Xbox One Review: The Council – Episode 5: Checkmate

And so it comes to this…

The penultimate episode of The Council revealed that Louis was a daemon and the son of Lord Mortimer, who is also a daemon. In fact, there are several of them throughout the island and after pledging my alliance to Mortimer, the vote is about to commence. But is all as it seems? Nope, not by a long shot.

The truth is that Lord Mortimer and Gregory Holm are brothers at war with each other over how things are done, it’s more of a game than anything for Mortimer who wants to win at any cost. I ended up getting all Holm’s supporters voting against him by using my demonic powers of possession and simple manipulation, along with mind-reading. With the vote now won in Mortimer’s favour, Gregory became ill after drinking Mortimer’s cup of tea, which had some sort of poison in it. What follows is a quest inside Holm’s mind to try and save him or make sure he dies.

The mind-quest is interesting as it shows you characters that were dead and puts you in different parts of the island as you teleport through portraits hanging in mid-air. It’s hard to tell what different the outcome would have been for Holm regardless of the vote, but how you prepare for the end game is definitely one you need to be ready for or you could get a really bad ending, one I wasn’t expecting. One that made me replay the game from an episode or two beforehand to make sure I was ready.

Regardless of how you end The Council, you’ll be greeted with a voice-over explaining what happens next to those on the island and wraps it all up in a pretty bow, which is a little underwhelming. We’ve had all this build up and either number of good or bad endings await, but instead of seeing our choices play out, we get a wrap-up via voice-over. I know it’s not the first choice-based game to use this technique, but it would have been nice for them to break the mould somewhat.

In terms of performance, Checkmate still has some issues with it’s framerate and the mouth animation to voice-acting ratio is off by quite a bit still, but hopefully it can be something that can be worked on post-game now that all the episodes are out. Voice-acting has been decent enough throughout and the soundtrack is as good as past episodes.

The Verdict

Checkmate is a decent conclusion to The Council with it’s number of good and bad endings, plus the build-up to the final chapter is something special. It does feel a bit underwhelming with it’s voice-over epilogues, but overall it’s been an interesting series and one that definitely deserves your time.

Score: 8.0