Picking Up The Pace

Game Informer

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The
premiere episode of Minecraft: Story Mode’s new season faced pacing issues, but
it effectively set up the rest of the season with an interesting antagonist
that rivaled the Wither Storm from the first season. With that in mind, I
looked ahead with curiosity on where the next entry would take Jesse and
friends, and this episode delivers on the promise of a threatening big bad, and
the improved pacing makes Minecraft: Story Mode’s aging formula as enjoyable as
it’s ever been.

By now,
veteran players of Telltale’s episodic adventures know what to expect; each
episode presents you with a series of scenes that have you complete quick-time
events, choose dialogue, and solve exploration-based puzzles. Along the way,
your choices loosely influence the way the story plays out. Minecraft: Story
Mode is no different. Giant Consequences is light on combat, but it makes up
for it with lots of quick-time events to capitalize on big set-pieces and a fun
shooting-gallery mini-game.

Early
on, you face off against a massive creature controlled by the Admin, a
seemingly omnipotent creature who is said to have built the world that Jesse
inhabits. The scale of this encounter is reminiscent of the climax of season
one, and the banter between Jesse and the Admin is entertaining. Hearing the
Admin recite parts of Jesse’s adventures from the first season is a sobering
reminder of just how powerful he is.

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Though
I was unsure of Jesse’s new party of adventurers for season two, I warmed up to
most of them throughout this episode. The delusional wannabe-rival character
Stella still irks me, but she’s supposed to. Characters like the gruff Jack and
the underdog Radar grew on me as their arcs matured and their charm shined
through. I liked watching the constantly doubted Radar overcome his fears to
try and prove the naysayers wrong. And while I don’t want to spoil anything, I
enjoyed a couple of the characters deliver some fun reveals near the end of
this episode.

The
first episode of this season introduced improved combat that added new elements
like dodge-rolls and a stamina bar, as well as a new way to craft entire
structures using the resources in your inventory on a grid-based platform. I
was delighted not only to see the structure I built in the first episode
reappear in Giant Consequences, but also the opportunity to build a new
structure that I hope will make an appearance in a future episode. By allowing
players to flex their creativity in new ways, Telltale is giving its Minecraft
series more of what made the masses fall in love with that property in the
first place, and helping to further differentiate it from its plethora of other
licensed series.

With a breakneck pace and
action-packed events, the sophomore episode of season two has me hoping that
the series can carry this momentum forward. Though I’m anticipating the typical
Telltale pattern where all your choices end up not making much of a difference at
the season’s conclusion, I’m at least enjoying the ride to that point.

Game Informer
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