more straightforward interactive and/or visual novels, and tend to shy away from full-blooded old-school "adventure" games ’cause I’m frankly sh*t at the puzzles. This game seems to aim for a sweet spot in-between these two approaches (there’s plenty of exploration and clue-finding and a wee bit of puzzle-solving, in addition to the dialogue-driven stuff)…and in my opinion, it seems to have hit that sweet spot quite successfully. The voice acting really is the biggest criticism I have to give, and it’s a fairly minor one when all is said and done.
Absolutely, positively, definitely recommended to anyone seeking a gaming experience light-years away from the uber-mainstream likes of Overwatch. I look forward to the remaining episodes, though I might wait ’til they’re all released and start from the beginning again, since it took me quite a while to master the mechanics (they’re definitely more sophisticated than you’ll expect). It’s an intriguing story so far, with cameos from the historically famous likes of George Washington and Napoleon Bonaparte (who, unlike our protagonist, actually DOES speak in a French accent)!
Suffice it to say, penny-pinchers might want to wait until more episodes are released before they commit to the current asking price, for a product which may not of course live up to the great promise of this earliest instalment.
(PS If you enjoyed this review, feel free to check out my two Curator pages: http://store.steampowered.com/curator/9284586-ReviewsJustfortheHELLofit/