Minecraft: Story Mode – Season Two: Giant Consequences
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.
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.