The Council – Episode 2: Hide and Seek Review

Published By: Focus Home Interactive
Developed By: Big Bad Wolf
Genre: Narrative Adventure
Players: 1
Rated: M for Mature (Violence, Blood, Sexual Themes, Drug Reference, Language)
Release Date: May 15, 2018
PlayStation Network: Buy Now!
Screenshots: Link
Written By: Matthew Prunty

July 16, 2018 – Once you start Episode 2: Hide & Seek, you are immediately thrusted back into the world of our main protagonist Louis De Richet, who is still trying to track down the whereabouts of his every mysterious mother Sarah De Richet. Regardless of how you concluded episode 1, you are introduced to a new complication as Elizabeth Adams, the daughter of soon to be president John Adams, is found murdered within her room and all signs point toward Louis De Richet. It’s safe to say that Episode 2: Hide & Seek no longer holds you hand through the experience and expects you to know what to do next.

Great with this new mystery, in the beginning the whereabouts of your mother play second-fiddle to the current crisis. After somewhat absolving yourself from the murder of Elizabeth Adams, you are tasked with solving the mystery surrounding her death a la the movie Clue. Besides searching the premises, you will go from guest to guest questioning their whereabouts to see if they have solid alibi. The series of events during this game of Clue will task you with utilizing your various abilities in order to wheedle down the suspects and ultimately find yourself the killer. However, unlike the movie Clue, you never find out who the actual killer is at least in this episode. Your investigation into the death of Elizabeth Adams abruptly ends without and type of resolution, which is a little off-putting to say the least. However, like with other narrative adventure games, no story is left unresolved. I see ourselves revisiting this case; whose to say it also could be tied to the disappearance of Sarah De Richet.

Like in Episode 1: The Mad Ones, you bear witness to the power and creativity that is brought about with choice. Having played through the first episode, you are once again greeted with a myriad of decision-making choices; both big and small, which continue to have an impact of the story as a whole. And entangled within those choices are thought-provoking puzzles are rather challenging; nothing that can’t be solved without thinking the situation through. What I found rather refreshing about Episode 2 is that I was able to utilize my knowledge from taking AP Art History back in high school in order to solve several puzzles. One puzzle in particular required a knowledge and understanding of Greek mythology. While the surrounding area provided clues to help understand the situation you are in to solve the puzzle, I kind of chuckled at the fact I didn’t need to search high and low for these clues in order to solve this puzzle. Dr. Coad, if you’re reading this, I’ve found yet another use for the lessons you taught me in art history class.

Another refreshing touch to narrative adventure games like The Council is the use of historical facts. There are dozens, if not hundreds of games that rely of history to tell their story, however it’s in The Council that we find these facts un-touched or altered for the sake of telling a convincing story. Throughout the episode you will bear witness to in-depth commentaries and monologues about various topics ranging from art, history and even geopolitics. And out of curiosity, I cracked opened my old copy of Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States and with a few Google searches found that a lot of the moments in our history that were discussed actually happened and actually happened the way they discussed. Couple this newfound information with a rather robust RPG style class system, and you soon realize that the various classes and specializations allow for a multitude of unique scenarios and divulging of historic tales that have you wanting to come back for more.

The same short-comings that were an issue with the first episode are present within episode 2. During my first playthrough, I didn’t have any issues with the presentation. However, when I went through for a second playthrough I notice some slight hiccups in the frame rate and an occasional lip sync issue or two, still nothing that blights the experience in any way. Like with the previous episode, the visuals presentation is solid. Majority of the environments you visited within the first episode are present in this episode, however there are a few new locations like Lord Mortimer’s office and hedge maze in the middle of the courtyard that breaks of the monotony of visiting the same locations over and over. The audio dialog has improved over the first episode. The voiceover artists feel more relaxed in their rolls with lines being delivered more naturally and convincingly. One again the orchestral soundtrack is befitting the key moments within the game to help build suspense and intrigue.

Clocking in at a little over three hours to complete, Episode 2: Hide & Seek is shorter than Episode 1:Th e Mad Ones, but it’s still rich in content, history and puzzle-solving that you will be entertained during the entire experience. This episode continues to flesh out the developer’ unique approach to the narrative adventure genre and I certainly look forward to what Episode 3: Ripples has in store for our protagonist Louis De Richet.


Review Copy Provided By Publisher

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