‘Um..excuse me but, speaking for the group…you guys know a llama?’
The first episode of the new season of Minecraft Story Mode was somewhat of a disappointment. The story wasn’t engaging, the new characters were frustrating and annoying and the whole thing didn’t really work. I’ve said it a hundred times in TellTale reviews in the past but the first episode of the season is usually always its weakest, and as such the seasons tends to get stronger as they continue. Ergo, I remained optimistic for Episode 2.
I’m glad I did, ‘Giant Consequences’ is a far more cohesive, fun experience, even if it still isn’t completely essential.
Picking up right where ‘Hero in Residence’ left off, Beactontown has a rather unwelcome visitor in the form of the Admin, a giant lifeform which summoned Jesse to the sea temple. His escape means bad things for the town and as such, the episode wastes no time in showcasing just how powerful he is. He’s after Jesse and will go through any building or person it takes to bring him down, even destroying the memorial built for Jesse’s fallen companion, Reuben from Season One (RIP dude, I liked you).
What naturally follows is a series of TellTale QTE’s that involve little more than moving left and moving right. As The Admin turns day into night and Creepers descend on Beacontown, there’s little you can do to avoid the destruction of the town and you just have to endure the dialogue between Jesse and The Admin, with enduring being the important word here. The sequence is weak and it’s the greatest of starts for the episode, which had me concerned. Fortunately, the story shifts into gear once again with the return of Lucas from Season One, and before you know it The Admin has disappeared after a clinical attack from Jesse. It all seemed rather underwhelming due to the cliffhanger of Ep.1 being that The Admin was ready to tear Beacontown to pieces but it doesn’t really go anywhere. Resolutions and consequences ripple through the episode from this, but the showdown fizzled out with little to no fanfare.
What are the consequences of Jesse’s actions? Well bad things, naturally. Poor guy can’t catch a break.
Beacontown has been doomed unto an eternal winter, and are told the gang must destroy a clock which can control time in order to restore the town back to peace. Naturally, the majority of these adventurers are up for the challenge, along with Radar, Jesse’s assistant, who is slowly turning into one of my favourite characters across both seasons. His determination to prove himself to Jesse and be part of the gang is admirable and fun to watch, and makes him one of the better additions to the group this season.
Without wanting to spoil anything, the gang find themselves having to work out puzzles and fight off dastardly enemies in order to progress through, and here-in lies the more exciting elements of the episode. It’s here we can see the relationships building between the characters there are plenty of fun moments to be had, including a segment where you need to win at a shooting gallery in order to continue through to the end game, where some tough decisions have to be made and a smattering of revelations will make you wonder why you didn’t see some of it coming all the way through.
What does put me off Episode 2 somewhat is the weird darkness of it all. The grittiness of Season Two is almost counter-productive to what Minecraft should be. All this destruction and bleakness is bizarre in a world that’s literally built around positive creativity. There are moments of light and there are sections of the dialogue which are chuckle-worthy, but you have to wonder if going down this darker road with the gang is really such a good idea. If you can consider for a moment just how popular this series is and how it pretty much outsold everything last Christmas, do they really need to challenge their audience? Gamers a fickle bunch, It seems that challenging an audience seems unnecessary when they’re already in the palm of your hand.
Still, this is a grand improvement on the first episode if not TellTale at their absolute best. The characters are starting to blend rather well together and it’s always a delight hanging with Petra, who is and probably always will be the standout character in this whole world. There are some tough choices to be made and terrific environments make the whole thing look beautiful. They’re really upping their Minecraft skills this year, that’s for sure.
It’s worrying me that they seem to be resting on their laurels rather than ensuring their quality remains intact. With the sheer amount of franchises and licenses they have at their feet, are they really pushing all of them into ‘Walking Dead’, ‘Tales from the Borderlands’ territory? TellTale have spectacular developers who I admire greatly, my worry is their quest for the almighty dollar has blinkered their quality approval. As a development team, they’re better than their recent output and they probably know it, too. Don’t even get me started on Guardians.
‘Giant Consequences is stronger than Ep.1, but it’s not going to blow anyone’s mind.
Minecraft Story Mode Season Two Episode Two – Giant Consequences is now available on Xbox One, PS4 (reviewed), iOS, Android, PC
Developer: TellTale Games
Publisher: TellTale Games
Disclaimer: In order to complete this review, we were provided with a review code from the publisher. For our full review policy, please go here.