REVIEW: MINECRAFT EPISODE 1 ‘THE ORDER OF THE STONE’

Minecraft Story Mode is an ongoing episodic Point and Click adventure which has been based on the Block Crafting and Survival mega hit Minecraft. It has been both Developed and Published by Telltale Games who have given us such hit games as The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones and The Wolf Among Us which are all games that have been widely accepted and overwhelmingly positive. They have also been down right fun!

So Minecraft Story Mode doesn’t change much of the Telltale games formula and why should it? The formula they have been using has been working, they are incredibly good at putting you into a world, a world with backstory and great characters that you have come to know and love but I have to say that I am even more impressed by their progression and attention to detail in this. They didn’t have a world to take a basic idea from, they just had a game. Minecraft doesn’t have a set world or even a lot of Cannon so they really were working from the ground up on this one and they have done an amazing job.

Minecraft 1

The graphics are exactly what you would expect from a Minecraft Inspired game. There were times with some of the more cinematic shots that I completely forgot I was playing a Telltale Game and not just playing Minecraft. All of the objects in the world are exactly as they would be in Minecraft, from appearance to shading. The only thing that is different is the animation of the characters and animals in the world which obviously needed to happen otherwise it would be much of an interesting point and click adventure. You get to see a lot of different Minecraft scenery in this game, from the Overworld to the Nether which was all done very well.

Now I played a lot of Minecraft a few years back, made some worlds with my friends and also on my own but I haven’t really been keeping up with some of the cool new stuff that’s been added. I was very impressed when after 10 minutes of playing this game it felt as if I had never left. You aren’t just playing a Telltale game here you are also playing a game of Minecraft which I thought would have been hard to replicate but they have done an amazing job.

The story of the game is very well designed and begins with you hearing some backstory about the world that you inhabit. The story goes along the lines of a journey between some heroes who go out to fight a dragon and take their place in the history books. All very well designed and well voice acted as well. From there you meet Jesse, Patton Oswalt or Catherine Taber depending on the gender you choose, and Jesse is seen to be a Newbie at Minecraft but is really passionate about the world and everything in it. You swiftly meet his Two friends Axel and Olivia and you get a real sense of companionship straight from the start and you also get to meet Rueben who is Jesse’s pet pig. The gang have conversations about what they are building at an up and coming convention which they have lost quite a few years in a row now.

Minecraft 2

The gameplay, like many other Telltale games, has little movement and a whole lot of QuickTime events. There are areas in which you can search around for different items or people to speak to and these are the slower paced parts of the game. The other areas mix between timed conversations with other characters or QuickTime combat events where you are running for your life or attacking some of the different creatures in the world. There is also some interesting crafting mechanics which can only be done at certain times but it’s very well introduced and used throughout.

All the enemies are there, from Zombies to Ghasts, and they are equally as annoying and horrifying. Unlike some of the other Telltale games which seem to put an emphasis on some more mature content such as killing off main characters of making very tough and sometimes impossible choices, this game settles for a more family friendly idea and the age rating is only a 12. This may put some audience members off but I assure you all the comedic factors that make it a Telltale game are still there.

There is one thing that bugs me about these games sometimes and its that there are some interactions with characters that they will remember for future which is great that it takes your choices and will have them in future games but why tell the audience? A little box comes up and says “X will remember that” and then I instantly sit there and think “Oh…..should I have said something different?” I feel it would make more of an impact to me if the character brought it up out of the blue without me having any prior knowledge about it. That would have made more of an impact on me.

Minecraft 3

The Audio in this game is amazing! Not only do all of the interactions have the original Minecraft sound such as placing blocks but the zombies, creepers and everything else have the correct noises and it really helps to create the world around you as does the BGM. All of the music I have heard has been absolutely amazing and really works with either the mood at the time of the scenery you find yourself in. The Audio Cues work very well and anything from the ambient noise to the full on sequential music does a very good job of keeping you interested and setting a mood.

All in all I have to say I’m very impressed not only with the Story of this Telltale Game but with the creation of a world, backstory and use of all existing material to create a very full first episode. I’ll be picking up the rest and I urge you to do the same, at the moment on Steam alone the game can be purchased for £18.99.

Rating: 9/10

+ Fantastic world creation

+ Solid voice acting

+ Great audio

+ Feels like you’re playing 2 games in 1

– Could do without the “X will remember that!”

CHRIS WALLACE

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