Do you like adventure games? Are you a fan of historical fiction? Do you enjoy tales about secret societies? Are you a mystery buff? Then have we got the game for you! The Council is an adventure game in the style of a Telltale title that was released for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One last year. This game is a fantastic title that didn't get the attention it deserved. Some indie games get a lot of fanfare and praise, such as Celeste or Hotline Miami. This, unfortunately, did not. Nevertheless, you should check it out as it has a compelling story and interesting gameplay.
You play as Louis de Richet. Along with your mother, Sarah Faustine de Richet, you are members of a secret society that collects occult artifacts called The Golden Order. You begin being held captive with your mother for stealing a book called the Al-Azif. After escaping, the story skips forward. You have been invited by the mysterious Lord Mortimer along with other guests to a private island. These guests include famous people from history such as George Washington and Napoleon Bonapart. Your mother has gone missing after arriving at this very island and you are now here to find her and discover what she wanted at the island to begin with.
Much of the game involves you talking to the other guests, servants and hosts on the island and drawing information out of them. The more you know, the better you'll do. You begin by picking one of three classes, which determines your trade and what you have knowledge of. Each of these give you inherent advantages in conversations, such as etiquette, logic, psychology, and manipulation. As you learn about your fellow guests and learn via books and earned skill points, you can draw more information from them much more easily. This can also yield leads that you normally wouldn't have gotten.
It's a fascinating mechanic as it takes the multiple dialog choices from Telltale games and turns it into a game onto itself. In something like The Walking Dead games, you would give a response based on how you want your character to behave or to get a good or bad response back. In The Council, more dialog choices are open to you the more you know. A conversation is essentially a series of mind games in order to get what you want and be able to get more in the future. Imagine manipulating George Washington or completely choking with Napoleon.
The game also has a few puzzles and the cool thing about these is they have partial win statuses. For example, you can solve a puzzle but because you did something incorrectly before that damaged the puzzle in some way, you won't get all the information you need. Luckily, none of the puzzles are overly difficult so they don't harm the game's pacing.
Add in the interesting art design, haunting atmosphere and intense cast of characters, and this is a game that deserves to get more eyes on it.