Title: Minecraft: Story Mode – Order of the Stone
Version Tested: Wii U
Available On: Android, iOS, Microsoft Windows, OS X, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Developer: Telltale Games
Genre: Graphic Adventure
Official Site: https://www.telltalegames.com/minecraftstorymode/
Release Date: October 13, 2015
Where to Buy: Google Play, App Store, Amazon, PSN, Xbox Store, Wii U eShop, Steam, Microsoft Store, Local retailer
It doesn’t seem like very long ago that the internet was abuzz with people obsessing over a game called Minecraft Story Mode. The game has become beloved by many to the point of having a cult following. Telltale Games decided to roll out a story that takes place within this fictional world. Is Minecraft Story Mode worthy of being a standalone story in this beloved series?
I have never before played any game in the Minecraft series. This was my introduction to a series some of my friends had been pressuring me to join. While the game isn’t finished, its first episode, Order of the Stone, begins a story that has an epic feel to it. But is an epic story enough to make a quality game?
When you start playing Minecraft Story Mode you assume control of a character named Jesse (Patton Oswald or Catherine Taber) as he and friends Olivia (Martha Plimpton) and Axel (Brian Posehn) brainstorm something to build for an upcoming competition. As the group bands together they begin to learn more about each other and how well they work together.
The gameplay is heavily based on choices you make as the player. I played the episode multiple times to get a feel for what happens in polar opposite choices. The answer is not much, but there are some minor differences. The differences aren’t enough to make a different story but give it varying minor events. Minus one choice at the end, it’s unclear if these events only affect the current episode or if they affect the whole story. Even then, I’m fairly certain that the choice won’t make much of a difference in the end.
Story wise Minecraft Story Mode Order of the Stone starts off slow, I wasn’t really engaged until after the halfway point in the story and disaster had befallen the main characters. After the major turn of events, I was finally intrigued by the events that would unfold as the story progressed.
The gameplay of Minecraft Story Mode Order of the Stone felt slow and clunky when you weren’t crafting and making choices. It could be how the gameplay is designed on the Wii U gamepad as I have nothing to compare it against. Speaking of crafting, it is done so few times in the game it really isn’t memorable and you only choose the item you craft one time. While I chose to make the item I needed, the other item I could have crafted would have been humorous at best and I feel completely irrelevant. Maybe if I chose it for the sake of choosing it I would have been proven wrong. While some may have enjoyed the choice, I saw it as irrelevant.
One of the biggest frustrations I had with the gameplay was oftentimes the choices I made resulted in me being mean to my friends, even if the choice wasn’t worded in a way that came off rude or condescending. Maybe it was the intention of the creators over at Telltale, but I wasn’t a fan of being an unintentional jerk. Piggybacking off of what I previously mentioned about choices not making much of a difference, when I played through again I intentionally made different choices and still came off as a bad friend. It was frustrating.
Most of the characters that drive the story aren’t memorable and some feel as if they don’t actually serve any purpose. I reserve the right to change my stance later as the other episodes come out for the Wii U. The cast, however, is fantastic. On top of the actors I’ve already mentioned we have Dave Fennoy (The Walking Dead video game), Ashley Johnson (The Last of Us), Scott Porter (Batman: Arkham Knight), and Paul Reubens (Pee-wee’s Big Adventure). The cast adds some depth to the characters, even if the characters aren’t the best.
Minecraft isn’t known for its quality graphics and Order of the Stone was no exception to this. While I have never played the series before I found the blocky and pixelated graphics to be enjoyable. Call me old fashioned, but the pixelated graphics of old on newer video games always hold a special place in my heart. Maybe it’s the fact I grew up with those style of video games. Either way, graphically, Order of the Stone was visually appealing to me. It is easy to get lost in the beauty of the lifelike worlds we can create and it’s nice to journey back to older style graphics once in a while.
While Minecraft Story Mode Order of the Stone has its shortcomings they weren’t enough to hinder the rest of the game. I fully intend to play the other episodes in Minecraft: Story Mode as they come out. Overall Order of the Stone isn’t a bad introduction and if the depth of story is good enough for you then Order of the Stone is worth checking out. Also, for someone who has never played any game in the Minecraft series before I have every intention of diving into Minecraft now. Order of the Stone is no masterpiece by any means, but it’s enough to gain the interest of someone who’s avoided any games that are online multiplayer. I strongly encourage checking it out. Do you plan on checking it out? Have you already done so? Either way we would love to hear your thoughts on Telltale’s first chapter in Minecraft: Story Mode.
- Gameplay: The gameplay of the game has both good and bad aspects. The bad definitely don’t outweigh the good, but they’re still noticeable enough to detract from the experience.
- Graphics: The graphics aren’t the top of the line, but that’s intentional. The world is supposed to be blocks and pixels. And I’m glad they stuck to that formula.
- Sound: The sound in the game works well for the game. While the video is blocky, the audio is clear. Nothing sounds old or out of place and the music sets the appropriate tone for the scene. The sound effects only enhance what the music accomplishes.
- Presentation: Overall, the people who worked on and acted in the game enjoyed it. It has its issues but it’s still done well.
- Engrossing story
- All-star cast
- Great intro to Minecraft
- Slow beginning
- Character is often rude
- Choices don't always matter