The first season of Minecraft: Story Mode was not very good - it exemplified all of the bad habits Telltale have picked up over the last five years. The animation, the dialogue, the meaningless decisions all mixed together in an engine that doesn’t seem to have been updated in all that time. It also did very little with the actual Minecraft IP, with only slight nods to the - at time of writing - second most bought game of all time’s actual mechanics. Not to mention the original season pass only giving access to five of the eight episodes, with the remaining three taking up a new season pass.
With Season 2, Telltale have not learnt much. The animation is still stilted and while some of it looks authentic to the inspiration, there are lots of instances of clipping which look awful in a game that focuses on character’s faces so much. The dialogue is a little better as the main characters are much more fleshed out, but the lip-syncing is still universally awful. The big problem I think the dialogue has is it’s been written for kids by people famous for their dark, adult stories.
That isn’t to say nothing has improved: the decisions feel a little more important and it’s been obvious that some of the decisions have changed my story. I doubt this will mean I get drastically different endings, but no Telltale game has ever really done multiple endings that were affected by previous episodes decisions. The decisions this season have been very focused on the characters, who - after the events of the first season - are all seeking Jesse’s approval.
They’ve also included actual Minecraft mechanics a lot more this time around, with each episode including a small building section. The game gives you a few blocks and a small area to build whatever you want, though there’s always some prompt. If there was a way of tracking what people have built, I wonder how many people would have built a penis, as is the Minecraft way. These sections are a nice throwback to the source’s biggest feature, but they are still very restricted and the camera is not especially great.
Minor Spoilers Below
Especially for the first two episodes. You have been warned!
This episode takes place in the Admin’s high security prison at the base of the world, built into the bedrock itself. After revealing that he was secretly Vos the whole time, the Admin took the prismarine glove off of Jesse and gave it to whoever you chose to grab the Admin’s clock. Sending Jesse and the other choice to his prison, we meet the Warden and his army of Associates. It’s important to note that we aren’t prisoners, and this isn’t a prison - it’s a correctional facility and we are all guests.
The Warden takes a shine to Jesse, much to Stella’s - who was also sent to the facility as one of our “friends” - chagrin. Lluna the Llama also joins her owner, remaining as the Reuben replacement for this season. We’re offered to join the Warden as an Associate - still a prisoner, but with benefits. From there, we are given one objective this episode: escape. To do that, we have to solve some of the better adventure game puzzles I’ve seen in a Telltale game, and recruit another new character to our party.
Episode Three was somewhat of an improvement over the first two episodes, with slightly darker themes seeping into this child-friendly story. Also notably absent were the two YouTube characters with their significantly worse audio and poor acting destroying any sense of fan service. In their place, we got a rather charming Bob Ross knock-off in a few moments that were rather funny. The improvements do little to remedy the poor performance and animation inherent with the Telltale engine, and I suspect I will be complaining about them until they do a complete rewrite.
Minecraft: Story Mode - Season Two (Reviewed on Windows)
Game is enjoyable, outweighing the issues there may be.
An improvement over the previous episodes and the last season, but still marred by technical problems with Telltale’s aging engine.