The Council’s first episode either left you on a surprising cliffhanger or a valuable opportunity to learn more crucial information. After deciding I didn’t like the former, I replayed the last chapter to end off at the latter. Minor spoilers for the journey so far by the way. After meeting so many characters, inspecting and snooping my way to superiority, and generally being an all-around exceptional guest, I couldn’t wait to finally speak to Lord Mortimer. This vastly influential man is the reason Louis and his, still missing, mother came to the island mansion in the first place. Would we finally receive more answers than questions and continue our amazing dominance in dialogue and breaking people down without a whim? Sadly, a resounding no on both parts.
My story choices let me begin The Council Episode 2 by picking the mind of our noble host, Lord Mortimer. A steamy and fun night concluded, Mr. Mortimer was awaiting me in my room. Previously utilizing the title’s mechanics to more or less dominate all other characters through dialogue, I couldn’t wait to do the same to this very powerful man. After all there is no one I can trust for certain yet and there are other things going on throughout the manor. Naturally, we discuss the nature of my mother’s disappearance and a gruesome murder that took place the night before. Almost expectantly there’s no relevant knowledge of mum going bye-bye, so for some reason we are tasked with investigating said murder. Thus we set off going to nearly every single bedroom (which I’ll get into later) to question guests, look over the crime scene, and try to find any evidence.
This set piece unfortunately sets the tone and gives us a glimpse at the rest of the experience. Episode 2 is more puzzle heavy and less about interacting with or challenging other people. You know the fun parts. To make matters worse a few of the main roadblocks were incredibly obscure and hard to do without a guide. Although this could be chalked up to me just being a moron. Still it was a sharp departure from the tense and thrilling cat and mouse game Louis found himself in before. Sort of like when your favorite movie or book sequel needs to expand on lore and might be boring in the process. Imagine that, but without divulging in on anything. The few times our hero does interact with others is still enjoyable of course. There’s a lone confrontation to complete with a man clearly lying to you, a new guest to meet, albeit for five whole minutes, and some world event news that seemingly shock many a guest to their core.
Gameplay is the same with all of the RPG-like abilities still in play. You’ll be able to level up different tactics and gameplay styles with each chapter completed and unlock certain abilities if you complete a task or handle a situation a certain way. The higher these are the more you’ll be able to use them against people or puzzles. There’s also a few new areas to explore and that brings with it more items to find which will help you recover from negative status effects, gain more attempts on a challenge, etc. Other than that dialogue tree and trials remain the same and everything is easy to understand, interpret, and select. Graphics are also still some of the best in the choice-based genre.
Now as I mentioned with some of the puzzles, that have overtaken episode 2, they require one to go to many different rooms and interact with even more objects. Naturally, loading screens will come into play and the unexpected frame rate drops. For example, going from room to room investigating a murder brings about a lot of long loading times and jittery frame drops. So much so that the majority of this episode’s length will be taken up by loading screens and puzzle solving. Alongside these technical errors were spelling mistakes in subtitles and the lack of said words appearing on-screen. Those problems were nowhere near the level of other issues, but they were present all the same. Lastly, I didn’t feel like my choices from the first episode had any heavy effect on this episode. There were a few throwaway reference lines sure, but nothing like the cause and effect I’ve already seen.
Annoying and constant, tension draining puzzles aside, episode 2 does have a decent amount info and revelations to discover. Most of it through reading papers, journals, maps, and so on. Specifically we learn that there are layers to some of the world famous guests and how truly commanding Lord Mortimer is. Plus, while we weren’t going to be taken aback by a secret society and its worldly members, there are also hints that things are not as they seem. Unfortunately, we will have to wait and see in future episodes. In company with another cliffhanger ending.
The Council Episode 2 PS4 Review
Overall - Good - 6.0/10
The Council Episode 2 slows down to an almost insulting degree from the amazing and enjoyable start. Obscure puzzles hidden behind loading screens and interacting with a ton of documents take center stage here. Character interactions and navigating social situations take a back seat. Luckily, we still get our fair share of revelations. I just had to trek through some new, minor technical issues as well. Here’s hoping that episode 2 acts as an obligatory setup piece for something much greater.
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Reviewed using base PS4.