Review: Minecraft Story Mode: Episodes 1-5

Telltale’s take on Mojang’s cult classic block game came as a surprise.  At first it just didn’t sound like a good fit, but Telltale obviously knew what they were doing.

Unsurprisingly, the game feels very similar to Telltale’s other tales, most notably the Walking Dead series of games.  There are branching story threads and, yes, plenty of multiple choice conversations in which you need to get on the right side of other characters.

We get introduced to Jesse, a new character created specifically for the game, avoiding the use of Steve from the original Minecraft.  Jesse is entering Endercon, the Minecraft world’s building championship (and a possible parody of the real world Minecon) when things start to go wrong.  Cue an adventure with a lot of decision making, friends and enemies and even some actual building.

Episodes 1 to 4 focus on this story before diverting off in episode 5 to a self-contained adventure, preparing players for the recently announced next season.  Playing through the whole thing together is just as satisfying as waiting for each new part to release and although the story quality dips a little in the middle before picking up again towards the end.

In addition to the dialogue elements, Telltale have taken cues from the source game in creating both battle sections and building sections.  The quicktime battles are a little hit or miss (literally!) due to the controls feeling a little unresponsive when you really need to have good reactions.  Thankfully, the game is pretty forgiving in these parts and it’s possible to spam the attacks to get past them, but it does feel like a lost opportunity.  The building elements are more fun and fit the Minecraft material perfectly. As you’d imagine, they’re pretty basic, some requiring just one button, but where they give you more of a choice they’re a great change from the dialogue heavy sections.

Choices abound in this game, as they have in other Telltale adventures, and whole sections branch off from choices you make in Episode 1, so much so that going back to play it again becomes a necessity if you want to see the whole story.  This in itself may frustrate some, but I found it a great way to provide another reason to go back to the game once I’d completed the story.

This being a Telltale game, there are a few graphical glitches here and there. Nothing that really breaks the game, though.  When it does work, some of the locations are beautiful, providing nods to Minecraft lore and to the many Youtube videos that have grown up around the game.  They’ve really nailed the look while making the game look like a Telltale adventure at the same time.

While it loses its way in the early stages a little, playing through to the final episode provides a much better experience and bodes well for the next season of stories.

Minecraft Story Mode: Episodes 1-5

Minecraft Story Mode: Episodes 1-5
7.5

Overall

8/10

    Pros

    • Expands Minecraft lore
    • Great voice acting
    • Good story
    • Good use of branching options

    Cons

    • some episodes fall a little flat
    • a few glitches

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