What is Minecraft: Story Mode - Season Two?
Minecraft Story Mode: Season Two is the next instalment in the story-driven Minecraft spin-off adventure. Taking place after the events of the eight episodes of Season One, Season Two sees you step into the shoes of protagonist Jesse and co once more, as yet another threat looms over the world, this time in the form of 'the Admin' - a whackjob who claims to have built the world as they know it. With new friends, new mysteries and more of the same winning story telling from the first season, Minecraft Story Mode is perfect for the Minecraft fan who wants a more structured alternative to the free-form creation of the original game.
How do you play Minecraft: Story Mode - Season Two?
The main thing to note about Minecraft Story Mode is that it's not all that similar to actual Minecraft - it's set in the same world, full of crafting and Creepers, but Story Mode is a game almost totally focused on its storytelling. The gameplay here mostly revolves around simply talking to other characters, and choosing how to reply to them, with the decisions you make often influencing the way the story plays out. Whether you're agreeing with one party member over another, settling disagreements over whether cake beats pumpkin pie, or choosing which group you want to go with when the paths in a dungeon split, depending on the choices you make, you can end up taking a different branch through the story, and see a different side of the tale.
Breaking up the dialogue and cutscenes are a handful of mini-games, from action oriented scenes, where you may need to fight off a hoard of zombies, dodging attacks and swinging your sword with X, to creation challenges that ask you to build something - like a statue for your town. Other sections involve "quick time event" challenges, as a controller button pops up on screen, and you need to press it quickly to avoid being stamped on by a stone Colossus, or duck down during a minecart ride. Occasionally, you'll have a bit more freedom to explore towns or dungeons, searching your surroundings for anything useful - for example, in one dungeon, you need to take on a shooting range before you can proceed, but need to find the materials for a bow and arrow first. Ransacking some nearby cobwebs for string and a dried up plant for sticks, you can craft a bow easily, before trying your hand at shooting down some targets.
How easy is Minecraft: Story Mode - Season Two to pick up and play?
Generally pretty easy going and simple, Minecraft Story Mode: Season Two has a gentle learning curve, as for the most part, all you'll be doing is choosing dialogue options. That said, the decisions you make are made against a strict time limit, as the game tries to encourage you to go with your gut reaction rather than overthink things. Likewise, the aforementioned sections where you need to press a particular button as it pops up on screen also require you to be quick off the mark - although should you miss it, or get the wrong button, you can retry as many times as you need. In fact, particularly in the case of the final boss fight against The Admin in Episode 5, should you fail to hit back his fireballs enough times, you'll stop taking damage at all, letting you complete the section with ease. What few puzzles there are aren't especially complex either, as most revolve around finding raw materials in your surroundings and using them to craft something useful; about the most taxing it gets is having to match up a pattern in some blocks to open a locked door.
While the dialogue itself is fully voiced and subtitled, what non-readers may struggle with is that your responses in the conversations, many of which will have far-reaching and unforeseen circumstances later on down the line, are not voiced. Instead, you have a limited time in which to choose from a list of options - and as the options you choose determines where the story goes, being a confident reader would be helpful.
- "But we're a team!"
- "Lord von Thunderpork VI"
- "WARNING: HECKMOUTH"
On the whole, Minecraft Story Mode: Season Two is pretty tame in terms of mature content - there's no bad language, no blood and gore and no sex scenes to speak of. Violence is limited to bashing highly stylised block-like monsters (zombies, stone golems, skeletons) with swords and fists, with enemies flashing when hit and disappearing in a puff of smoke when defeated. A handful of scenes show your companions coming to harm, albeit mostly implied - for example, a friend losing an eye in battle is shown first as a pixelated bruise and later replaced by an eye patch. One scene implies - cutting away at a key moment - that a number of pigs are slaughtered under the orders of the evil Admin, turned into pork chops you're then pretty much forced to eat shortly after.
Format Reviewed: Playstation 4