Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Minecraft: Story Mode Episode 2 Review

The second episode of Minecraft: Story Mode doesn't quite match the high standards set by it's predecessor.  Episode two is quite short, but it's wide amount of differences in the choices offers a lot of options for replay.

The first episode ended with a choice on locations, similar to Telltale's previous series, The Wolf Among Us.  This time however, the two different events will each take place in this episode rather than the previous, making the two choices feel like they have more impact otherwise.  The two locations really do play out very differently, and offer widely different gameplay throughout them. There are also a number of ways to go about your task to meet the member of the Order of the Stone that you have chosen, which not only offers up a different experience, but leaves room open for those actions to have consequences in future episodes.

The new locations are both really interesting, and widely different.  They both reflect the personality of the two members of the Order.  The architect's land is full of wonderous and wild buildings and inventions, whereas the bomb expert's land is full of crazy people known as griefers, who attempt to blow you up the moment you set foot on their soil.  These moments should be fun to people who are veterans of Minecraft, as they emulate and poke good natured fun at the experience of the game. However, they're also fun to people who aren't fans, as both paths are really fun to play as they are so vastly different from each other.

There are a few moments of adventure game puzzles here, which are optional, as there are multiple ways to solve a task.   The optional puzzles in The Walking Dead: Season One were nice to have, but as they weren't actually used to further the plot, they felt like added weight.  Thankfully, that's not the case here.  The way they are handled here works really well.  It's a trend that I hope Telltale continues in their future series, as it's a nice way to bridge their classic puzzle games with their modern choice based adventures. 

The other major choice, between who to save in the former episode, hasn't had much of a difference on the impact of the story so far.  The interaction with the characters will change depending on the choice,  however, there is a major plot point that is introduced with the return of your chosen character to the group. The problem is the same no matter which character you chose.  

The presentation continues to shine here.  The graphics continue to mimic the world of Minecraft, and all of the fancy invention has been designed to fit within the rules of the universe.  They all could be built in the original game, which helps make the game feel rooted in its source material, and is a nice touch.  The voice work continues to shine, as does the digital music, which continues to fit the world well.  The Tales from the Borderlands style opening credits also continue here, and continue to work well with the style of humor that this series has presented so far.

Minecraft: Story Mode episode two doesn't quite live up to the standards set by the premiere, but it comes close.  It's a much shorter experience, but the vastly different routes mean that gamers would get a lot out of a replay session.  The optional puzzles are handled much better than in The Walking Dead: Season One, as they are actually integral to the plot.  The music and voice work are excellent, as is always the case in Telltale's games.  In addition, the music and voice work are excellent, as is always the case in Telltale's games.The art style mimics Minecraft well, and the team went to great lengths to make sure that the outlandish inventions could actually be created in Minecraft, which should please fans of the original game.  The main drawback to the episode is that the short length makes the episode feel mostly like a setup for the episodes yet to come.

Final Verdict:

4 out of 5

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