After a good chunk of time, it looks like the second episode, The Council: Hide And Seek, is finally here for this episodic game. The first episode showed us all how the episodic story game could be changed and Big Bad Wolf did a lot in the way of advancement for this form of game. It set the bar pretty high and now it is time to see how the next episode for The Council fares in all of the mix up. Will it keep the re-definement going or will it fall back into the same form we have seen time and time again? Here is our review of the latest episode to drop on the PS4, Xbox One, and PC.
We pick up with Mr. de Richet just after the events of the previous episode of The Council. He is still reeling back from the life choices and actions we made him take in the episode and is now dealing with a few new accusations floating about. In my case, it was the suspected murder of one of the guests on the secluded island. Mix in the fact that he is still searching for his missing mother, we have all kinds of shenanigans to get up to and hopefully solve. How many will he be able to do in this episode?
I have to start this off with the fact that it does not feel like Big Bad Wolf handled the recap of the last episode very well. It had been at least two months since I was able to experience The Council and was left wondering what was going on in this new episode. There was a recap of sorts, as these games always have, but it left me almost clueless as to what was truly going on in the story and whom some of the characters I have met were. Maybe this was to keep spoilers for the last episode from being leaked out there for some reason, but it was not the best start to The Council: Hide And Seek that there could have been. This part of the game needs to be vastly improved for those playing on an episodic cycle and not planning on a full experience once all of the episodes have released.
Slightly building from there, came the fact that I was also starting the episode without any action points right from the start. In The Council these are used to access specific dialog options and skills throughout the game's events. I began with none and had too many options thrown at me that needed me to spend them. In fact, I did not come across a solid "refresh" of these points until halfway through the story and by then I had very few chances to use them or need them. I truly dig the concept of this gameplay mechanic, but I also feel like I was left further out in the cold of the story because resting between episodes did not recover any of the mental focus. At least there should have been a few ways to find more before being hammered with events right from the start.
Again in this episode of The Council, it felt like my actions and choices held huge weight and not just something that was going to make someone grumpy but still get the same results. One point in particular gave me an option to be rude to someone as they have been to me so far in the story. I took that option and the character took it and then walked off to never come back in. I have seen a few other play throughs, including the launch trailer, which shows a vastly different and helpful scene play out if I took the other option. This is just one example in The Council at that and it looks like it is carrying right along in the latest episode and into the future. When you say choices matter, they need to matter and Big Bad Wolf does it yet again here.
One of the other things that I loved about The Council: Hide And Seek had to be the further exploration into the occult and mythologies out there. There is even an entire puzzle that revolves around one of my favorite tales that requires us to not only know the mythology but to find it out in the episode. You do not need to be a history or mythology fanatic to press on with it, but I am sure you will learn something from The Council if you are not. Little things like this always make games feel a little more immersive. If anything, you can walk away knowing that you may have learned something and it was done in such a way that I am hard-pressed to figure out how one would not.
The Council: Hide And Seek definitely started out on rocky waters with me as it feels like you are penalized for playing in the episodic manner over in one sitting. Obviously, this will go away when the whole season is released, but it can be a bit rough to get back into it all after a month or two of waiting. Especially when you have no clue that you messed up on saving any mental focus in the game from before and there is little to have now. It does make up for all of this by making your choices feel like they truly matter and mixing in some great real-world and fictional-world stories together. The Council: Hide And Seek is a great addition to it all, but it should be played back to back if you have the chance to do so.
I give The Council: Hide And Seek 4 Mental Focus on the Mental Focus scale.
The Council — Hide And Seek
The Council: Hide And Seek was developed by Big Bad Wolf. The Council: Hide And Seek was published by Focus Home Interactive for the PS4, Xbox One, and PC on May 15th 2018. A copy of the game was provided by the publisher for reviewing purposes.