Minecraft is the latest franchise Telltale Games has taken on in its episodic style game series. I have to admit I have only tried Minecraft a few times and have never really jumped in fully so it was interesting to see Telltale take a game that really isn’t known for having a narrative and creating an experience that tells a story. Minecraft is simple and has proved to appeal to adults and children alike. Available on consoles, PCs, and mobile devices, there are plenty of ways to play it.
Telltale is known for creating episodic point-and-click adventure games, such as The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones and Borderlands. The first episode in this series is called The Order of the Stone. You start the game by selecting your character. You can play as a male or female, who is called Jesse. You, as Jesse, and your friends travel to EnderCon hoping to finally win the building competition and secure a spot in being able to meet Gabriel, Warrior of the legendary The Order of the Stone. But everything isn’t as it seems and you run into Ivor.
I enjoyed how the first episode is broken into different segments that not only move the narrative forward, but also changes up gameplay. The story at first didn’t really seem that interesting but by the end of the first episode things really start to ramp up and we get to see some character development. Of course, at the end of the episode you’ll see how your choices stacked up against everyone else who played. Find out how the choices you made stacked up against others who played. This is nice as it adds replayability to the game. I have only really played the first season of The Walking Dead and wasn’t sure how long the first episode would take me. I ended up completing it in around ninety minutes, which is comparable to a kids film.
I haven’t really been enticed to play Minecraft in the past, but I’m pleased to have started my journey with Minecraft Story Mode and I can see it increasing sales on the already outstandingly massive sales of Minecraft. I think that Mojang and Telltale have done a fantastic job of creating an experience that reflects both Telltale’s formula of gameplay and Minecraft’s style very well. You start off with an intro sequence, and then every so often you’re tasked with choosing a conversation response to move the story along. Be careful how you answer, as it will affect the choices you make and the story going forward.
The choices you make impact what happens later in the game, this is another good way to add replayability to a game. Those conversation choices often translate into story direction choices, as with past Telltale games.
The gameplay is mixed and keeps things interesting by adding action sequences, where you evade obstacles and encounter enemies. The only challenge The Order of the Stone does present is in quick time events and dialogue options. One of my favourite things taken from the Minecraft game was the ability to collect items, which give you the chance to craft items that will help you advance through the story. The recipe menu helps you do this so its never too challenging. Telltale games have often had criticism for bad frame rate and stuttering but that’s not the case here, at least with my experience.
The overall style stays true to the Minecraft game and looks bright and vibrant. I think that it will appeal to both kids and adults as I certainly enjoyed it and it feels like it’s a Telltale game that has kids in mind. Minecraft: Story Mode looks, feels, and plays like Minecraft. The blocky Minecraft graphics suit the story well, and the world settings will be more than familiar for those who have played Minecraft before. The game looks exactly like Minecraft, and is thus successfully faithful to the source material. The sound in the game has also clearly stayed close in style to the original game. The sounds are all very familiar and help add to the overall experience. I loved the voice acting in this game. Patton Oswalt voices Jesse, Brian Posehn as Axel, Ashley Johnson as Petra, Scott Porter as Lukas and many others.
Overall this series is off to a fantastic start. Telltale and Mojang have partnered well to produce a nice evolution of the Minecraft franchise. The story starts slow but leaves you wanting more by the end of The Order of the Stone. The gameplay is simple and easy to get a grasp of if your new to this style of gaming. The overall presentation stays true to the world of Minecraft and was a fun game to play. Minecraft: Story Mode – Episode 1: The Order of the Stone is a charming game full of vibrant environments and unique characters that can be enjoyed by both kids and adults. Bring on episode 2!
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