The Council - Episode 3: Ripples (Xbox One) Review

By Josh Di Falco 16.01.2019

Review for The Council - Episode 3: Ripples on Xbox One

The Council is back with its third episode, as Big Bad Wolf has delivered what seems like a shorter, but more compact and exciting chapter of the story. The previous episode, Hide and Seek, had ended on a huge cliff-hanger, with Louis de Richet finding his missing mother beneath the garden maze. Episode 3: Ripples opens with Louis and his mother, Sarah de Richet, discussing the meeting that is set to take place amongst the island's host Lord Mortimer and the other high-profile guests. With the hint that nothing is all that it seems, Louis must be vigilant as he attempts to hide his mother's whereabouts from the guests, while further navigating the word of politics and diplomacy to unearth the mysteries surrounding the gathering.

The pacing of this episode itself is better than the first two episodes. Where previous chapters struggled to maintain their it at times, due to a slowdown in the storytelling department, Ripples seemed to offer a smaller, but tighter-fit story. From the episodes outset, it provided further clarity in the direction that the rest of this series is going to take. However, it also showed how capable it is of throwing in a few curveballs here and there to further twist this story in an unpredictable direction. Without giving away too much in terms of the story, Sarah simply does not trust Lord Mortimer, or any of the guests who have gathered at his mansion. She further advices Louis to also be more vigilant in how he navigates the political circuit - and to basically not trust anyone.

Wise words, especially as the big meeting is set to take place amongst the world leaders gathered at the mansion. Between the so-far friendly bunch of George Washington, Napoleon Bonaparte, Giuseppe Piaggi and the Hillsborrow twins, Emily and Emma, are the subtly devilish Johan Von Wollner, Jacques Peru, Gregory Holm and Manuel Godoy. Then, of course there the masked Servants, who still mysteriously roam the halls of the mansion, but are seemingly there with the best of intentions for the guests.

Screenshot for The Council - Episode 3: Ripples on Xbox One

Following the decision-making process of the earlier episodes, Episode 3 provides an ever-tougher time of deciding which decisions to go with. So far, chosen decisions have led to having major repercussions that are irreversible, or at least seem to change the story thread in a major way. But Ripples does provide even more harrowing decisions to make, which is a huge testament to the world-building and character-interaction element that Big Bad Wolf have put together.

The conversations delivered in Ripples are intense, and after Sarah's earlier warning about not trusting anyone too easily, it seems that each of the characters give Louis a reason to distrust them, while also providing adequate solutions as to why they should. This dynamic is done extremely well, and the ultimate sign of this balancing act is delivered beautifully during a crucial moment of the story just past the midway portion of the episode. Not even Telltale's episodic stories had such a captivating and equally harrowing decision to make like Episode 3 of The Council does.

Screenshot for The Council - Episode 3: Ripples on Xbox One

Choosing the decisions themselves, in terms of finding the various casts strengths and weaknesses, are more forgiving now. Of course, it helps when Louis has levelled up more, and has properly distributed his character points into specific conversational mechanics. While in the first two episodes running out of Action Points was all too common due to how under-levelled Louis was, now he can at least have more flexibility in choosing the harder conversational options. As Episode four and five come out, this aspect will probably get easier as more points are invested into specific options.

Unfortunately, the high praise for Ripples must end on those notes, as the audio and graphical issues that plagued the previous two episodes seemed to be heightened for this Xbox One version. Almost every line of spoken dialogue had some sort of intermittent sound cuts during or at the end of the line, and there were frequent 'popping' sounds that could be heard through the TV and even on headphones. While the earlier episodes had moments here and there of choppiness, Episode 3 seems to have a lot more audio chops occurring that easily ruin some of the more dramatic scenes of the story.

Screenshot for The Council - Episode 3: Ripples on Xbox One

The graphics also suffer from extreme slowdowns during the busier portions of the stages. For instance, the running around the hedge maze proved to be troublesome, especially when Louis would turn around corners at a fast pace - the game would then slow down for a few seconds, before regaining composure. Slowdowns seemed to happen when Louis was running around anywhere. Examining paintings and then running while Louis was giving his line of dialogue about the painting also caused slowdowns for some reason. While the easy solution to this issue is to obviously walk everywhere, the fact that running is a mechanical option means that it should also be refined to not break the frame rate when in use.

There was also one noticeable glitch that had to be fixed by restarting the gaming session that was caused when in Elizabeth Adam's bedroom. After the events of the previous two games, her bedroom is now a dishevelled state, with her bed pushed closely up to the balcony door. While she has two doors that leads to the balcony, one of them is locked for some reason, leaving only the second door that can be used. Except that it is a one-way road to glitching. While Louis can approach the balcony door from the inside, and use it to go out, there is no way he can get back in unfortunately. Trying to enter back into the bedroom results in Louis being stuck in between the bed frame and the wall, and his graphical capabilities just doesn't allow him to get out from this little obstacle.

Screenshot for The Council - Episode 3: Ripples on Xbox One

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Episode 3: Ripples provides the most harrowing story yet, as it greatly lifts the stakes in terms of life and death. While this started off as a meeting amongst political world leaders, it is clearly becoming apparent that there is a lot more in play than what it seems, and Louis does not know who he should trust, or even who is telling the truth. Unfortunately, the episode is plagued with glitches - one that can't be solved except for reloading the game - coupled with the choppy graphics and popping audio portions of the game that ruins what is otherwise the best story-driven episode of The Council yet.

Developer

Big Bad Wolf

Publisher

Focus Home Interactive

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

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   

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