The Council - Episode 4: Burning Bridges (Xbox One) Review

By Josh Di Falco 22.07.2019

Review for The Council - Episode 4: Burning Bridges on Xbox One

The end of the previous episode, Ripples saw Louis either successfully, or unsuccessfully, find a solution to the Christian mural that guarded the pathway into the catacombs beneath Lord Mortimer's manor. Developer Big Bad Wolf has kicked off episode four, Burning Bridges right where the story left off, with Louis left to explore the dark catacombs to find a spear-head capable of defeating the Daemons that are roaming around the manor. The penultimate episode to this dark and twisted political narrative is filled with even more surprises and huge reveals - though the impact is solely dependent on whether Louis views the scene or not.

If The Council has managed to do one thing well across the first three episodes, it is its ability to pace the narrative and the challenges appropriately. From the moment Louis made his way into the dark and morbid manor of the mysterious Lord Mortimer, his life has begun to change in many different ways. As each of the previous episodes introduced new cliff-hangers and dark revelations, it is only fitting for Burning Bridges to save the ultimate plot twists for the penultimate episode. Of course, they begin to come thick and fast from the midpoint of this episode right through to the end, and they greatly change the entire viewpoint and context of the narrative thus far.

Following the big reveal from Episode 3: Ripples, Louis learns that Lord Mortimer is in fact a Daemon who is capable of surviving for many generations. However, beneath the manor lies the catacombs with a collection of spearheads, and Louis must deduce from the clues which spearhead can "kill" the Daemon. As far as the episodic challenges are concerned, this opening portion is one of the only puzzle-like challenges on offer. However, it is necessary due to the huge story changes that are to come.

Screenshot for The Council - Episode 4: Burning Bridges on Xbox One

Finding the clues about which spearhead to use is a matter of walking around the manor and basically asking all of the characters for any clues - of course, without giving away the obvious news for fear of having Louis' cover blown. At first, this sequence does get the episode off to a slow start, however, in hindsight it is necessary to allow Louis the freedom of exploration around the manor to find missed manuscripts and Mortimer's coins. Kind of like a rollercoaster, when the carriage makes that slow climb to the top before it takes the plunge down.

Overall, the story itself seems to be suffering from an identity crisis of sorts. While the previous three episodes placed the focus on politics, negotiation and democracy, Burning Bridges tries to thread the theme of demons and a higher power at play here. Lord Mortimer's end-game for this conference, it seems, is to expand the United States of America by handing them the lands of Louisiana, which is presently owned by Spain. Of course, to keep in line with history, Napoleon Bonaparte will have to acquire the land from Spain first in order to then hand it over to George Washington. While this entire setup and the political ramifications behind it all is an interesting plot device, it does seem to be such a minor piece of The Council when the 'demon' story picks up.

Screenshot for The Council - Episode 4: Burning Bridges on Xbox One

In the latter part of the episode, there is a huge plot point that arises that basically changes the entire narrative up to this point. Regardless whether it was meant to be a political thriller, or a "murder mystery," Louis journey does change when he makes some startling revelations. Unfortunately, these plot points are tucked away behind a decision that does show the downside to "choose your own adventure" titles. That means that some narratives will play out that way with the game-changing twists that deeply affect the story going forward. However, some play-throughs will also miss that entire moment and the story will continue as it is; except it will be lacking that emotional punch.

It probably would have been better to have all the different choices converge into this one moment so that everyone could experience it, and then have different pathways leading out from it. But alas, it is also interesting that Big Bad Wolf chose to go down this path. It will be fascinating to see if the final episode will attempt to fill in those missed plot beats for those who did not get to experience it in this episode's final moments. Either way, the 'demon' story has totally taken away all attention from The Council's political drama, at least for the time being. With one episode to go, it will be fascinating to see how the developers plan to tie all the narrative threads up.

Screenshot for The Council - Episode 4: Burning Bridges on Xbox One

On a mechanical and presentation level, Burning Bridges seems to be the buggiest episode yet. There is one conversation that can happen with George Washington in the halls of the manor that takes place in entire silence, as Washington mouths his lines signified by the subtitles below. But his audio for some reason just wouldn't play. Up to this point, every single line of dialogue had been recorded and played by various characters, so this stands out like a sore thumb.

Plus, there are multiple times during the multi-character interactions where the lines spoken are not matching with the characters talking. In one case, Johann von Wöllner is clearly speaking his lines, however his character model is not mouthing the words. Instead, Giuseppe Piaggi's character model is mouthing the lines, and this is quite jarring to the presentation of the episode.

Because it is an interactive novel due to its 'choose your own adventure' setup, the presentation of nailing the cut-scenes and character interactions has to be the most important aspect. Unfortunately, as the end is drawing nearer, it seems that a few bugs slipped through the cracks and are commonly found in Burning Bridges.

Screenshot for The Council - Episode 4: Burning Bridges on Xbox One

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Louis de Richet's world is vastly changing as Lord Mortimer's manors secrets begin to expose themselves. While the political intrigue and US land-dispute machinations are intriguing, so too is the demon revelations that rocked the finale of the third episode. The ramifications of that and the pathways that open in Burning Bridges, becomes a more dangerous game for Louis and the other guests to play. While a few bugs are more prominent in Episode 4, hopefully Big Bad Wolf get the final episode just right. Just make sure to have two play-throughs to experience all the twists and turns, as one is totally missable. The Council has been an absolute treat up to this point, and the penultimate episode's new revelations takes the final part to a whole new playing field.

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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