Minecraft: Story Mode Season 2 – Episode 4 on PC
Minecraft: Story Mode continues to surprise with each episode release. While I continue to be skeptical of the weight of my “major” decisions and the “Your Story Changes” notification tab that pops up on screen whenever you respond in a certain way, writing Telltale continues to shine with the way the characters develop and evolve. as the plot rushes to its conclusion. With the penultimate episode, titled Under the Bedrock, Minecraft: Story Mode set the stage for its finale, and it’s been an entertaining and heartbreaking journey so far.
Kicking off with the escape from the Sunshine Institute, Jesse and his team meet Xara, the mysterious Prisoner X who forced us to make a very difficult choice at the end of the last episode. After revealing her connection to the evil admin, who we now know as Romeo, and their deceased friend Fred, it’s up to her to build a portal that will bring our heroes back to the surface and put an end to the plans for domination. world of Romeo. once for all. Story progression in Episode 4 is slow as we mostly care about finding the tools we need to help Xara build the portal, but it also buys us time to learn more about the directors and the friendship between them three.
As always, Minecraft: Story Mode is peppered with humorous writing, and Under the Bedrock continues that trend with a particularly silly segment where Jesse had to win a quiz contest about Fred’s personality before she could enter his house. to find a weapon to defeat Romeo with . As we saw in the previous episode, the world under the bedrock is quite dark and gloomy. It’s basically been torn to shreds, and its inhabitants haven’t seen the light of day for years. And yet, they make do with what they have, like having fun with banal quizzes every day.
The theme of friendship continues in this episode, and Minecraft: Story Mode finally reveals the central message of this season. Drawing parallels between the three directors’ friendship and Jesse’s own New Order of the Stone, players wonder what it really means to have a close bond. It’s been apparent from the start of Episode 1 that Jesse and his friends have gone their separate ways. Aside from Petra, who continues to desperately try to keep the group together, everyone has their own lives elsewhere, and no one really has time to adventure like before. And how far would you go to try to preserve this bond? What if it ended up completely destroying your friendship?
Petra begins to ask herself these questions, and she wonders if she may have tried too hard to keep everyone together. Over the past three episodes, I made a conscious effort to get Jesse to reassure Petra that even though everyone had broken up, that didn’t mean they weren’t friends anymore. My Jesse encouraged her to find something she was passionate about and pursue that as well. Because, well, that’s how things work in real life. School friends don’t stay together forever, but that doesn’t mean the connection would be broken so easily. And yet, when Petra finally achieved that realization in my game, it was a bittersweet moment to watch her have that kind of “coming of age” moment.
Petra isn’t the only character to get substantial growth in this episode. Radar, who actively tried to grow braver and bolder over the course of the adventure, finally blossoms as a reliable hero. Considering we only have one episode left, it stands to reason that we should see our characters finally reach a satisfying level of maturity before heading into the final showdown. However, not everything is as pleasant as it seems. Minecraft: Story Mode still has some tough decisions to make, and it does so again at the end of Episode 4.
While I really enjoyed the narrative of Under the Bedrock, the episode continued to suffer on the gameplay side. Although I’ve always thought they were redundant, the series’ penchant for including segments where you can craft statues out of blocks seemed like a nice distraction for players who really liked the creativity that Minecraft offered. I’m not particularly creative myself, so I’ve often skipped these sections by building something completely mundane, or literally leaving a singular block on the crafting panel and amusedly watching the characters praise my sublime skills. in construction.
There are two instances in Below the Bedrock where Jesse is forced to build structures of sufficient quality to progress through the story. This was never enforced in previous installments, and this was the first time the stakes were really raised when it came to the crafting aspect of Minecraft. For science, I decided to see what would happen if I put minimal effort into these sections, and was deeply disappointed to see that the game just gives you a free pass no matter at how well or badly you did. While I understand that Telltale probably didn’t want the outcome of your story to be shaped by the ability to build things with blocks, it’s also somewhat upsetting that the game rewards you from a narrative standpoint for not practically do nothing at all.
The awkward “combat” also makes a return in this episode, and it’s especially annoying due to how often it appears. With a useless stamina bar, weird thumbstick controls, and a poorly implemented dodge mechanic, combat feels extremely heavy in Episode 4. I appreciate Telltale’s efforts to provide some diversity in gameplay, but those sections felt like a complete drag, and I wish I was much happier with a well-directed cutscene with QTEs instead.
Despite these minor complaints, Under the Bedrock is yet another fantastic installment in the surprisingly well-written series so far. Minecraft: Story Mode’s second season continues to feature some of the best writing I’ve ever seen in a Telltale game, and the final episode simply can’t come soon enough.
Rating: 4/5 – Excellent
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