April 11, 2016

Minecraft Story Mode - Order Up - Review

It feels like it has been sometime since we left Jesse and crew after their defeat of the Witherstorm and becoming the new Order of the Stone, but Telltale promised a 5th chapter in the saga and it’s here and it delivered more punch in one episode than the rest did across four.

The adventures of Jesse, Axel, Petra and Olivia pick up months after the events of the fourth chapter, with the new Order of the Stone now making their way around the world discovering treasures and boosting their status as legends. After escaping from a temple, they run into Aiden and the rest of the Ocelots, now known as the Blaze Rods, who believe that the treasure found by the group is theirs and Jesse and his friends are doing all they can to stop Aiden from becoming the popular hero. After dealing with the Blaze Rods, they return home to inform Ivor of the treasure they found, which Ivor explains is linked to a treasure known as the Eversource, something that can create unlimited amounts of any material and after being joined up with by Lukas; Jesse, Petra, Ivor and Lukas set out to find the Eversource.

What helps set this episode apart from the other four is that the characters are already established, which helps cut back on all the exposition that is normally used, but the game does not worry about trying to explain everything anymore. In the first few chapters, each single element of the games world was explained, which slowed things down a lot, which resulted in a much slower paced experience, here the game just keeps moving. The new characters that are introduced, can be counted on one hand, but Aiden from the first chapter does experience the most character growth, with the new characters leaving an impression, just not a great one.

Gameplay wise, nothing has changed from the other episodes, or anything else made by Telltale of late, though this one finally introduces more crafting times than the rest have, which is kind of a big deal for anything set within the world of Minecraft. The game still suffers from wonky character movement controls and a very odd input selection tool, but moreover, it still has limited interactions with things. The big new location, Sky City is something that really looks cool, but your interactions with it border on the most minimal possible, with only a few non story related objects intractable.

One area that the chapter has improved upon is the visuals, the first four chapters really did stick to the look and feel of Minecraft, which is great, but here they were allowed to expand out more and it shows in a few choice moments. The biggest addition to the game is the lighting, with things like the lava now having a much more realistic glow to them, but character shadows are also more detailed, thanks to the improved lighting. Audially, things have been changed up with new music tracks, but nothing that really jumps out as anything special, the new characters have solid vocal performances, as do the returning cast, the rest of the world sounds just like Minecraft does, so fans will be able to connect things with ease.

Order Up is kicking off another grand adventure for Jesse and his friends, but as it does not have to spend time on explaining new characters or catching up on the story, things move a lot faster. Those picking up here won’t be left out, as very little about the first four chapters are mentioned and if Telltale keep the story going at this pace, things could get very interesting.

Thanks to Telltale Games for supplying the game for review

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