It's time to kick off yet another season for Minecraft: Story Mode as the first episode has dropped on the PS4, Xbox One, PC, and mobile devices with it coming soon to the Switch. All of this is something you should have known by now, but none the less Telltale Games is back at it trying to give us a great story set in the universe that Mojang has crafted that only has stories if we so define them. At least that has always been my takeaway for Minecraft before now and enjoy seeing it through the lens of another. That is what this Story Mode is here for and now we get to enjoy it all. Or at least the first episode. That and if you like what we have to see back, removed, or added to the game for this second season. Here's our review of it so far.
The Order Of The Stone has started to settle into their new roles after the events of the first season of Minecraft: Story Mode and all seems well. At least for the world and not in terms of Jesse getting to go out and have more adventures with all of his pals. They are all busy after all and so is he. Thankfully, things are not so great in the lower mines as Jesse and Petra run across a Hellmouth and need to figure out how to close it. Especially since it looks like they are part of the reason it is open. Now they need a new-ish team to head out and try to make sure the whole world is safe from the terrors that lay within this new opening in the ground. Can we help them do it?
There are some great things added into this season of Minecraft: Story Mode but to get to some of them you have to wade through a lot of very, very slow dialog and scenes along the way. This is not to say that the story being told here, or just starting to be told here, is lacking but it does feel like there was a lot of extra padding to bring everyone "up to speed" from last season when a small little blurb could have done just as well. More than what normally leads a new episode of Minecraft: Story Mode for sure, but something to not have all this extra padding there just to make it all feel longer. I get that Telltale wanted to make this accessible for all players no matter the history with it all, but in many places it felt unneeded and like it was carefully holding your hand when it wasn't needed; even for a completely new player for the IP.
Another little bit that stuck out to me and in my craw here for Minecraft: Story Mode was that some of the gameplay mechanics and "combat" seemed to be rather untested and polished before launch. I ran into multiple instances where NPCs were running around and resetting in a very glitchy manner that required me to "pixel hunt" and spam the action button to get the actual scene to play out. Building from that, there were many audio glitches along the way that gave out some important information and if my default wasn't to have captions on for all my games, I would have missed out on a few things that weren't just filler. This isn't the first time I've run across this in titles from Telltale Games, but here in Minecraft: Story Mode it was so bad that it really felt like there was more care needed that it had.
While the story of this new season for Minecraft: Story Mode has yet to take off, it is only the first episode after all, I was glad to see that the new parts look to be building to something much grander and maybe fourth-wall breaking in the end. There were no scenes to glorify the characters that are already known with the fancy "look at them" music playing in the background. The whole thing just tried to dive right into it all and give us a story. At least after veterans were able to wade through all of the information from the first season of it all. In fact, when I think back on it, if the filler was removed it did feel like there were a few higher paced stories about to be told and started and we were able to go down them once everything was done. All of this is something I loved even though the wording may make it sound otherwise.
Something that the first season of Minecraft: Story Mode felt to be lacking was a better grounding in the source material outside of just look and basic things. While it could have been missed and not fully forced, at least it never felt like it, there are some new gameplay additions that truly place you in the Minecraft setting. Sure there are QTEs still that have you and the team quickly building, but this time around Telltale Games actually put in a mini-event that had us doing the building and destroying one would find in the core game. How that will affect the rest of the game or if it will show up again is still a question, but I won't deny when I came across it the first time here I spent quite a bit of time building as I would in the full game. It feels like the audience pulled over from Mojang has spoken and thus received further immersion into the new world and setting.
This episode of Minecraft: Story Mode was very slow. Slower than many other first episodes that have been out there for other IPs Telltale has covered. Partly to bring in the new players who skipped the first season but partly it felt like it needed to pad on some time. There were also a whole lot of glitches I ran into during my play but none of them were game breaking and more annoying. That said, it does look like they are refining Minecraft: Story Mode down to the core audience they are looking for with the new mechanics and hopefully where the story is headed to. If you loved the first season then this will need to be in your list. If you skipped the first season, then maybe you can start here as it won't feel as slow as it will all be new to you, but you'll miss out on the subtleties in some places. I just hope it keeps going the path it seems and then everyone will need to add this to their list.
I give Minecraft: Story Mode — Hero In Residence 12 Purchased Treasures on the Purchased Treasure scale.
Minecraft: Story Mode — Season Two - Official Trailer
Minecraft: Story Mode — Hero In Residence was developed by Telltale Games and Mojang. Minecraft: Story Mode — Hero In Residence was published by Telltale Games for the PS4, Xbox One and PC on July 11th 2017. A copy of the game was provided by the publisher for reviewing purposes.