The Council - Episode 5: Checkmate (PC) Review

By Ofisil 02.12.2018 1

Review for The Council - Episode 5: Checkmate on PC

Conspiracy/Occult mystery drama, The Council had a flawed, yet very strong start, with its introductory chapter fusing traditional narrative-driven adventure gameplay and RPG-esque skills in a very promising way - and the story wasn't bad, either. Sadly, the rest of the trip sort of took its potential and threw it out of the window. As such, the only reason to try Episode 5: Checkmate out is to see how it all concludes. At least, is this any better than what came before it, or does it all end with a mediocre plomp?

What started as a crime mystery that had its feet placed firmly in the ground of orthology quickly entered the waters of ambiguity. Is there something magical going on in here? Is there a logical explanation for all the wacky (or just plain scary) things that happen all around the hero? Enter Episode 4 of The Council, where Louis de Richet learns the awful(?) truth. Yes, the existence of supernatural forces is real, those forces are pulling all the strings behind the scenes, and, as it turns out, he can now be a part of it all.

Few will bat an eye at the revelation, which says a lot at how the, otherwise intriguing, story of this episodic adventure has been handled. Simply put, few will care about what's going on here, about the various characters at hand, and, even worse, about the main protagonist, who, sadly, ends his journey exactly as he started: as a forgettable, walking collection of RPG-esque skills and stats.

Screenshot for The Council - Episode 5: Checkmate on PC

Yes, Checkmate was doomed from the very beginning, as one final episode can't really save an array of disappointing mediocrity, no matter how enjoyable it is. At least, is it enjoyable? Well… it is, but it's also the final nail into The Council's coffin, as it doesn't show any signs of remorse for past sins. Graphics engine? Still not optimised. Character animation? At times more robotic than how it started. Puzzles? Still feel more like chores rather than riddles. Any button to skip cut-scenes in order to try different routes a bit faster? Not available, and it will likely never be.

As for what happens in here, without giving much away, Louis will have to help the man he chose to aid in the previous episode, mainly with a bunch of simplistic dialogue "duels," where your acquired skills won't really have to be put to use, then you will have to solve a tiny amount of unimpressive… "puzzles," and then you will end your journey, which, depending on past actions, will be different… but not as much as you expect it to be. In conclusion? Meh…

Screenshot for The Council - Episode 5: Checkmate on PC

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

In many ways, it's not Checkmate's fault that it's not that enjoyable. The blame certainly goes to the previous chapters of The Council, which failed in being engrossing enough for anyone to care for what happens next. That being said, this doesn't get a free pass, as it doesn't fix any of its problems.

Developer

Big Bad Wolf

Publisher

Focus Home Interactive

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

Ellestin (guest) 10.12.2018#1

The review mirrors my exact thoughts, The Council's sweeping ambition at merging political intrigue and supernatural thriller fell flat somewhere between episodes 2 and 3, with an overdose of grotesque reveals that truly killed the core of what could have made this game great: atmosphere, historic context and decent dialogues. Since then it's been a painful slog to the disappointing/idiotic conclusion. There simply was no patching the mediocre esoteric hodgepodge they introduced halfway through. I won't even dwell on Checkmate's "technical" downsides, the shamelessly recycled environments and blatantly rushed gameplay (that last point is actually a blessing as I couldn't wait being finally done with Mr. Richet's vapid adventure...).

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