Whenever a game reaches a crescendo and reveals a twist mid-way through its story the challenge then becomes to build on that twist and use it to take both the game and story to another level. That is where we find ourselves at the beginning of Episode 4 (Burning Bridges) of The Council, with the game’s twist coming in the latter stages of Episode 3. So far The Council has exceeded my expectations, delivering an engaging and impressive narrative adventure, however, I did wonder ever so slightly if Big Bad Wolf could keep the momentum going after three excellent episodes. Thankfully there’s no lull in proceedings, with Burning Bridges throwing another curve ball into the mix, which not only adds to the intrigue but sets up a climactic finale.
What’s behind door number one?
Now depending on how the events of Episode 3 played out during your own playthrough (if you’ve been playing at home), the commencement of Burning Bridges could see Louis facing vastly different scenarios. For more information on the events of the previous episodes, I suggest reading my reviews, which you can find here.
With tensions starting to rise ahead of the final conference, Louis, who has been reunited with his missing mother, is tasked with finding a lance which according to Mrs de Richet is of great value to Lord Mortimer. Naturally given Mortimer’s opulence this isn’t just any lance. In fact, what Louis is looking for is none other than the Lance of Longinus, or The Holy Lance as it’s also known – the lance that pierced the side of Jesus Christ as he hung on the cross, according to the Gospel of John.
However, Louis comes across more than one lance, and he must investigate and use his skills in order to pick the right one. It is here again that the importance of investigation is emphasised. Without a thorough search of Mortimer’s estate, it would be quite easy miss clues and end up choosing the wrong lance, a decision you’ve only got one crack at.
While searching for clues you’ll engage in a number of Confrontations with Mortimer’s guests, each of whom are also searching for the lance – something that feels a little out of blue, unless I’ve forgotten it being mentioned in previous episodes. It’s a weird occurrence given how important the discovery of the lance becomes for each character, and it’s really the only lapse (albeit a minor one) in the story thus far.
Think long and hard about your choices Louis
Confrontations continue to have enormous importance on the story – with Louis needing to manipulate some characters while earning the trust of others in his pursuit of The Holy Lance. In one Confrontation I had to convince one character that I was seeking out the lance for them in order to get some of the heat off me. It worked, but later down the track it came back to bite me on the arse somewhat.
Once you’ve made your selection on which lance you believe is the real deal, Lord Mortimer will request a word with you, and being the straight-shooter he is he’ll deliver a revelation that will add another layer of intrigue to an already mysterious situation. It’s a twist that is likely to divide players, as it creates a sense that all you’ve done prior is redundant to a degree. While I enjoyed the new twist, I am curious as to how Big Bad Wolf will wrap things up in the final episode.
As a result of this revelation, Louis will have access to new abilities that will change the way Louis interacts with the other characters. With his new abilities, Louis has a newfound temerity that makes Confrontations even more enjoyable – and there’s an excellent puzzle towards the end of the episode that really makes you think hard about the answer, especially given the potential ramifications of getting it wrong.
Disappointingly, the game’s lingering lip-syncing issues are still present, in fact it feels like they’re more widespread. Hopefully this area can be tidied up, as it is quite noticeable given how dialogue-heavy the game is.
Whose side are you on?
The Council continues to deliver an engaging experience thanks to its brilliant storytelling, despite some minor narrative hiccups. With the introduction of a further plot twist and new gameplay abilities, Burning Bridges does an excellent job of keeping the game fresh and sets up a mouth-watering final episode.
Reviewed on PC / Review code supplied by publisher