Minecraft: Story Mode Season Two - Episode 1: Hero in Residence - Xbox One Review

While I have long been a fan of the Telltale video games, Minecraft: Story Mode was probably my least favorite of their full season offerings to date. It got off to a slow start with a property that seemed somewhat ill-fitting to a narrative-heavy game. However, to its credit, I thought Story Mode got stronger near the end, finding some solid footing during the final chapter. I was hoping that momentum would carry over to Season Two, but Minecraft: Story Mode Season Two - Episode 1: Hero in Residence reminds me a lot of the first episode in the initial season's installment.

That is not to say that Hero in Residence is a bad offering, but it is not as great either. In fairness, I have come to accept that generally speaking, the two worst episodes in most of the Telltale games is going to be the first and the second to last. I suspect it is largely because those two episodes are faced with the daunting tasks of setting up and concluding most of the season's major story threads. That being said, Hero in Residence was still pretty rough around the edges for a kickoff chapter.

While this first episode tries to catch you up on the gist of the original season's events, if you have an interest in Season Two, you really should go ahead and play the first season. Still, Lucas serves the role of narrator, highlighting events for us right out of the gates before this misfit group of friends - well... goes about doing their own things. It is something of a stark contrast to how Season One opened up. There it was about friendship and bonds and doing their best to stick together through thick and thin as much as possible. Of course, things happened and they were at times forced to split up for periods of time, but in the end they found success through their willingness to work togther.

So fast forward to Hero in Residence, and it was almost a little jarring to see most of the gang off and out doing their own thing. Of course, as this group has a knack of doing, Jesse and Petra manage to stumble upon a new artifact. Jokes about the Infinity Gauntlet aside, this new glowing gauntlet helps to set the stage for what might be a very cool new villain. In fact, for the various things I found lacking (the episode dragged to start, and didn't fare a whole lot better in the middle, though it began to pick up at the end), I can appreciate the various plot points that Hero in Residence is trying to set up.

Right now there are just inklings really of what could come. You can potentially see strain on the party in the future. They've all been hardened to a degree by their prior adventures, and each one has a stronger sense of independence as a result - but it is not hard to imagine a scenario or two where this could lead to some arrogance and a character or two biting off more than they can chew as a result. Even their internal arguments somehow seem different, less serious right now. I am not sure how to read that - is that that they have matured and learned how to handle disagreements without matters turning into an all-out argument, or is that they have grown more distant and dispassionate with one another as a result? It is a little early to tell, and that is one of the problem with this episode for me. Just too many small things haven't fully found their footing in my opinion.

However, there are some quality improvements in the game itself. The video and audio are smooth, with the voice cast in particular standing out nicely with familiar returns from the likes of Ashley Johnson and Patton Oswalt. Combat has seen various improvements, which is great since it was so bulky and annoying in the initial title. Here you have some agility that allows moves like rolling improvement movement. Given the action/building nature of Minecraft itself, this is a good thing. Also, speaking of the building aspects, those are a bit more important in this first episode as well. Last season you could build a handful of things by either following formulas or simply hitting buttons as needed to advance parts of the story, but inclusion of a constructing a building partway through was actually a very nice nod to the source material.

It is clear that Minecraft: Story Mode Season Two - Episode 1: Hero in Residence has potential, especially if you are a fan of the original season. That was a series of games that my daughters both loved and played through multiple times, but it did not resonate quite so well with me. Perhaps Season Two will, but it clearly needs a bit more time to get things ramped up and ready to go. The cast of characters remains charming and you can see some potentially interesting story points coming up - we're just not quite there yet.

Game Information

Xbox One
Telltale Games
Telltale Games
Single Player
Other Platform(s):
Playstation 4
Xbox 360
Xbox One

Provided by Publisher

Article by Nick


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