It is easy to tell that Telltale Games are masters of storytelling. It was one thing to adapt narrative-heavy stories into games -like The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, and Fables (A Wolf Among Us). But when they created a similar game for Borderlands (which was an action shooter), it showed that these folks had more than a great game engine for delivering point-and-click style episodic games, they really know how to tell a good tale. So saying that Minecraft Story Mode is a fun and compelling game to play from a narrative perspective should not be surprising at all. What is new this time, however, is that Telltale decides to go for a wholesome, family friendly story -and they get it right.
What is Minecraft Story Mode?
As the title suggests, this game is based on world-building game Minecraft. Players take the role of a new, gender-adaptive character named Jesse. In the game's story, Jesse (along with a small party of Minecraft playing friends), must embark on a quest to seek out legendary characters in order to save the in-game universe. The game takes the players on a massive adventure across many iconic Minecraft creations, has tons of references to the in-game (and mostly fan-made) lore, and shows visuals that are very screen accurate to the actual game.
With that said, this is not a good game to get started on the series. Even if you enjoyed the previous TT games before it, or the fact that the narrative is kind of self-explanatory, there is still a lot of content here that is hard to appreciate if you have never played Minecraft before. The fact that most of the characters that players encounter are the archetypes of Minecraft player types, or that certain locations are truly ‘magical' by virtue of being nearly impossible to reach, are details lost on new players.
Fine Tuned Story-Crafting
What makes Minecraft Story Mode such as impressive game is that it manages to respect the source material enough to keep fans of the series happy, but still have a compelling enough narrative to keep you interested. Minecraft, unlike other games, is a completely open world game. There is no pre-existing storyline as most of the game's legends and lore are non-official interpretations of the player community. That is some pretty vague stuff to work on -even Borderlands provides a good range of pre-existing characters, background details and other things you would consider important for making a good story. The story writers have kept a fair amount of distance from things that would detract from the actual Minecraft experience -which is also why the lead character is a completely new builder instead of the default “Steve” you would get from Minecraft.
Also, MSM differs from other Telltale games as it is obviously aimed at a much broader playing audience. This is a family game. While Jeese and the rest of the cast still go through some emotionally challenging struggles, none of the issues get to visual nor mature. So if you have been used to the usual high stakes dangers of The Walking Dead or the heavily adult themes of Borderlands or Game of Thrones, MSM will be a very refreshing change.
Excellent Build Up
Minecraft Story Mode is an excellent fairy tale for the modern age of gaming. It sets itself in a world that is already vastly familiar to its playerbase, allowing fans to easily feel immersed in the story. The voice acting is superb and gives an very rich sense of life into the world of Minecraft. Visually, the game sticks heavily to what you actually see in the game itself, which is a great thing. The best part of all, the adventure really feels like it is something that can only happen in the world of Minecraft -as opposed to being a generic story with Mojang's skin plastered on top of it. Fans will even love the fact that there is even a crafting and building mechanic included just to keep the theme consistent.