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

Score: 87%
ESRB: Everyone 10+
Publisher: Telltale Games
Developer: Telltale Games
Media: Download/1
Players: 1; 2 - 12 (Crowd Play)
Genre: Adventure

Graphics & Sound:

Minecraft: Story Mode: Season Two: Episode 1 - Hero in Residence kicks off another season of fun following Jesse and the Order of the Stone. Having already run through two major story arcs with the Order, players who completed Season One and its follow-up DLC should have a good idea of what to expect in Season Two. If possible, you will want to import your choices from that first game, as Telltale is known for adding personal touches to the evolving story based on your past decisions. If you are new to Minecraft: Story Mode, then Season Two is a still a good place to jump in, since Hero in Residence starts off a new adventure with new perils and friends.

As before, Minecraft: Story Mode easily captures the blocky style of Minecraft. All of the blocks that make up the world, the look of the animals, mobs and even people, look to have come from Minecraft itself. Since Telltale was able to capture that look for the First Season's round of episodes, that should be no surprise.

Music and voices also come through nicely in Season Two. For the most part, the background music is low and out of the way, but it does kick up during the game's action sequences and it always feels appropriate to the setting. Many of the voice actors return for this newest season. These include Patton Oswalt (Ratatouille, The King of Queens, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) and Catherine Taber (Star Wars: The Clone Wars) as the male and female versions of Jesse, Ashley Johnson (Blindspot, What Women Want, The Last of Us, Tales from the Borderlands) as Petra, and Scott Porter (Friday Night Lights, Hart of Dixie) as Lukas. While the voices of Axel (Brian Posehn, The Sarah Silverman Program) and Olivia (Martha Plimpton, Goonies, The Real O'Neals) aren't the same as in season one, they also have a fairly small role in this first episode, so the difference doesn't feel too drastic in the overall scheme of things.


After the events of the Witherstorm and the adventures down the hall of portals, Jesse and friends have built up quite a reputation. By the time Minecraft: Story Mode: Season Two: Episode 1 - Hero in Residence starts, Jesse, Axel and Olivia each preside over their own town, and are called upon frequently to help with that town's daily runnings. While Axel and Olivia quickly leave the scene to go help Boom Town and Redstonia prepare for Founders Day, Jesse is asked to go meet Petra at the mine entrance in order to help the friend in a new adventure.

While the mission Petra has in mind isn't the stuff of legends like Jesse and the Order of the Stone is used to, it does lead to the discovery of a strange cavern with a Prismarine Gauntlet displayed on a pedestal. Naturally, the gauntlet calls to Jesse and then firmly attaches itself to the hero. When the cavern starts to break apart and open up into what the duo term a heckmouth, they seek the help of a local famed adventurer, Jack, to learn more about prismarine and how to remove the gauntlet and seal the expanding heckmouth.

Jack, along with his villager friend, Nurm take Jesse and Petra to a underwater temple where the group will encounter a whole new slew of problems, puzzles and mobs. The question is, will they find what they need at the end of their adventure to seal the heckmouth forever, and is there any validity behind the legend of the Admin that Nurm keeps bringing up.

Telltale does a great job of expanding their game engine over the course of their various titles, and then incorporating those added features in each new game. For instance, Batman introduced crowd-play that allows others to watch the gameplay and vote for the choices they want the player to make. That feature was added to The Walking Dead: A New Frontier and is now evident in Minecraft: Story Mode: Season Two. One feature added to Story Mode that works well and will hopefully be seen in future Telltale games is an actual combat system.

Where Telltale typically handles action sequences through quick-time events, this time around you get to actually control Jesse and dodge attacks, maneuver around mobs, and swing a sword around to deal damage. While not all of the quick-time events have been replaced with the more interactive combat system, there is a noticeable pace difference between combat in Minecraft: Story Mode: Season Two and any previous Telltale adventure game. It will be interesting to see how this change is used in the company's upcoming titles like The Wolf Among Us: Season Two and Batman: Season Two.


While Minecraft: Story Mode: Season Two: Episode 1 - Hero in Residence's addition of combat ups the difficulty some over the quick-time events of past games, those fights aren't going to keep anyone from progressing too much. You are given plenty of health and the enemies are spaced out in such a way that even younger players shouldn't find the task of taking down the opposing forces any harder than, well, than you would in a normal game of Minecraft. In fact, it's pretty obvious that the developers took care to simulate Minecraft's combat mechanics, and as a result, those who take out zombies in that game should be able to easily do likewise in this one.

Usually the difficulty in a Telltale game comes from the choices the player is forced to make, and while there are some that should cause some interesting ripples down the way, there didn't really seem to be any in this first episode that look like they will leave the story drastically different one way or another. Even when forced to save companions in peril, the resulting consequences don't seem to be anything more than some bruises, both physical and emotional, but even those are light. I don't really see any lasting consequences coming from that particular choice. Then again, the season is young and there are still four episodes left to see how everything will play out.

Game Mechanics:

Besides the addition of Minecraft-like combat, Minecraft: Story Mode: Season Two: Episode 1 - Hero in Residence also gives players a chance early on to freely build something for one of the residents of Beacon Town. You are given an inventory of materials and a nice-sized area to work in and you can build pretty much whatever you want with those tools you have in hand. While this was the only example of free-building in the episode, hopefully there will be other opportunities to add your own personal touches to the world in later installments. Couple that with more crafting table exercises and the combat changes and there are more details in Season Two already designed to sell the overall Minecraft feel.

While Minecraft: Story Mode is primarily targeted towards existing Minecraft fans, a player base that is generally considered on the younger side of the spectrum, Season Two still promises to weave an interesting story that adventure fans who like Telltale's style of gameplay should enjoy.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

Minimum System Requirements:

Windows 7 64Bit Service Pack 1 or higher, Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz, 3 GB RAM, Nvidia GTS 450+ with 1024MB+ VRAM (excluding GT) Intel HD Graphics 4000+ Graphics Card, DirectX Version 11, 10 GB available hard drive space, Direct X 11 sound device

Test System:

Intel Core i7-3820 CPU @ 3.60GHz, 16 GB dual-channel DDR3,Windows 10 Home 64 bit, Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 (4GB)

Related Links:

Microsoft Xbox One Minecraft: Story Mode: Season Two: Episode 1 - Hero in Residence Android Galaxy of Pen and Paper

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated