Jesse and his/her friends have come a long way in four episodes of Minecraft Story Mode. From starting in a tree house worrying about a building contest, to saving the world from three giant wither storm monsters. He made and lost some friends along the way (it’s up to you which thanks to the typical Telltale way of story telling) and although the journey was light and perhaps a little anticlimactic, the characters were likable and the decisions you’d made didn’t resonate or frustrate like they did in The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones.

Minecraft Story Mode is a very light adventure game and perfect for the original basis. Little changes in the new outings, as formula or gameplay wise mixes again puzzles, talking, responding as you feel appropriate (you could be nice, tell them to shut their pie hole or say nothing at all) or taking part in quick time events which see you dodging or engaging in combat. The new story certainly takes things in an unconventional direction after the first epic quest to save the world.

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Jesse and the “New Order of the Stone” quickly recap events that took place previously in Episodes 1 to 4, and rush right in to an all new story. In the new adventure (starting in Episode 5), The leader and a few of his/her crew go looking for an all powerful item called the “Ever Source”, an artifact of great power created by an ancient race called “The Builders”. The Ever Source is said that it can produce any block or object, something akin to the original games creation mode. In the initial stages of the adventure they bump into some disgruntled characters who are upset with the new found fame that the new order of the stone has received since (kinda spoiler) they saved the world and all the treasures they’d since discovered, so those awful ruffians steal a trinket, open a portal to another world and step through – closely followed by our heroes. The story that awaits them involves the search for this artifact, a battle against good and evil, some puzzles, some multiple choice dialogue options and a ton of quick time events – all wrapped up in a single adventure, unlike the previous four which have one long main narrative. Episode 5 is the best of the content that has been released (so far). The story is tight, the characters are likeable, the dialogue zippy and has some really great cinematic moments which in the previous ones fell a little flat. The final part of the story is particularly quick time event heavy, but the action is well crafted (pun intended). At the end of the episode with all things. By the end, our heroes attempt to leave this realm for home but end up facing multiple portals, each one leading to a different world…

And here we come to Episode 6. Oh, Episode 6. Off to a flying and frantic start they land in a spooky world, and have to escape a seemingly endless Romero-like sea of zombies (but more blocky). The heroes reach a mansion and become embroiled in a veeeery slow burning murder mystery involving a spooky character and a selection of YouTube “celebrities”. After the fast paced rip roaring ride that was episode 5, episode 6 is dull as dish water and felt it hoped to rely on a selection of guest voices to carry it. These are: Joseph Garrett aka “Stampy Cat”, Stacy Hinojosa aka “Stacy Plays”, Dan Middleton aka “DanTDM”, Lizzie Dwyer aka “LDShadowLady” and Jordan Maron aka “CaptainSparklez” (sorry for all the AKA’ing, but these people obviously enjoy a creative pseudonym. Now you may be thinking “But I LOVE these YouTubers and you’re an old fart”, and you’d be right but as gamer also, I’m sorry to say, they are not very good voice actors. Lizzie Dwyer in particular is horrific, and every interaction with this character I wish I could skip as it feels so flat and out of place. Others try and perform a little to create some character, such as “Stampy Cat” who at least tries to pretend that he’s fearful for his life as the mansions host (or one of the guests) tries to kill him. I found it also hilarious that one of character mocks Jessie the lead for having “a girls name”, when you’ve got people that call themselves “CaptainSparklez” around. All in all Episode 6 is like a bad episode of Scooby-Doo.

Things improve with Episode 7 as takes the team to an even stranger place – to a world run by a sentient AI. This has the best story of the recent episodes with a massive focus on dialogue selection being the key to a successful adventure. The latest outing isn’t bogged down with additional characters, and it concentrates on saying what it wants to say – which is a quite good Sci-Fi story about artificial intelligence taking over. It feels like an old 90’s cartoon in many ways as the “give the AI a riddle it can’t solve” gimmick is present, but it works.

Overall this story (so far) is strong and enjoyable with a few peaks and a few dips. With a premise that shifts from episode to episode, Jesse and team New Order never get bogged down or stuck in once place, something that the first four episodes were guilty of. This chopping and changing keeps things fresh, throwing a lot of different ideas around quickly to see what sticks. Much like Episodes 1-4, the current tale is a perfect continuation of what is a casual “choose your own adventure”. It never takes itself too seriously, and although it does dish out a high degree of threat and action, it’s a perfect introduction to these types of point and click games, and also the wonderful products that Telltale Games make.

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Episodes 1 to 7 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).