In Minecraft: Story Mode, the player takes control Jesse, a female/male character (based on your choice) that inhabits the Minecraft world and is a big fan of famous events that happened in previous chapters. When joining season number two, you will notice that the game makes reference to The Order of the Stone, which brought a group of warriors together to fight and defeat the legendary Ender Dragon. In this new journey, you and your partners will start a story of your own, diving into a great adventure that combines action and quick decision making. Players who are familiar with the Minecraft franchise will notice that the Story Mode versions add an unexpected experience to the popular title. When playing this game, you can freely make decisions that influence the course of the gameplay while shaping the personality of the main character based on your choices.
The standard edition for Minecraft: Story Mode was developed by Telltale Games and is available for Xbox One for $29.99.
For those who need a quick recap on past chapters before jumping into Season 2, the story is a continuation of a fun journey lived by Jesse and their partners. The group of friends is always seeking for a good adventure and become part of The Order of the Stone, which is responsible for saving their city from a great evil. Without giving away the details of past episodes, let’s just mention that the story takes a different (and more interesting) direction, shortly after the crafting competition starts. In this adventure, Jesse must prove to be more than just a crafter and how they truly stand out among other characters.
In Season 2, the story begins with a recap of the main episodes of the first season, the battle against Wither Storm and makes references to important moments from previous chapters. Characters from The Order of the Stone seem to have taken different paths, while Jesse has become some sort of mayor/leader for the city of Beacontown. In this new scenario, Jesse and their friend Petra decide to go into a nostalgic adventure to remind them of the old fun days. That is the moment where they find what it seems to be the center of attention for the season: a mysterious glove.
The object quickly becomes a catalyst of interesting events such as unexplained holes in the ground and the source of a curious voice that whispers Jesse’s name. You will notice strange things happening from the moment your character touches the glove. These mysterious incidents connect to an important part of the adventure, where players are introduced to the great villain of the season, an ancient creature called "Admin". According to the game description, Admin created the entire world of Minecraft and therefore plays a very important role as the bad guy.
For the most part, the narrative is very engaging and does a good job bringing up details from the original Minecraft scripts. Developers were also very creative when introducing Admin as a character that appears to be just as evil as previous villains.
The main mechanics of Minecraft: Story Mode involve letting the player make their own decisions after dialogs throughout the adventure. The process is very simple and similar to other titles such as The Walking Dead for iOS and Tales from the Borderlands. Keep in mind that any decisions you make will affect the course of the adventure and can result in serious repercussions as you move on.
My favorite thing about this gameplay structure is having the ability to take over the episodes as if you really were part of the game. Minecraft: Story Mode has definitely offered different ways for the player to not only engage with its story but also encouraged the replay factor. In several moments, I wondered what would have happened if Jesse had chosen a different action.
However, the game is not only about that. There are still times where the player is free to explore a scenario, which allow them to investigate the environment, talk to allies and dive into the game world a little deeper. Very often, you will also find the opportunity to complete combat actions while the story is being told. For example, the game brings several moments where you need to dodge enemies, jump on objects or quickly use your sword. All these actions are relatively easy and will let you try them again if you miss anything.
The Combat update is one of the main highlights in this season. The game has included new features for combat actions that make fights more dynamic and exciting, such as stamina. A few other changes in the fighting mechanics include the way you interact with enemies. Different from previous episodes, where you basically had to approach and attack, you must now deflect moves to become effective in battle. You may also pay close attention to your stamina levels, as Jesse will need some time to recover during battles. The character’s physical position in battles is also relevant, especially in combats against multiple opponents. Because of these extra combat characteristics, you must move around in a strategic way before completing a direct hit. In addition to that, there are moments when your attacks will only play an effective effect if you carefully approach them from behind. This has definitely been one of the great new details for Season 2 and has shown players how there is a huge potential for improvements in other sections of the gameplay.
On the negative side, I missed having a better selection of puzzles and crafting. Minecraft is all about being creative and productive with all of the objects, weapons, and structures you can find. My personal criticism in this area would be to have more options for crafting, even though we are talking about a Story Mode title.
GRAPHICS AND AUDIO
I must say that the presentation of Minecraft: Story Mode is great for what the game proposes. I can explain that by saying that visuals elements respect the original Minecraft game while adding some fluidity in the movements. Even though I was not one hundred per cent sure if the block design would look nice in a Story Mode, I recognize that the title would not make total sense if it had been developed in a different structure. The positive thing about it, is the game performance is quite stable and visuals are bright, which provides a very interesting experience that does not exhaust the player.
When reviewing the audio features, I must say that the title brings a spectacular presentation. Game sounds are identical to those found in Minecraft, which makes it easy for players to immerse in the adventure without forgetting the connection between both titles. On the other hand, I felt like the game misses a better selection of songs throughout its chapter, as they seem to be more present at the end of the adventure, or during actual combats.
Minecraft: Story Mode is a very good example of how franchises can successfully be adapted into a different game style. The story entertains from beginning to end, even in points where you will wish for longer narratives. In addition, the game is extremely faithful to the original material found in Minecraft and introduces a challenging and creative main villain.
Having the chance to explore Minecraft from a different perspective in the Story Mode has really encouraged me to complete all episodes and discover what would be coming next. Dialogues made me react in different ways, as I had to quickly make up my mind on making a decision as if I was really inside the story at all times.
Finally, The combat update has brought new elements that make fights even more interesting than before. In general, if you are a fan of Minecraft or would like to explore this popular franchise from a different angle, make sure to give Story Mode a try.
|+ Engaging narrative||– Lacks depth in a few dialogues|
|+ Freedom to explore the game on your own||– Not many songs outside of combats|
|+ Story remains faithful to previous Minecraft episodes||– Needs more puzzles|
|+ Great update in combat system|