Name: The Council – The Mad Ones
Developer: Big Bad Wolf
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC
Reviewed on: PC
Acquired: *A copy of this game was provided from publisher for review purpose*
I love Life is Strange, I love the Telltale games, generally I love when games have choices and (hopefully) lasting consequences. And when The Council has some RPG elements too, it sure sounds like a great combination! Did the game manage to live up to my expectations? Let’s find out!
The game starts out with a prologue, where Louis and Sarah (his mother) has stolen a book, and been taken capture. Already here the game tells you that Louis and Sarah belong to a secret society, and that they have quite a lot of enemies. Unfortunately, the first episode is quite slow, apart from the prologue and ending, and I just wanted to get on with it, as most of the characters didn’t really intrigue me (although I understand that the game has to focus on the characters in the first episode, I feel they could have made it a bit less boring). Louis is especially boring, unfortunately, and even though I totally understand that he has to be sort of an empty shell to make the RPG elements in the gameplay work, he just feels a bit flat and uninteresting so far, and I don’t really care what happens to him.
What I am impressed with however, is how good the ending I got was written, I obviously can’t say what happened, but I assume it will affect the story hugely, and I almost can’t wait to see what will happen in the next episode.
The graphics in The Council are, unfortunately, only so-so. Even though the textures themselves doesn’t look too bad, the objects still look rather cheaply made. When it comes to the characters, which include George Washington and Napoleon Bonaparte, they look a bit out of place in the world, and there are a lot of small bugs when it comes to Louis interacting with the world. On the plus side, I must praise the game for making each character stand out, visually. I instantly recognized the characters, even from afar. And the whole Dishonored-style they’ve gone for aren’t too bad either. Unfortunately though, it all pretty much folds when the voice acting is mentioned, Louis is too monotone, yet somehow way too excited when he talks (also, if he’s supposed to be French, why does he speak American?). The other characters too, has mediocre voicing as well and I kept thinking to myself how I could make at least as good of a job myself.
Here I can start out with saying, there’s mostly good news! The game has several difficult choices, for example, whether you should help President Washington or spy on the mysterious Sir Holm. Not only does it urge the player to think through the consequences, it also made me think about what I as a person think is important to know. The Council is mostly a choice based game, but with some RPG elements as well. It must be said that some of the skills seem too powerful, and some too weak, so far – but that might change once the game has progressed a little further.
In addition to said things, there are some puzzles and “confrontations” to get the most out of each scenario. Fail these and the you might miss some important plot points. There’s also quite a bit of collection throughout the world. Although all of it seems to be optional, it certainly helps when it comes to getting skill points and reading more manuscripts (which, in turn, helps you get skills). I do which there were more consumables to find out and around, but at least it made the opportunities of getting all information from an NPC more rare, and therefore I had to really think through whether or not I needed all information at any given time.
Unfortunately the controls are absolutely horrible. Even at the maximum sensitivity, the camera and steering is way too slow. It is a little bit better with a controller, but it’s still nothing to cheer for. It doesn’t help that several times, when I tried to choose an answer, the game froze up and I needed to press the button several times before the game started working again.
So far, it seems like The Council actually has real consequences. When I played the last part of episode one a second time, there were some major differences to the ending cliffhanger. If that keeps up, the replay value will certainly stay high! I am impressed, at least so far.
I am not entirely convinced by this game yet, but it has intrigued me with its ending and actual consequences. As I played the game before the release, some of the issues I had, like the bugs, might have been solved at launch. However, the acting is miserable, and that just takes away so much from the potential for the story. I am optimistic for the next episodes though, and will surely keep an eye out for when they release.
The story is promisingThe game has actual consequences
Good replay value
The controls are lousyThe voicing is horrible
Replay Value: 8/10
Total Score: 6/10
Decent *There is something here you must experience, worth for fans of the series*