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Monday, November 9, 2015

Review: Minecraft Story Mode - Episode 2: Assembly Required (Xbox One)


Telltale Games is very sneaky. A week after the launch of Minecraft: Story Mode's first episode, it suddenly launches episode two with no warning. Not that I'm complaining, as I enjoyed the first episode but felt it was more of a prologue than an entire episode, and all of a sudden I had more story. But would it be enough?

Related reading: Lindsay's review of Minecraft Story Mode - Episode 1: The Order of the Stone for Xbox One.

Minecraft: Story Mode - Episode 2: Assembly Required begins exactly where the prior episode left off, with Jesse having to reunite the Order of the Stone. Depending on which Order member you chose to track down, you'll travel with either Olivia (seeking Ellegaard) or Axel (seeking Magnus). This choice weighs heavily on how the episode plays out: Ellegaard and Magnus are located on different parts of the map.

While traveling to meet Magnus, I was surprised to learn he lived in a place called Boomtown. At first I though somehow the game had linked to my Minecraft account (which is completely nuts, I admit) as Boomtown is what I name any town/world that allows for it. Boomtown, luckily, has not yet been destroyed by the Wither let lose in episode one. It also holds a lot of action, which made up for the lack of it in the first episode. The credits rolled while in Boomtown, leading to some well-timed named being shown over explosions; Boomtown is named such for a reason, as Griefers like to make things explode. Yes, Minecraft Story Mode uses the same terminology that is used in Minecraft, which I found absolutely hilarious for some reason.


Unfortunately, the extra action in Episode 2 doesn't make up for several things. One, its runtime is about an hour, and that is not nearly enough for an entire episode. It's the first time I've encountered such a short episode from Telltale, and it was disappointing. Instead of the usual five chapters, Episode 2 has only three. Two, glitches are still everywhere, with some blocks showing blank/black sides instead of the proper texture. Third, the thing that drove me up the walls and had me ranting for hours: at one point, Jesse falls down a pit and can't get out. It doesn't sound mind-boggling, but every other time she has fallen down a hole she can build her way out. I do not understand why, all of a sudden, this wasn't allowed. Telltale needs to shape up with their consistency across episodes.

The voicework was, as always, astounding. I got to enjoy hearing a lot of Corey Feldman as Magnus, and Grey Griffin is added to the cast as Ellegaard. The humour is also very much apparent in this episode, although not as much as in the prior one. That could easily be attributed to the horrendous length of the episode, though.

While Episode 2: Assembly Required does build on some of the building blocks (ha) from the first episode, it is mostly a step down in terms of quality as well as quantity. I worry that the speed at which the episode was pushed out resulted in some graphical glitches that are not what you expect from a Telltale Games title. It was a solid effort, but mostly just a waste of time.


- Lindsay M.
News Editor


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Review: Minecraft Story Mode - Episode 2: Assembly Required (Xbox One)
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