The Council: Episode 5 – Checkmate (review)

The Council is probably one of the most interesting titles to release this year. With its blend of RPG elements and episodic storytelling, it crafted a unique experience with tremendous potential. However, with several strong episodes to start, the series of the finale is less than worthwhile.

The Story Draws To a Close

The story of The Council was intriguing. It began as Louis de Richet’s search for his mother, Sarah de Richet, and quickly escalated to a tale of political intrigue and a suspenseful thriller. The previous 4 episodes always managed to carry the same tone throughout even when spliced with some moments of brevity. Managing to keep the story feeling as if it was cause and effect felt remarkably fresh and engaging. But as the final episode begins, it becomes abundant that the story has run out of steam. Especially given that the story has multiple branching paths for each episodes outcome.

Following the 4th episode in which Louis learns the truth about demons and his own legacy, the story feels as if it is building to a dramatic climax. But the result is laughable. There is no dramatic tension in the finale. The game is constantly trying to hurl curve balls to shake up the very predictable ending. There doesn’t feel like there is anything at stake, causing the finale to fall remarkably flat.

The Council

The Council Makes a Hasty Exit

The pacing of the episode drags it down even further. Events seem to just happen and the game proceeds very quickly. This makes the events of the final episode feel disjointed and out of place. The previous episode also suffers from pacing issues, but it still felt connected to the previous episodes. The revelation of Louis’s father while obvious still contributed to the overall story. It adds more depth to the relationship Louis has with the other characters and even adds some new gameplay elements.

Final Reaction

The Council had a lot going for it. An episodic RPG with historical characters is an interesting concept. Moreover, the developers did a good job with the first 3 episodes. The 4th episode felt a little weak compared to the 3rd with its general emptiness of the game’s world, but it still managed to be enjoyable and added to the story. Episode 5 more or less erodes the hard work that the other episodes put in.

Score: 2/5 Atoms

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