When Minecraft: Story Mode Episode 1 hit, it blew all of my expectations out of the water. The characters, the graphics, the voice acting, and the plot were all fantastic and true to the spirit of Minecraft, and I was super excited for Episode 2 to hit so I could continue the tale.
Sadly, it isn’t as good.
At the end of Episode 1, you sided with one of your friends to go after one member of the Order of the Stone over another, and Episode 2 picks up immediately after. I had chosen to go with Axel to find the Magnus Griefer, and the journey through Boomtown (full of other griefers just wanting to blow stuff up) was exciting, and the battle to win the title of “King of Boomtown” was intense. When you get back, however, you find that the friend you didn’t side with went out by him/herself and got the other member, which effectively makes your choice kind of pointless, since they both join anyway. Sure, Ellegard the Engineer is (kind of childishly) mad that I decided to go get Magnus instead of her, but it doesn’t seem like it’s going to make a huge difference. The majority of the choices in this episode were which side you picked when people argued – there weren’t any large “who would you save?” choice like last time.
After collecting both Ellegard and Magnus, you’re off to find Soren in his fortress. When you get there, you instead discover Ivor, the evil dude from the last episode. There’s a brief battle, Ivor escapes, roll credits.
This episode felt significantly shorter. Each episode is about 6 chapters, which normally take maybe 15 minutes or so to complete. Chapter 1 consisted of a single dialogue choice and a brief, uneventful battle with a Ghast. It was over within five minutes. The other chapters were longer, but not by much. This episode came out much sooner than usual for Telltale, so that could play a part, but I wouldn’t have minded waiting longer for a more substantial offering.
Graphics + Sound
The visuals and voice acting were some of the high points of the previous episode, and that trend continues here. Corey Feldman is great as Magnus, and Grey Griffin is predictably fantastic as Ellegard. The game still looks as though it’s a part of the Minecraft universe, but there are a couple of issues worth noting. Visual stuttering and frame rate drops have always been a problem with Telltale’s games, but it’s at its worst here. At one point there was an entire conversation where nobody’s mouth moved. The words were said, the animations moved, but the mouths remained shut.
Episode 2 felt almost a little like a filler episode. Some important events did indeed happen, but it simultaneously felt like it was dragged out longer than it needed to be and it ended way too soon. The choices didn’t feel as important, some of your choices from Episode 1 were undermined a bit, and it was over before it had truly begun. I’m also still not sold on the crafting system – I’ve been trying to remember if there wasn’t even any crafting in Episode 2, and I can’t remember any. If there was, it seemed that unimportant. Here’s to hoping Episode 3 is better.
+ Strong voice acting
+ Authentic visuals
– On the short side
– Choices didn’t seem too important
– Episode 1 choices were undermined
– Visual issues
– Crafting still doesn’t seem important