Set on an island where some of the world’s most famous figures of the 18th century meet, including George Washington and Napoleon Bonaparte, The Council is an intriguing narrative adventure. Players take on the role of Louis De Richet who has been invited to the island by the mysterious Lord Mortimer, despite being nowhere near as famed or renowned as his fellow guests. De Richet has accepted as his mother has gone missing on the island.
Note: If you haven’t played the first episode of The Council, then brace yourself for some potential spoilers below.
Episode Two picks up right after the climactic ending of the first episode, where one of the characters became a murder victim. Without giving too much away, Louis is now tasked in Hide & Seek with finding the culprit for the murder and everyone on the island is a potential suspect. There might be fewer chapters in this episode than the first, and so it could be a bit shorter to play through, but much of that will depend on how much exploring you do.
Hide & Seek’s main progression does revolve around solving puzzles, gathering clues, and talking to the key characters in the game, and you then need to try and piece the evidence together to draw your own conclusions. However, Hide & Seek does feel lighter on content that The Mad Ones, possibly due to the narrative constraint of the murder investigation. It may also be down to that many of the characters are established and you spend more time with each in that episode learning who they are. Meanwhile, in Hide & Seek some characters are much more prominent than others.
What can help or hinder your investigation is the Social Influence system, which impacts how characters react to you depending on their own personal strengths and weaknesses. Having the right skill equipped can lead to finding a new line of questioning or being able to deduce a clue while lacking the skill will close off the option and keep the story moving in a different direction. The majority of the conversations in this episode are quite straightforward, and there was only one major conversation confrontation that resulted from them.
These confrontations are challenges that can turn characters against you if failed. I was unsure of one conversation that did place in the game where one character said something then contradicted that in another line of questioning, but there was no option to query it. It could be intentional or a misstep in the script, but if deliberate it’s something that could be made clearer in the next episode.
The majority of your time in Hide & Seek is based around gathering clues and solving puzzles, though. Every major puzzle in this episode requires you to fully explore your surroundings, picking up information from sources such as paintings, letters, and books. There’s very little in the way of guidance with the expectation on the player to piece together the clues gathered to find the solution, be it inputting a certain code or looking at a certain passage. There was one puzzle which did stump me for a while as it related to biblical passages, but the answer can be found with careful investigation.
Hide & Seek continues to look outstanding with the manor interior being very well decorated and looking aesthetically pleasing. However, when it comes to the voice acting there were moments where it faltered. You become accustomed to Louis’ American accent, despite being French, but less so when another French character seems to have an accent that has a pronounced American drawl. It can be jarring as other characters have accents that fit their nationalities.
The Council’s second episode doesn’t manage to hit the highs of the first, which could be down to it being smaller in scale in comparison. Hide & Seek’s murder mystery does bring you in and advances the overall plot in a big way, but at the same time it feels like more could have been made of it. There’s some story threads dangled for you to grab, but those threads could have been expanded upon more within the context of this episode.
The Council is available for PS4, Xbox One and PC.