Telltale Game’s second adventure set in Mojang’s block world concludes in Minecraft: Story Mode Episode 8 and is suitably called ‘A Journey’s End?’. Jessie and his/her team remain trapped having to travel from realm-to-realm in search of home, however after rescuing and befriending someone who may have built the portal network they’re forced to navigate, things appear to be on the up …until, that is, they land slap bang in the middle of a voxel ‘Hunger Games‘.

 

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In the final release in this series, the crew are forced to take part in a violent series of mini games to earn an artifact that is promised to finally allow them to find the right portal and leap homeward. Standing in the team’s way are other contestants, brutish gladiators and some scheming overlords who have plans for the new arrivals who are stirring things up. The inspiration to a particular young adult series of books/films is abundantly apparent with nods ranging from similarities to the contestant costumes, but also in-game villains possessing similar looks Donald Sutherland’s President Snow, and Julianne Moore’s President Coin. The gladiatorial world suits the point and click, branching dialogue and quick time events better than ever, all realised with some climactic fun and tells a good story – something Telltale certainly are renowned for. Like parts 5-7 before, the “Sliders” premise continues with characters (and the player) getting dumped into a new land, have to quickly spot the differences to get the lay of the land, find some friends before working out who the villain is and how to defeat them. Along the way we get some good twists and turns, some genuine life threatening jeopardy and some good portions full of quick time action.

 

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The branching dialogue and action components are in full force in Episode 8. Consequences have clear repercussions this time as I imagine it being the last in the series, they can have your outcome result in anything you want without fear of trying to write someway to get out of it in the next episode – which allows for better storytelling. If you’re familiar with the premise here, the story will hold few surprises but remains fun nevertheless. Should you make a deal with a dubious contestant to help each other? Should you trust that the villain will keep his word? I shan’t answer as I don’t want to spoil anything, but many of you could see the plot signs clear as day. Saying that, a couple of characters are morally ambiguous and how you talk and behave around them does appear to have a genuine impact on what they’ll do later in the game. Only after playing the episode to completion did I see that maybe I was a bit of a jerk, and could have handled it differently to get a better outcome. Was this enough for me to replay the chapter? Regrettably I don’t think so.

 

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Voice work for all the characters is particularly high in this one, with some strong acting being delivered thanks to the stakes being high, giving them some range of vocal emotions that was somewhat lacking before (Episode 6’s episode featuring “YouTube stars” still makes me shudder). The new realm itself has some of the best visuals and constructions to date (this is the ancient builder homeworld after all).

 

Overall this is one of the better episodes to come out of the series (Episode 5 is my favourite). It’s fleshed out and thankfully a worthy conclusion for the title that launched way back in October last year. It’s been a minecart rollercoaster of a ride and although I don’t think it’s as strong as Telltales other games, such as The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones, I can still appreciate it despite being squarely set at a different demographic: Fans of Minecraft most certainly, and those looking for a more casual point and click experience. I’m happy to report all-in-all Minecraft: Story Mode succeeds at both in spades …diamond ones.

 

All episodes (1 to 8) of Minecraft: Story Mode are available now on PC, Mac, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, iOS and Android. Episode 5 is included within the Season 1 pass, however episodes 6-8 will be “post-season” content so will need to be purchased separately.



Author

BetaDaysUK

Computer and games fan from child to man (man-child if you wish). Gaming since the Atari 2600 all the way through ZX Spectrum, Amiga 500 and now PC. Keen observer of all things Early Access and in Beta (hence the name).