Minecraft: Story Mode Season Two - Episode 5: Above and Beyond (Xbox One) Review

By Josh Di Falco 22.01.2018

Review for Minecraft: Story Mode Season Two - Episode 5: Above and Beyond on Xbox One

As with all reviews of this episodic nature, there will be spoilers for previous episodes throughout the review so it is not recommended to continue reading without playing the previous episodes first. Read here for the first, second, third, and fourth episode reviews.

Episode 5: Above and Beyond brings to an end this five-episode second season of Minecraft: Story Mode, as Romeo's evil grip over Beacontown reaches a head, as Jesse and the band of heroes exits the Underneath with a new power-glove in tow. Unfortunately, the effects of the Admin's power has turned Beacontown into a bleak world, filled with dark clouds, and a darker colour palette that is the completely opposite to how the town was conveyed in the opening episode of the season. With time running out, can Jesse finally bring Romeo to justice, and save his or her beloved town from any further harm?

Jesse and company sneak into Beacontown, with a new power glove in-hand with the power to strip Romeo of his Admin powers. With some returning faces from Episode 1 making their way back into the fold, this episode does a terrific job of tying together all the story threads, and joining them up into an epic season finale. Although the eventual battle with Jesse and Romeo is the carrot on the stick, the build-up is suitable, if not a little dragging. Prior to chasing down Romeo, Jesse and the group have to plan out a fireworks show in order to sneak Jesse to the primary terminal.

Fortunately, not a lot of time is spent dealing with this distraction and the episode then reaches the pinnacle of the season. The ensuing boss fight between Jesse and Romeo is brilliant and wages across different stages and worlds, with the Admin disguised as different characters. It is a rather fitting end that throws up an important decision at the end, which has the capacity to shape future episodes in subsequent Telltale Minecraft seasons. Of course, many other decisions that were previously made get some sort of pay-offs, although retrospectively it waters down those decisions in a way that shows how the season was always going to end, regardless of the earlier choices.

Screenshot for Minecraft: Story Mode Season Two - Episode 5: Above and Beyond on Xbox One

Due to how short the episode is, it is the most compact and better-paced episode of the season. With a great mixture of QTE events, fight sequences, dialogue exposition scenes, and the ending sequence to wrap up, no sequence feels like it has gone on for too long. While there is one puzzle towards the end that could have provided better "signs" to solve an otherwise difficult-to-work-out sequence, the pacing rarely stutters at all. Telltale's animation issues and choppy audio cuts still make their way in, which is unfortunate, though, and is another sign that its own gaming engine needs a bit of a redesign or overhaul to ensure these issues do not persist in subsequent releases.

All the characters reach some sort of resolution to their arcs, although some make more sense than others. Radar's is by the far the best and most enjoyable arc to follow, from his timid beginnings into his confidence and battle-hardened present. Petra's arc unfortunately does not seem to reach any sort of resolution, and she ends the season the same as how she began it, while Jesse has one ending that makes sense, while the other just creates more questions than answers.

Screenshot for Minecraft: Story Mode Season Two - Episode 5: Above and Beyond on Xbox One

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Minecraft: Story Mode Season Two - Episode 5: Above and Beyond reaches its epic conclusion as the great battle between Jesse and the evil Admin, Romeo, threatens to tear Beacontown apart. Featuring a shorter experience than previous episodes, this is also the most finely tuned one in terms of pacing, as the excitement ramps up from the opening credits right through to the eventual ending. While the decision-making in earlier episodes seems very watered down in retrospect, the final few choices mean that the next Minecraft season will need to answer plenty of questions, if Telltale does indeed go down that path.

Developer

Telltale

Publisher

Telltale

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

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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