Minecraft: Story Mode Season Two - Episode 1: Hero in Residence (PlayStation 4) Review

By Brandon Howard 21.07.2017

Review for Minecraft: Story Mode Season Two - Episode 1: Hero in Residence on PlayStation 4

The follow-up to 2015's Minecraft: Story Mode Season One, this is the second addition to Telltale's episodic adventure game set in the world of Minecraft. Following the adventures of Jesse and their friends after the defeat of the evil Wither Storm in the previous adventure, season two kicks off on a slower note, showing what the gang's been up to, and setting the stage for the next big adventure.

Minecraft: Story Mode Season Two feels a bit exasperating, to be honest. Telltale makes some pretty amazing adventure games, but Minecraft isn't usually the setting most would think of. While it's easily their most all ages-friendly product out there, it isn't anything more than a slightly interactive story for devout fans of the original product.

The story focuses on Jesse, the protagonist of the first game, who gang has made a name for themselves after defeating the Wither Strom in the first season. As Jesse and their friends drift further and further apart as their responsibilities in their various hometowns pull them away from their adventures, Jesse and their friend Petra uncover a mysterious hole in the ground that sets the ball rolling for another season of story.

There's some undoubtable snippets of good writing, but they're the occasional gem, rather than being indicative of the overall narrative quality. The characters are fairly stock for a pseudo fantasy setting, and none of them come across as particularly memorable. There's nothing that really makes any particular character stand out, so it's harder to get attached.

The story is told through pre-recorded segments that occasionally offer the player to input responses for Jesse, usually with a time limit attached. The time limit doesn't feel like it makes a lot of sense, and the choices are never earth-shattering - and other than trying to make conversations feel smooth, it just feels like an unnecessary element to the gameplay.

Screenshot for Minecraft: Story Mode Season Two - Episode 1: Hero in Residence on PlayStation 4

Several action sequences also come up, and they vary a bit more in variety. Early on, there's a segment that uses a heavily simplified version of Minecraft's build tools to help the player build a statue, but the controls don't feel as precise as what's used in the original title. The on-screen cursor feels floaty, and heavy and hard to use.

There's also a fair share of quick time events, and other short action sequences, ranging from minor combat to short races. All of these events use limited controls, usually one to two buttons, which is great for younger players, but doesn't do much to make the events feel different or interesting to play. The quick time events often feel out of place and overused, being used for jumping down cliffs, only to be used to jump back up the cliff half a scene later.

The animation is well done, but it's almost weirdly off-putting to see Minecraft characters move as fluidly as they do. There's a bit of a problem when it comes to Minecraft characters lacking in the expressions department, but the team has definitely made the most of its resources. Overall, though, the production values are excellent all around. The score is well done, and the voice acting has lots of great performances.

Minecraft: Story Mode Season Two feels frustrating because without the Minecraft skin, it'd probably be a pretty average adventure game. The biggest problems come from the Minecraft elements. They feel gratuitous and shoehorned in; more references for the sake of being Minecraft references. Rather than being an adventure game set within Minecraft, the references completely break the immersion. While that's definitely fun for some of the core audience, it feels completely out of place in the story.

Screenshot for Minecraft: Story Mode Season Two - Episode 1: Hero in Residence on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

Minecraft: Story Mode Season Two fails to capture both the creative freedom of Minecraft, and the meaningful storytelling of a Telltale Games series. While there's definitely some niche appeal for those who are extremely invested in the world and lore of Minecraft, the story and characters don't stand out enough to make this a super compelling title. If Minecraft is something people love playing, they're better off just sticking to it.

Developer

Telltale

Publisher

Telltale

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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