The second episode of The Council is rather short and mostly disappointing. There didn't seem to be much impact from the prior episode and it didn't do much to push the narrative forward. It felt like a small gap episode as opposed to being something that would stand out on its own. It does help to introduce some final characters and let us know the whole cast, at least I imagine that's the full group.
This time around we're focused on a murder mystery and then a series of puzzles that are somewhat tiring. They came across as tedious as opposed to challenging and I was often distracted from the story because of them. I also had times where I wasn't sure what the game wanted me to do, as the goal term was vague. This was odd, a weird change-up from the well structured first entry. There's not much new here in terms of setting, but you do see a couple hidden spots and venture to additional guest rooms.
This isn't strictly cinematic as you do walk around and scavenge for supplies within the environment. You gather items to help in general conversation. Using your abilities creates a stress on the body and you need to balance how many points you use in each encounter. This is aided by the selection of a class and the abilities you get with it. The skill tree is open, but that initial start really can define your entire playthrough. The more you level these smaller points within the classes, the more dialogue you can get access to.
It also helps you to unlock further abilities to detect environmental aspects and even skip aspects of the game. The world is quite detailed being intimate as a setting, yet large in scale. It's all heavily detailed and for some reason the performance was horrible on Xbox One X this time around. The loading screens were instant and the characters were smooth. The voice acting felt more natural the entire time, at the start of the first episode it felt rougher.
The Council Episode 2: Hide and Seek is a step back being a short gap episode that leaves you wishing more was shown. It really does just end sort of abruptly, not even in the cliff-hanging type of way. I was just sort of alright with it and hopefully things are livelier going forward. There's a larger cast at play now which is great, but the conversations don't seem as dynamic here.
It was great to play more so I could access better skills and it seems like a lot of content is waiting for those that pick different skill trees. The puzzles weren't too interesting here and I felt lost at times. I don't need an entirely guided experience, but with this being narrative driven there needs to be focus. I believe they kept things vaguer to add time, but even that didn't help too much.
Read our Life is Strange: Before the Storm Episode 1 Review
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The Council Review on Xbox One X
Review Code Provided by Evolve PR