Not too long ago, in the not so distant past, I posted a news piece on The Council Episode 1 The Mad Ones that was being given away by Focus Home Interactive.
Well, as Sunday (and all other days lately) is a day of rest, I finished it.
Two or three times.The Council Episode 1 The Mad Ones, by Big Bad Wolf, isn’t a demo, but I went in a little reserved thinking that as a giveaway, it would only last a couple of hours or so. On the contrary, after repeat plays, you soon clock up the equivalent of a full title game. There are just so many paths you can take.
If you haven’t read the news piece, shame on you, but to give you the skinny, you play Louis de Richet. He’s part of a secret order with his mum, Sarah, and together they uncover various plots of deceit, the occult and missing post-it notes.
Choose Your Own Adventure
Louis is invited to the private island of Lord Mortimer. His mum had initially been a guest, but she’s gone missing, so Louis has been notified of her disappearance. However, there are a few hidden agendas, as Louis’ services are required for other… matters.
The Council Episode 1 The Mad Ones follows the model set by the Telltale series such as The Walking Dead, The Wolf Among Us and Game of Thrones.
It’s in some ways an evolution of the point and click adventure fused with RPG elements.Instead of a cursor, you take direct control of Louis by moving him about with the left stick, having a peek at stuff with the right.
Think About It
When I first read about The Council, I said:
…your decisions genuinely have an impact on the outcome of the story, where consequences mean somethingme
Indeed, my foresight was as good as Donald Trump, and the consequences in The Council Episode 1 The Mad Ones are bloody marvellous.
I decided to take a bit of a maverick approach and took a step out of my comfort zone and took dialogue paths that I wouldn’t usually go for. The first one in question was the opening sequence (it’s not that much of a spoiler).
Tied to a chair with your mother, a baddie is giving his monologue when there’s an opportunity to escape. There are two options to get out of the situation, and my instinct went with the first, but I took the second.
After a scuffle, the NPC slashes Louis across the face, and I got a notification informing me I’ve unlocked a trait called Scarred.This scar then carried forth into the game, so, pushing the boundaries, I replayed the opening sequence and listened to Louis’ mother – no scar.
In another, I allowed a woman to be beaten by a thug. Again, not the path I would ever take, but I was interested to see where it would take me.
During The War…
To be honest, the era in The Council Episode 1 The Mad Ones isn’t one I’m too interested in.
Still, with the introduction of historical figures such as George Washington and Napoleon Bonaparte, and a twist of fiction, it’s hard not to be so engaged in the mysteries and deviance of the human condition.
It’s Washington’s best appearance since Day of the Tentacle.
Louis has the option to choose one of three classes: Diplomat, Occultist and Detective. By choosing one of these classes, you get a little bit of a headstart into a particular playstyle that appeals to you.
Breaking down the paths further, you have a skill tree of sorts that includes a list of abilities that include lockpicking, being able to decipher foreign languages, and knowing the correct etiquette usage.
An Old-Fashioned Influencer
Louis has focus points that can be used during conversations to give you the edge. There are so many times you can use this feature, but there are in-game consumables that replenish your options, as well as amber that can be collected that will boost how many focus points you have available.
An important mechanic for engaging with NPCs in The Council Episode 1 The Mad Ones is the ability to cross-examine a character to determine their weakness and immunity.
Choose your responses carefully, and you can manipulate them like Play-Doh. You just won’t come out smelling as nice (depending on your Play-Doh aroma stance).
Following on from this, The Council Episode 1 The Mad Ones is broken down into four acts. At the end of each act, you have a confrontation with someone and have to use your skills to influence them to your will. Or thereabouts.
One important thing to remember in The Council Episode 1 The Mad Ones is that you can’t fail at the game as such. There is no ‘right’ path to take, and you’re free to experiment.
If you’re looking to unlock all the trophies, then maybe that would add some element of challenge unless you use <ahem> a walkthrough.
The Hollywood Treatment
There are a few issues with The Council Episode 1 The Mad Ones. It took me a couple of hours to go from hating Louis, to being able to tolerate him. It’s not so much the actual character but the voice acting.
However, for western audiences, both Americans and British actors often take the leads with their dulcet tones with native speakers on the fringes.
Louis, a Frenchman in the late 1800s, has an American accent, but Napoleon is portrayed by a French(?) actor. He enunciates everything as if he’s new to life and lacks conviction in what he says. Equally, I didn’t connect with his mother. She’s a sour-looking old hag, and I could care less she’s missing.
Thankfully when Louis is giving his Poirot-like monologues, The Council Episode 1 The Mad Ones is much more natural and bearable. Considering that’s my only real beef with the game at this stage, I can live with it.
Expect to a review of the remaining chapters very soon.