The Council, as an episodic series, started off incredibly well. In fact, when the credits have rolled for the very first episode, I was instantly wanting more. And sure, the first episode of the series, just like all the one’s which have followed it, was definitely not an eye candy. But its pacing was great, it was certainly long enough to justify its asking price, and most importantly, it worked relatively well in comparison to the titles of the soon to be defunct Telltale Games. However, all that’s good does not last forever. And ever since the release of the first episode, The Council has gone down the proverbial hill, as the once great game has been infiltrated by bugs, glitches, and a general decrease in quality. And while many, including myself, were expecting the series to pick up towards its end, just like Telltale’s ill-fated adaptation of Game of Thrones, it unfortunately appears not to be the case. As the fourth episode has just seen the light of day, and things appear to be as grim as they were an episode ago.
The fourth episode of The Council is titled Burning Bridges, and it is all about picking sides in the war between the two factions which have formed in the process of the narrative’s development. And by the time the episode comes to an end, you’ll have to choose whether you stand with Gregory, or Lord Mortimer – and there’s no way around it. And while this episode does feature a couple of puzzles here and there, it is much more passive than those which came before it, as you’ll spend majority of your time conversing with all the remaining attendee’s to the titular Council. And if you happen to play this episode directly on the back of the previous three, then you will welcome this change of pace with open arms. But if you’ve been following the series like me, and played all the current episodes with monthly gap in between, then you might feel a little bored while playing Burning Bridges, as it lacks any form of captivating action.
Burning Bridges, works incredibly well as a part of the wider series, as it introduces a welcomed change of pace, and it propels the narrative at a supersonic speed. However, as a standalone product it does not hold up as well, as one would expect it to. As its lethargic and monotone pace, do very little to keep one engaged, and sure this particular installment is filled with deceit and intrigue, but there is so much of it crammed together within a 90 minute segment, that it simply blends into one big conspiracy, which you may have very little interest in – unless your favorite pastime is watching conspiracy theory videos on YouTube.
The above described issue related to pacing, is brand new when it comes to the library of The Council’s flaws. But while the new kid on the block may be taking the center stage right now, it does not mean that the ghosts of the past are no longer around. In fact, all the glitches which started appearing from the second episode onward, are now back with a bang. As bugs related to lip-syncing, animations, and the visual presentation are now more prevalent than ever. In fact, you will struggle to find any scene, without character’s speaking with their mouth closed, or losing the ability to move their lips half-way through a sentence. And unfortunately it is difficult to take The Council seriously when seemingly every ten seconds you witness, yet another bug or glitch.
The technical state of The Council has somehow gotten worse, even though I was 100% sure that Episode 3 will be as bad as it gets. But Burning Bridges, has absolutely shattered all my assumptions, as it bombards you with its abhorrent flaws as soon as it begins. In fact, the introductory cut-scene has featured so many odd camera angles, which were either zooming in on characters’ necks, or legs, that I’m no longer sure whether those are intentional or not. As surely, something so jarring, and eye-piercingly bad could not have been overlooked by any QA team.
As much as it pains me to say it, then I simply have to admit that The Council has turned into an absolute mess of game, which is only being carried by its brief moments of brilliance, and the amount of free rein which you are given when free-roaming the castle, or making pivotal decisions. And in all honestly, it would be unfair of me to slant this particular title in entirety as it is a diamond in the rough, which has been smashed into shards, which themselves have been sprinkled over broken glass. And the only way to get to them, is by crawling through a sea of glass, which cuts you open, as you are desperately searching for all that’s good about The Council.
With the final episode still in the making, it is too early to write The Council off completely. But we have to be honest with each-other, so far, it hasn’t been all that great. As you had a chance to read above, the series as a whole, had its moments of brilliance, but those have been overshadowed by mountains of flaws, glitches, and other imperfections, which have sucked all the joy from the series as a whole. And who knows, the final episode may be an absolute banger, but at this rate, it will have to be the episodic equivalent of the The Last of Us, in order to make us forget about rather shambolic remainder of the series.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The Council - Episode 4: Burning Bridges Review
Gameplay - 4/10
Graphics - 4/10
Sound - 4/10
Replay Value - 4/10
User Review( votes)
The final episode may be an absolute banger, but at this rate, it will have to be the episodic equivalent of the The Last of Us, in order to make us forget about rather shambolic remainder of the series.