Releasing episodes at a relatively brisk pace, Telltale Games has put out Episode 3: The Last Place You Look in its Minecraft: Story Mode series. Telltale’s five-part, episodic adventure game allows players to play as either a male or a female hero, voiced by either Patton Oswalt or Catherine Taber.
Further fleshing out its adaptation of Mojang’s hit, Telltale has also enlisted a veritable who’s who of 1980s voices that include the likes of Martha Plimpton, Corey Feldman, and Pee Wee Herman himself, Paul Reubens. But despite the possible Generation X appeal of the voice casting, Minecraft: Story Mode is clearly aimed at the younger audience that took the original Minecraft game viral.
Though I have been a fan of Telltale’s offerings since the 2012 adaptation of The Walking Dead, there isn’t much about Minecraft: Story Mode that I really enjoy. As a matter of fact, I wasn’t looking forward to playing Episode 3. To be fair, I’m not a fan of the original Minecraft, and am something of a crusader for more mature narratives in video games. I’m not looking for X-rated sex and violence, I’d just like to see storytelling break out of the box a bit. Considering the fact that by far, most gamers are adults, there’s no reason that the narrative in most games needs to be geared toward 13-year-old boys.
I was about 10 minutes into the game, resigned to the fact that I was probably going to need to break up the latest Telltale episode into a couple of parts, when the title sequence began. The title sequence for Episode 3: The Last Place You Look is one of Telltale’s rare action sequences that lets you get into a groove with quick time events. Most of the time, these QTEs are just one-offs after a long cutscene, making you scramble frantically for the controller sitting next to you. Surprisingly, there are actually a couple of action sequences in Episode 3 that actually allow you to feel like you’re doing something.
Despite the increased focus on action, crafting, and even puzzle solving in Episode 3: The Last Place You Look, the proprietary Telltale game engine makes much of it unintuitive. Along those lines, the game engine still struggles with rendering the low-resolution graphics Telltale has embraced for the series. This is most likely due to large areas they’ve created in their attempt to span the entire Minecraft universe in these five episodes. The attempted fan service is obvious, and it undoubtedly gets in the way of the storytelling – which can, at best, be described as juvenile. With all of the bickering, all of the characters might as well be 10- and 12-year-olds.
Minecraft: Story Mode – Episode 3: The Last Place You Look is surprisingly more action-oriented and coherent overall than its predecessor, but the series is still best suited for 10- and 12-year-olds. There may be a few adult Telltale fans who can find something to like about Minecraft: Story Mode, but not many. Everyone else will have to wait for a third season of The Walking Dead, a second season of The Wolf Among Us, or the just-announced Season 2 of Game of Thrones.
However, if you need to buy a video game gift for someone in that tween demographic, you could do worse than Minecraft: Story Mode, available on multiple platforms, in both digital and physical formats.
Minecraft: Story Mode -Episode 3: The Last Place You Look is rated E10+ (Everyone 10 and older) by the ESRB for Fantasy Violence, and Mild Language. This game can also be found on: Playstation 3, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and Windows PC.
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