The story continues for Jesse and crew as the third episode of Minecraft: Story Mode is underway for us. It has been a weird ride for us yet again with this game and season, but here we go with yet one more episode in the mix. No doubt, this should be one of the ones that set things up for the future if it goes along the path of other Telltale Games' titles out there, but that could be in the next episode as well. If patterns repeat and stay the same. There is no time like the present to dive in and give it all a look. Here is our review of Minecraft: Story Mode — Jailhouse Block.
After upsetting the Admin during the events of the last episode, Jesse and crew are transported off to a jailhouse of the Admin's design. Not wanting to be left to rot in the jailhouse for just existing, Jesse and pals try to figure a way to escape out and get back to what they need to do. That and find their lost friend at the end of the last episode. To do so, they are going to have to live by some form of prison rules and gain the help from all of the other inmates that have been placed in there. That and try to work a few other angles to make life easier. Just another day in Minecraft it would seem.
I get why the Admin would send Jesse and his crew to this "jailhouse" in terms of the story. What I do not get is why they would then turn around and give him any modicum of power as is done in the story. Sure, it is there to make the actual game progress a bit more, but it just made no sense for the overall story and feeling of what has been going on so far. It was almost as if the writers chose to cut a section of the story out that would have Jesse or someone else gaining trust so they could work their angle. Instead, it happened "for reasons" all to move things along in a short amount of time. At least that was the feeling here and there was really no progression as to why in the story. For a game that is supposed to be all about that, it felt like there was just an easy way taken just to move along.
On top of that, it also felt like the dialog choices were set up the same way here to where we were forced into specific corners. There is one in particular that states this character will remember "action X" but there was no specific way to avoid it or reason to need to make it. Outside of the writers needed it to be in there. Usually, there is a choice where you have to be a dick, but the reasons for it are what made it a tough call. In a few spots, the one mentioned as well, the events transpired and there was no option that made it feel like we had to do this one bad thing for the greater good. It just had to happen and that NPC drew the short stick. Why even fake us with a choice of something like this when it would be easier to just have a cutscene? The choices in these games are what make them fun and being forced down a path "just cause" was not the way to go with Minecraft: Story Mode here.
Out of all of Telltale Games' catalog there have generally been two or three parts in the story that seemed to branch the overall narrative in one way or another. It is what we expect and keep an eye out for when playing these games. In this episode of Minecraft: Story Mode, I counted much more than that. At least I saw the notification more often than any of their other titles. This sits in my loved section for now as I have high hopes that this will actually mean something when all is said and done in the season as it made me rethink a lot of those choices I had to make, even if they were not hard ones. If this was them testing the waters on things going forward then this could mean some exciting things are coming. If it all goes as it has felt in all of the episodes of Minecraft: Story Mode so far, it could all mean nothing and we still get the same ending. I will keep my high hopes for now.
I was glad to see in this episode that certain aspects of Minecraft carried over a bit more to pad out some of the fun here. There was a lot more combat in this episode and the monument building made much more sense than it had in the other episodes. Maybe it is just me, but when I am told to make something abstract I draw a blank but when asked to make something as basic as a mushroom I wanted to take my time. Even though these may all lead up to nothing. No matter the case, I think they were handled the way they should have been here since the beginning of the game and season. We will see if it carries over to the rest of the episodes, but it was a highlight in this one for certain.
Sadly, this was not the big episode of the season that we should have hoped for with Minecraft: Story Mode. That will most likely be the next one. It did bring a few interesting things in and will be needed to press on with the overall story, but more or less this is a "pass" of an episode. Unless all of the branches and choices do mean something other than stats for the web, Telltale could have brought in the one big piece for the season in a single chapter and not an entire episode here. This one character was the only real reason to have it all go down in the first place and everything else was just filler to me.
I give Minecraft: Story Mode — Jailhouse Block 4 Branches on the Branches scale.
Minecraft: Story Mode — Jailhouse Block
Minecraft: Story Mode — Jailhouse Block was developed by Telltale Games and Mojang. Minecraft: Story Mode — Jailhouse Block was published by Telltale Games for the PS4, Xbox One and PC on September 19th 2017. A copy of the game was provided by the publisher for reviewing purposes.