Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Minecraft Story Mode: PS4 Review

Minecraft Story Mode: PS4 Review

Platform: PS4
Released by Telltale Games

How do you make a story from a game that's all about building things and isn't really character led?

Well, the answer is you give it to Point and click decision maestros Telltale Games and let them build a world around a world that's about building a world.

Charming and packed with blocky heart, the first two episodes of Minecraft Story Mode have dropped and see Telltale Games injecting Mojang's world with a decision based narrative which can be played at all levels.

From choosing your lead (female or male) as Jesse (who in male form is wonderfully voiced by Patton Oswalt), you set out on a journey to Endercon with your two friends and trusty pig. It's a gathering of the world's inhabitants where a prize is given to the best builders, and Jesse's determined to win. However, those plans are thwarted when she/ he gets involved in the unleashing of a witherstorm which threatens the world they all live in - now it's up to Jesse and the gang to save the day.

Episode 1, The Order of The Stone, is a gentle introduction to the world of Minecraft, which is likely to resonate with fans of the game even more with its mentions of the Nether, the Wither, Creepers and Zombies. But it's a light start to the adventure, complete with a QTE training montage and building efforts that make you smile rather than panic over your decision making. Sure, there are moments that have consequences, but the overall feel of this piece is of set-up, and it works well.

Episode 2, Assembly Required, sees things take a darker turn and sees actual consequences have effect in a real way with the start of the episode being served up differently. More characters are added and the events start to build in a cataclysmic way that feels organic rather than forced.

Graphically, Minecraft Story Mode is joyous. It's still the blocks you love and know from the Mojang game, but they are colourful and beautifully executed, with blocky charm above all else. But it's the voice acting that makes this game; Patton Oswalt's delivery certainly has flair and charm, as the themes of bullying, competitiveness and coming of age are all dispatched in this Telltale's latest.

Ultimately, Minecraft Story Mode is building something charming. Whether it has the emotional resonance that other titles have hit remains yet to be seen, but based on the character and charisma, it seems likely that this blocky tale could see them reach the classic heights of their other episodic series.


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