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Minecraft: Story Mode Episode 8 – A Journey’s End? Review

/ Sep 27th, 2016 No Comments

Minecraft: Story Mode Episode 8 - A Journey's End?

Minecraft: Story Mode, Telltale’s family friendly moral-choice adventure, has come to a fitting end in Episode 8 – A Journey’s End?

Previous Episode Reviews: Episode 1, Episode 2, Episode 3, Episode 4, Episode 5, Episode 6, Episode 7

The game was only supposed to last five episodes, but an additional three were made available to continue the story. Now, the focus is on the group responsible for creating the hall of portals. Will this group help Jesse and his friends go back home? This is the episode’s biggest question, but the finale isn’t as definitive as you may have hoped.

Where Do We Go Now?

Episode 8 features another city, one of the old builders’ making, with a populace living in a less than desirable scenario. Main character Jesse meets the old builders, but they aren’t willing to just tell him the way back home.

The fate of Jesse’s companions is learned throughout A Journey’s End, and a few surprising moments along the way add emotional and dramatic tension. Humor is still the driving force behind many of the characters, providing a welcome relief to the dramatic nature of the conclusion. Tense scenes benefit from a well-timed joke, and the humor helps break up the dialogue and decision making.

The choices available to players in Episode 8 paint Jesse as either a glory hound or great leader, culminating in a final decision on how to get back home. Regardless of your choice, Jesse and his crew are able to return home.
 

Minecraft: Story Mode Episode 8 - A Journey's End?

Friendship, friendship, just the perfect blendship!

The ending doesn’t feature a cliffhanger, but one question remains unanswered: what happened to the original Order of the Stone?

While Ivor joined up with Jesse, the surviving members seemed to vanish following episode four. Soren specifically ran off and was not seen as the remaining Order members passed their title onto Jesse and his friends.

Ivor runs off at the end of Episode 8, but where he’s going should be fairly obvious to players who paid attention to the minor romantic subplot he’s involved in. His independent adventure and Soren’s mysterious disappearance hint at more episodes or a possible second season, but this leaves Minecraft: Story Mode with a fairly big unanswered question.

Jesse, Master of Teamwork, or Not

Jesse has been an incredibly malleable protagonist throughout Minecraft: Story Mode. Episode 8 furthers this end by giving a great range of choices to players on how Jesse acts in the finale. My version of Jesse was more subdued and focused on the greater good, but it is possible to have Jesse turn his back on all his friends in the name of glory.
 

Minecraft: Story Mode Episode 8 - A Journey's End?

Just another day fighting for our lives.

There are some gray zones to be explored as well, but they tend to make Jesse feel more spineless than anything. He often refuses to pick sides or make definitive decisions.

One decision near the very beginning of the episode featured Minecraft: Story Mode’s running trope of two friends in distress, with Jesse having to choose who to help. In this case, players aren’t given much time to make their choice. However, there are times where players are allowed to think things through before making a final choice.

Lend Your Voices

The voice acting again deserves high praise, especially in the finale. Because of the game’s large amount of plot twists, actors are expected to have range, and they deliver.

In this game about blocky, pixelated characters, the voice actors effectively sell the universe and make the audience emotionally attached the characters, and that is not easy to do.
 

Minecraft: Story Mode Episode 8 - A Journey's End?

Somber music for a reflective moment.

Credit also has to be given to the soundtrack for the finale. The scores of the original Minecraft were meant to invoke feelings of openness, peace and exploration. Minecraft: Story Mode keeps that spirit alive in its soundtrack.

During the exploration portions of the episode, in which players are free to walk about mostly uninhibited, the soundtrack is easy and light. As soon as a chase begins or a difficult decision is thrust upon the player, the music picks up. Music during action sequences heighten the anxiety of the moment while still being subdued enough to keep the focus on the scene unfolding.

Minecraft: Story Mode has perfectly recreated the low-res world of Minecraft while still showcasing in-depth worlds, detailed characters and movie-level presentation. Episode 8 is no different. It is filled with impressive wide shots, such as in the old builder’s gladiator pit, as well as intimate details, such as the facial expressions during close ups.

Overall

Minecraft is a title about exploration and the constant possibility of more. Thus, ending Minecraft: Story Mode in a way that leaves the potential for more is fitting.

A Journey’s End consists of the same humor and themes as the previous episodes, but it also has more tension. The weight of your decision-making feels heavy in Episode 8.

At some point Minecraft: Story Mode had to end, but leaving room for players to imagine further adventures or create their own elsewhere is the perfect ending.

Minecraft: Story Mode was played on PlayStation 4 using a code for the game provided by the publisher.

 

Greg Johnson

Greg Johnson

Associate Editor at Gaming Illustrated
Greg is a Nintendo fanboy who would cry if they ever went third party. He writes news, previews and reviews at Gaming Illustrated.
Greg Johnson

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MINECRAFT: STORY MODE EPISODE 8 – A JOURNEY’S END? REVIEW

Gaming Illustrated RATING

Overall85%

GAMEPLAY9

Episode 8 is exactly what you'd expect from Telltale Games. It is heavier and more intense than previous episodes.

GRAPHICS8

This episode features grand views that really show the attention to detail paid to the visuals.

SOUND9

An impressive soundtrack perfectly captures the world of Minecraft and sets the tone for the game's harshest scenes.

STORY8

The last episode ends the overall story, but there is a feeling of some ends being left intentionally untied.