Minecraft: Story Mode – Episode 3: The Last Place You Look

 

Review by · December 11, 2015

Positive thinking yields better results. This is a psychological finding firmly cemented in research, and a guiding principle in my life. After a lackluster second episode in Telltale’s most questionable release in years, Episode 3 quickly hit Steam “shelves.” Putting Episode 2 behind me, I re-entered the blocky domain that is Minecraft: Story Mode.

Predictability is suitable for children, and as I’ve established since my first episode review, Minecraft: Story Mode is clearly designed with youth in mind. Within that context, this is forgivable, though somewhat inappropriate for an adult audience. Although Episode 3 is predictable, the way in which these foreseen conflicts and hurdles present themselves — the delivery — is an improvement over Episode 2. That said, the structure of the plot cannot change too much now that Telltale has established a tone, atmosphere, and pacing, lest they create a disjointed narrative. While still weak, Episode 3 offers a fascinating new character and somewhat sophisticated take on the Minecraft universe, though this is being a little generous.

Following classic action tropes, the decisions I was faced with are Telltale staples and fit the target audience. The conclusions raise some questions with predictable answers, as the foreshadowing has been heavy-handed. Characters continue to speak regressively and solutions to problems are clearly child-centered. I’ve taken a rather hostile route in this playthrough, and while Minecraft: Story Mode isn’t going to teach an elementary school student why being a jerk is bad in some enlightened fashion, consequences for actions are clear.

With that in mind, this tale doesn’t seem to center too much around player choices, but once again, the personalized experience is in the dialogue, making this yet another “journey over destination” sort of excursion. I’ve made myself somewhat of an outsider in the game by being as rude and self-centered as possible, which has been reflected in how others treat me, yet during climactic situations, I’m still regarded as the leader and met with respect. This discontinuity is a challenge Telltale still hasn’t quite met with success in any of their releases.

Episode 3 plays, controls, looks, and sounds just like previous installments. Conflicts are well choreographed and the background and foreground interact well with minimal clipping. The voice actors continue to resuscitate the script and the controls continue to mimic the environment — blocky and rigid.

While Episode 3 improves on Episode 2 in terms of plausibility and points of interest, this is likely due to the structure of the script, and less about any conscious improvements Telltale has made, especially with regard to how quickly they put out Episode 3. We can hope that Episodes 4 and 5 are even better than this installment, but to make vast improvements would require changing the structure of the entire experience. That said, I’m going to remain hopeful, because that’s the key to happiness and enjoyment, and is there any other way to live?


Pros

Short, decent voice acting, slight improvement over Episode 2.

Cons

Simple, surface-level, clunky.

Bottom Line

Intended for kids.

Graphics
69
Sound
75
Gameplay
65
Control
70
Story
63
Overall Score 62
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Bob Richardson

Bob Richardson

Bob has been reviewing games at RPGFan since 2009. Over that period, he has grown in his understanding that games, their stories and characters, and the people we meet through them can enrich our lives and make us better people. He enjoys keeping up with budding scholarly research surrounding games and their benefits.