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Minecraft: Story Mode - Episode 8 : A Journey's End?
Score: 80%
Publisher: Telltale Games
Developer: Telltale Games
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Adventure

Introduction:

With a title like Minecraft: Story Mode Ė Episode 8: A Journeyís End?, itís hard to know exactly how to feel. And for as long as that title is, itís hilarious that one single character threatens to undermine the whole thing. While itís impossible to say at this point whether or not that pesky question mark means anything, I can definitely say that this stretch of episodes, along with the narrative thread tying them together, is unambiguously brought to a close. Itís not particularly heavy on resolution, but it isnít the conga line of cowardly, manipulative cop-outs that ended Telltaleís first season of Game of Thrones. However, as a whole, the episode is a solid, mostly satisfying conclusion to the scattershot tale begun in Episode 5: Order Up!.

One More Portal:

Minecraft: Story Mode - Episode 8: A Journeyís End? picks up where Episode 7: Access Denied left off, with our heroes looking up an enormous staircase at the end of the Portal Hallway. Their new friend, an Old Builder named Harper, claims that the portal at the top of the stairs is where our heroes can find the means with which they can return to their world. Suffice to say, things donít go exactly as planned, otherwise this would be a really short episode.

Are You Not Entertained?:

Jesse and company find themselves in a world run by three Old Builders who just so happen to be Harperís ex-colleagues. And in keeping with the pattern established by the last three episodes (and with one notable exception), theyíre total jerkasses. Populating this realm are regular people, who, for some reason or another, have found themselves at the whim of the smarmy Hadrian, the brown-nosing Mevia, and the bookish Otto. And it just so happens that Hadrian is in the possession of the Atlas, the very artifact that could bring Jesse and his friends home.

It turns out, the Old Builders run a series of rigged gladiatorial games. Those who wish to return home must compete and win. Those who fail are respawned and sent to work in the quartz mines. Itís up to Jesse to rally the teams, break their chains, and cast down their oppressors. Minecraft: Story Mode has surprised me in the past, particularly in Episode 6, so the thematic shift isnít terribly shocking.


The Final Verdict:

If the eight episodes of Minecraft: Story Mode constitute a season at all, then you can consider the entire endeavor a worthwhile but inconsistent one. Its lack of narrative cohesion between the first and second halves is extremely jarring, especially when you leave the serial dramedy of the first halfís Wither Storm story and are thrust into the loosely connected Saturday morning cartoons that make up the Portal Hallway story.

Itís probably unfair to call out Minecraft: Story Mode for its relative lack of literary ambition; not every series has to be The Walking Dead, Tales from the Borderlands, or Batman. Telltale games are escapism, and at that, Minecraft: Story Mode is a resounding success. And I want more of it.


-FenixDown, GameVortex Communications
AKA Jon Carlos

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Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated