The second episode of Minecraft: Story Mode doesn't live up to the precedent its forerunner set, as the script and storyline falter.
Minecraft: Story Mode burst into the open with a hot start, but the second episode has slowed down that progress.
The second episode of the five-part Minecraft: Story Mode is titled "Some Assembly Required," and was released Tuesday, Oct. 27. The issue here is developer Telltale Games didn't do quite enough of the assembly themselves.
The storyline follows Jesse as he tries to put the order of the stone back together. In this episode, he tried to round up one of the three missing members, but the story varies greatly from player to player.
Telltale Games puts a lot of choice in the player's hand, and these choice can alter the entire episode. At the end of episode one, the player can choose to find and retrieve Ellegard, the engineer, or Magnus, the demolition pro. That choice decides where Jesse will go in episode two, and the majority of the episode is shaped by that decision.
Essentially, that means there are two episodes rolled into one, but only one can be played during a single playthrough. But the extra work that goes into splitting the storyline might be the reason why the second episode is incredibly short. Whereas the first episode spanned more than two hours, this one lasted a little more than an hour.
Although I can appreciate the fact this gives one an incentive to play through the episode again, it makes the initial experience a very quick one that lacks substance.
The quality of the script writing dropped in this episode as well. The first episode featured quality writing and voice acting, this one feels more akin to a Disney Channel show, and some of the lines are cringeworthy.
There are moments where the script shines, however. In a few instances, the game makes nods to Minecraft tropes. For example, players who choose to find Magnus will have to work their way through Boom Town, filled with "griefers," a class of people that those who have played on public servers will know well.
The script even pokes its head around the fourth wall at one point. When Jesse challenges Magnus to a duel, Magnus asserts that he could beat the main character in "real life," to which Jesse quizzically asks what that is.
Aside from instances like those, the script falls flat. It's so bad that Telltale even uses the exact same "plot twist" that they used on the same voice actor's character in The Walking Dead: Season One's Gabriel Lee. There's a fine line between a nod to an old series and blatantly ripping off it.
At the beginning of this episode, I was excited and ready to dive in, but by the end, I was disappointed by the quality. Nonetheless, the story is set up well for the third episode, and with any luck, Telltale can right their course once again.