Two of the biggest gaming phenomenon from the past few years: Telltale’s revamped adventure games, and Minecraft. Splice them together and you’re bound to get success, and well you aren’t wrong. But you’re sure as hell not right.
(Just a heads up I’ve only played a portion of the first episode so this is with a huge asterisks of me not knowing much about it. Also a minor spoiler warning but again I didn’t even finish the first episode so it’s not too big of a deal but you’ve been warned. Okay? Okay.)
This is a weird entry in the long standing series of episodic Telltale adventure games. It’s both a return to form to the older comedic Telltale games like Sam & Max, Monkey Island, and Puzzle Agent(a personal favourite) while also being the first in a franchise that has really no story, in narrow-minded strict terms at least. They have to both keep with the theme of Minecraft while making it a linear story. Alright I’m just gonna say it why the FUCK isn’t this done in the theme of The Lego Movie?
Seriously! The opportunity was right there! They’re both large all encompassing franchises with little original content emphasising creativity on the part of the player! The Lego Movie was a hilarious blast and definitely worth watching to both young and older audiences but the most important thing is that it made a great relatable theme of creativity and teamwork that is integral to Lego toys. The movie had all the franchises that have been Lego-ified and lego is one of the largest toy companies especially with all the other big companies not wanting their IP defaced and against all odds it was one of the most heartfelt movies I’ve ever seen. Minecraft: Story Mode has no reason why it shouldn’t be as heartfelt and imaginative as The Lego Movie.
Before I go on and say what is wrong with Minecraft: Story Mode I wanna just say that it is in no way an unenjoyable experience. I was surprised to hear Patton Oswalt who is really a delight. The characters I have met are funny to hear banter and fun to just be around. It’s a very fun happy game. I have shortcomings with the comedy but it’s good, in a more family game that I can actually see a family playing. Any acclaim it has it usually deserves(I do dislike a lot of it as the comedy just feels like YouTube but worse? It’s hard to explain but some people like that kinda comedy I don’t judge). It will be a successful game and I’m glad Telltale is still very good at what they do.
Okay back to its faults.
The thing is that Minecraft: Story Mode kinda puts two really neat premises into one half baked execution. There’s this whole big opening cinematic establishing the lore of this world with these big heroes that went to The End and slayed the dragon etc. Besides the obvious complaint of it being generic is that it’s a very unnecessary lore? Minecraft is already so wildly deep and vast that players have been making in game jokes and lore for it for years now. Back to The Lego Movie comparison, many real world objects appear in it that are the same size and are commonly associated with Legos, like the Kragle.
Again it’s too early to really say they aren’t leading up to it actually being a server all along but really any twists in that fashion would be worse if said after the fact. Having a series with factions of different types of players on a server would have been much more interesting. The PvP obsessed, the people with absurdly complex redstone creations, the dedicated dozens working on a Golden Gate Bridge replica... Minecraft already has a very in depth fanbase why did Telltale have to make up their lore? At the very least make a joke about Herobrine. The updates for Minecraft have always seemed to poke fun at the players showing the creators were listening and really part of the community with update patches saying they’ve removed Herobrine and so on and the new Minecraft: Story Mode lacks that really. Well except the other idea they poorly executed on.
You see the episode starts with Jesse and his friends going to Endercon a convention for builders. I’d explain more but that’s about it. They build stuff in a competition and there’s a panel with one of the famous guys mentioned earlier. I had to stop when you really see the festival but it was just weirdly out of place.
There is redstone contraptions and all that but the Minecraft world in general is relatively primitive and the world with the lore they establish in this game is also very generic fantasy medieval setting. But the character designs and speech is a bit more steampunk or modern? And the Endercon thing is really modern? The whole game has a bit of an identity crisis.
It doesn’t go for the whole meta-narrative like The Lego Movie but it has the weird out of place mild commentary on cons. But it also doesn’t go for the Minecraft lore the fans have made. But it also doesn’t stick to its own lore? It’s certainly not an un-enjoyable game or even a bad one it just fails to live up to the crazy expectations I have after The Lego Movie.