Minecraft: Story Mode Episode 2 — Some Assembly Required Review: Two Roads Taken
Greg Johnson / Nov 9th, 2015 No Comments
The first episode of the Mojang and Telltale Games’ mash-up Minecraft: Story Mode proved to be a great blend of two completely different genres. Somehow, Telltale’s signature point-and-click storytelling worked with Minecraft’s famous art style. But with that introduction in place, the second episode came with greater expectations.
Related: Minecraft: Story Mode Episode 1 — The Order of the Stone Review.
Minecraft: Story Mode Episode 2 — Some Assembly Required focuses on the major choice that ended episode one. Which member of the Order of the Stone should players next seek help from in their quest? Episode 2 continues a unique experience. Unlike previous Telltale titles, there is no doubling back. This means are forced to deal with the consequences of their actions.
Redstone or Rogue
In episode two, players visit Redstonia, the home of redstone engineers, or Boomtown, the home of explosive “aficionado.” Upon returning from either journey, players find that the member of their party they didn’t side with has gone and collected the other member of the Order. Within either choice, there are a number of smaller choices that not only affect what immediately happens, but also the story going forward.
Out of all of Telltale’s past games, this episode comes off as the most ambitious in terms of choice. While ultimately both members of the Order are collected, the story has more than enough variables involved to make each playthrough a truly unique experience. Whichever party member players don’t journey with will fill them in of their adventures upon their return. We went with the Redstonia option on our first go and were treated with Axel filling us in as to how he became the king of Boomtown.
Following this adventure, players are still forced to side with other characters in an effort to find the last member of the Order. Minecraft: Story Mode has so far offered up a lot of variables, maybe not in the final destination, but in what the story told itself holds. How to deal with Ivor is yet another big choice as players can either try to stop him or just let him walk away.
The plentiful quick-time events for combat and action sequences continue in this episode, but there are still interesting character interactions. One of this episode’s brighter moments comes when players converse with the various inhabitants of Boomtown or Redstonia, as well as the members of their own party. While the first episode was far more lighthearted and frivolous, this second episode adds some level of maturity.
The dialogue timer bar has been an incredibly well-crafted bit of gameplay in Minecraft: Story Mode as it has the perfect length for short and longer choices. What to yell in the heat of the moment has a short time limit, while choosing what party member to side with has a longer one.
The most jaw dropping aspect of Minecraft: Story Mode has been the fact that nearly everything in the game is craftable, or at least exists, in the actual Minecraft game. Most of the strange creations, building styles and enemies encountered are a real part of the world that players can find or recreate when they jump back into Minecraft. This attention to detail makes the game feels less like a Telltale endeavor and more like an extension of Minecraft, and it shows a deep understanding of the source material.
The detail doesn’t just show up in individual objects or buildings, but the world at large. Sprawling landscapes are as easy to get lost in as the fine details of the various pieces of architecture visited. Despite being a game using “retro graphics,” areas and people look incredibly distinct from one another and playing the game on PlayStation 4 shows off the system’s graphical abilities just as well as a game like Call of Duty: Black Ops 3.
Episode two teases some difficult choices on the horizon and plants the seeds for Ivor’s story as the black sheep. As you might expect only two episodes into the game, Minecraft: Story Mode feels like watching Lost — a lot of questions are remain unanswered. With three episodes to go, players shouldn’t expect to get those answers anytime soon.
The wonderful voice acting and the unique gameplay and setting bring Minecraft to life in an intriguing way. So far, the series has managed to honor the spirit of Minecraft while staying true to what Telltale does best, and that is no easy task.
Minecraft: Story Mode Episode 2 — Some Assembly Required was reviewed on PS4 using a code for the game provided by the publisher.
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