Title: Minecraft: Story Mode – Season Two Episode Three: “Jailhouse Block”
Available On: PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Android, iOS
Developer: Telltale Games, Mojang
Publisher: Telltale Games
Genre: Adventure, Interactive Story
Official Site: https://telltale.com/series/minecraft-story-mode-season-2/
Release Date: September 19, 2017
Where To Buy: Steam, Xbox Live, PSN Network
So far in the 10 episode Journey of Jesse and his/her friends, we’ve seen a number of interesting takes on common scenarios, but set in the realm of Minecraft. From a Murder Mystery to a Sentient A.I. to Survival Games, Minecraft: Story Mode has managed to put unique spins on these ideas without making them seem like carbon copies of the stories they took inspiration from (Clue, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Battle Royal). The third episode of season two is no different, as “Jailhouse Block” sees a unique take on a prison break from the Admin’s Sunshine Institute.
Just like previous episodes, “Jailhouse Block” does a commendable job of introducing supporting characters for Jesse and the gang to converse with. The introduction of Prisoner X and the Warden make for interesting interactions with Jesse, but more importantly, add more mysterious backstories to uncover. Then there are the hilarious prisoners, Oxblood (who looks like Hellboy) and his Mooshroom Geoff, Zombie flesh lover Carmine, and of course the psychotic, Minecraft version of “Bob Ross,” Rob (Later, tater).
As much as I really enjoyed the story of Episode 3, I was a bit disappointed that there wasn’t more of the Admin. Since his introduction, the Admin has been one of my favorite characters, let alone villains, in recent memory. His concept alone in the Minecraft lore is brilliant and Meta, but his personality is maliciously fun too. Though he does show up, its only for a few minutes. “Jailhouse Block” did reveal a lot more information about the antagonist though, and continued to move the main story along well while sprinkling in the interesting side stories that made up the Sunshine Institute.
We even have a face to go alongside with the name, as it was revealed that The Admin’s true name is…Romeo. While it may be far less intimidating, it gives a peek at the end game. The goal has been set to strip the evil-doer of his powers, just like he did to his former friend turned prisoner Xara, aka Prisoner X.
Unsurprisingly, story has always been the most important part of the series, especially as a Telltale game. But episode three did something very important that every single episode in the series has failed to do thus far, and that’s adding varied combat. Even with the more free-flowing, dynamic combat that the newest season has introduced, each combat sequence has been relatively the same. Each fight usually involving Jesse defeating a few foes, without even really needing to dodge. This episode saw much more variety, especially in the sword fight with Petra/Jack and the Ghast confrontation.
The big decision that the game forced near the climax of the story was also one of the tougher ones I have ever had to make in a Telltale game. At first, I was elated to get to adventure to Prisoner X’s cell with my two favorite support characters. But when it came time to choose which one to save from the pressure plate trap set up by Xara, I had to step back and really think. Even then I still didn’t know if I had made the right decision.
While Telltale games are synonymous with framerate issues, Minecraft: Story Mode continues to run considerably smoothly, with only a few minor pixelated jumps here and there. I will say that there were a couple scenes that did have issues with continuity though. One second Radar would be right next to Jesse, then when Jesse immediately turns around and looks at the group standing on the other side, Radar was with them.
Speaking of Radar, the recent installment did a much better job of handling Yuri Lowenthal character this time around. Last episode saw the sidekick become a bit too grating and whiney for my taste, but Prison Radar did a solid job of winning me back over.
As the season passes its halfway point (unless DLC is announced) Minecraft: Story Mode is really firing on all cylinders. Consistently entertaining performances by new and old characters alike, intriguing side and main plot lines, and improved gameplay make “Jailhouse Block” another solid installment in the series.
Verdict: Minecraft: Story Mode continues to surprise when it comes to telling fun stories, especially after the rocky start the series saw just a few years ago. If you have enjoyed the series thus far, as well as the Admin storyline as much as I have, then you will no doubt enjoy the third episode of season two. Just like many previous episodes, the next installment can’t come soon enough.
- Unique story re-using old concepts
- Entertaining new characters
- Varied fight sequences
- Main decision was actually distressing
- Frame rate and scene continuity issues
- Needed more Admin