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Review

The Council Episode Three: Ripples Review

Making waves.

When the last episode of The Council concluded a new mystery had arrived, adding to an already complex web of questions. The third episode of The Council is called Ripples, and from that name you’d assume the new investigation Louis  finds himself in would be caused by the knock-on effects from previous episodes. However while providing a dramatic ending, these threads are tucked under the rug through episode three, though they’ll probably be revisited at a later date.

Ripples is an episode where you’ll need to process a lot of information in its two hours of playtime, but each revelation does less and less to clear the fog of The Council. One major plot point is cleared up surrounding why The Council is meeting, which relates to the future of the United States, and it ties into an event in history that would have ired some. It’s an event that isn’t hugely covered in textbooks, at least not in the UK, and to reveal any more would likely allow you to guess certain plot points, so we’ll leave that there. Suffice to say The Council is divided over what is proposed.

This proposed deal, while a big issue in itself, provides the background for what transpires between the characters. Our main protagonist Louis finds himself caught up in not just political intrigue, but emotional distress and family arguments. A lot happens in this episode, but it can be argued that too much occurs, not allowing some poignant events the space to breathe and for their impact to be felt.

One moment you’re in a meeting discussing the pros and cons of the political issue at hand, and a little while later Louis is right in the middle of a climactic standoff. Even then that moment isn’t the true climax of the episode and even more subjects are thrown onto the pile soon after. It’s much more eventful than the previous episode, and there isn’t quite as much reliance on environmental puzzles either which allows for proceedings to run more smoothly, even it feels hectic at times.

There are major confrontations to be had within Ripples, with both being important to the story, but one in particular felt incredibly sudden. To be fair, the subject matter in that confrontation would catch anyone off guard, but it still came out of the blue. There does seem to be less interaction with some of the characters this time around, which is a little bit of a shame, but makes sense from a story perspective.

Louis is the key person of interest for one of the characters during the course of Ripples and it is their relationship which is explored, though not always in an overt manner. It’s key for the player to be aware of what is said, as well as what is left unsaid, as the latter could be a lot more important in the long run.  That isn’t to say other characters don’t have their own important things to say, but a smaller cohort is all that is required for the big reveal.

As we’re in the third episode, most of the actors have settled into their characters providing well-delivered performances, but there are still some moments which feel over the top or delivered too dramatically. If you’ve played the first two episodes don’t expect new environments to pop up, though the ones that are familiar still retain that look of grandeur and attention to detail.

What’s Good:

  • Much more eventful than the last episode
  • Fewer environmental puzzles to solve
  • Much more focused on interpersonal relationships
  • Still looks amazing

What’s Bad:

  • Some moments aren’t given a chance to breathe
  • Some story threads felt abandoned

The Council’s third episode is frenetic with so much revealed and so many more questions asked. It piles on so much story content that at times it can feel overwhelming and what could be climatic moments in their own right are quickly pushed past for the next one. While it can be argued that is entertaining, it also means those moments feel glossed over. Yet Ripples does keep your attention and its actual end really does set up a showdown of words that has great potential.

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