Which brings us to Minecraft: Story Mode: Season Two, which is about the biggest surprise I've had all year. We've been promised continuations of other Telltale series, both good (Batman, coming later this year) and not-so-good (Game of Thrones, which, like its ink-and-paper grandfather, currently rots in limbo). But honestly, in the grand scheme of things, Minecraft: Story Mode has always settled somewhere in the middle and rarely made any sudden moves towards either pole. That is, until now. Minecraft: Story Mode: Season Two: Episode 1 - Hero in Residence is not very good.
I have nothing to add with regards to Minecraft: Story Mode's visuals, and considering Telltale hasn't done anything to change the art style (as they well should not have), the best I can do is reiterate its effectiveness. Which I can do, and gladly at that. You see, Minecraft has a very specific look. Everything is blocky and made up of simple color schemes, rendering its world with an instantly identifiable aesthetic that will never, ever be mistaken for that of any other property. Minecraft: Story Mode has the technicals squared away; practically no work is required on that front.
Instead, Telltale has to get creative with its world-building, and they've never really faltered on that front. I'm always surprised at the kinds of environments and scenarios they're able to come up with, and Episode 1 - Hero in Residence has some good ones, including a town that celebrates individuality to the point of garish extremes and a temple at the bottom of the sea. However, one aspect of the visuals really distracted me this time around: the lip syncing. I'm not dumb enough to expect Horizon: Zero Dawn-style motion-capture from anything with the Minecraft name stamped on it, but when the characters continue to move their mouths long after they're done speaking, leaving them hilariously agape and askew as if mid-syllable, I feel less like I'm playing a narrative adventure and more like I'm watching a bad Japanese monster movie.
Sound design is largely unchanged between seasons, thus far. Patton Oswalt and Catherine Taber reprise their role(s) as Jesse's male and female variants, respectively, and they clearly haven't forgotten the proper notes. Ashley Johnson returns as Petra, and she's as delightful as ever, despite what the writers are doing with her character. Gone from the action are Martha Plimpton, Brian Posehn (unless he's uncredited), and Paul Reubens, whose character is conveniently removed from the action, Lois-Lane-in-Superman III-style. It's not a deal-breaker. Just a curiosity.
Antimo and Welles return with more generally lovely minimalist compositions for the soundtrack, and a few of last season's tunes make it back in, with new dimensions to them -- I'll let you discover that for yourself, should you decide to gamble on this season panning out satisfactorily.