Moderate spoilers follow:
Minecraft: Story Mode – Season 2 is an episodic game with new episodes releasing monthly. Check out the review of episode 1 here.
Minecraft: Story Mode – Season 2 has modified its “monster of the month” formula, adapted in the latter parts of season 1 and incorporated it into the very nature of this season’s main antagonist: The Admin. More powerful than previously revealed, the Admin is a foe that has the power to change the nature of reality. Let’s see if developer Telltale Games uses this as a vehicle to both tell interesting single-episode stories while having an overall series arc, or if the Admin will indeed be dispatched prematurely.
The episode starts with a quick battle between Jesse and the Admin. Seemingly defeated, Jesse has addressed the damage that was caused between the fight with him and the Admin’s towering form. This is actually both one of the most “Minecraft” moments in the game and one of the most heartfelt ones. In a touching tribute to a fallen character from season 1, you are able to rebuild the monument to Reuben that has been stomped by the Admin. It’s a little like the monument building from the first episode, but more freedom to build and the subject matter make it a notably touching moment.
Though his giant form has been defeated, the Admin quickly reemerges, revealing himself to have power that was only previously hinted at. Using this power, the Admin threatens the inhabitants of Beacontown once again, thrusting Jesse into an adventure to save his city. Minecraft: Story Mode – Season 2 episode 1 changed up the normal rotating cast of characters from season 1, adding Lukas back into the roster of active adventurers. Also along for the ride is mousy assistant Radar on his first adventure. Series regular Petra comes along, too, with friends Jack and Vos – the adventurers introduced in episode 1. Even Stella, Jesse’s self-proclaimed rival turns up with Luna, her treasure sniffing llama, to add to the tension.
As for gameplay, there is one major puzzle set piece towards the end of the episode that is essentially a little crafting with a shooting gallery at the end. Unchallenging puzzles aren’t anything new to Minecraft: Story Mode, but what is new is the more dynamic and challenging combat. Episode 2 has a much higher emphasis on stamina management and dodging to dispatch foes. The combat portions aren’t impossibly hard, they’re just noticeable for being the most challenging thus far in Minecraft: Story Mode. The emphasis is by far still on story, though, as the combat is a very small part of this adventure game.
Of course, you can play episode 2 using Minecraft: Story Mode – Season Two’s Crowd Play option. This turns story mode into a social experience as everyone has a vote on what Jesse does and says. The player can choose to have the final say or let the crowd decide. Crowd Play is browser based – meaning that it can be played online through just a browser – no need to download an app.
Episode 2 is an important stepping stone for the season. With the fate of the group uncertain, and the Admin’s true power revealed, season 2 is shaping up to be very exciting. Hopefully developer Telltale keeps the story-wide arc with the Admin. He’s certainly a more charismatic, and therefore exciting, antagonist than season 1’s Witherstorm. Telltale looks like they’re crafting a solid tale with season 2. Look for episode 3 next month. Episodes 1 and 2 available now as part of Minecraft: Story Mode – Season 2. Play it on Windows, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, iOS and Android.