As a conclusion (possibly for good) to Minecraft: Story Mode Season Two - Episode 5 is still strong, never becoming close to a chore to play. It's just a shame that it ended up being one of the weaker points of the season.
Not without its weaknesses, the conclusion to Telltale's Guardians of the Galaxy series nonetheless takes things out on a high note. It's clear that Telltale's storytelling and gameplay are wearing out their welcome, so hopefully the teased follow-up season will do more to reinvigorate this shaky franchise. Despite this, if the earlier episodes had you wondering whether Guardians of the Galaxy would amount to anything, well, don't stop believin'.
Episode four is the good kind of unremarkable for a Telltale game. It maintains the quality storytelling and action that has been present throughout this season while fixing the technical difficulties from the last chapter. It's nothing revolutionary for Minecraft: Story Mode, but it really doesn't need to be. It just needs to be entertaining and engaging through its two-hour runtime, and that's something that it manages to do with ease.
Frustrating gameplay aside, Telltale games are still primarily about the story, and episode four shows that it is possible to throw some interesting twists and turns into a narrative that seemed dead in the water. Getting to those points can feel a bit tiresome, and many of the connecting elements feel completely superfluous, but at least there's a bit of light at the end of the tunnel. Hopefully that light grows even brighter as the series comes to its conclusion.
While comparable to episode two, episode three of Minecraft: Story Mode is hampered by its technical problems. The audio issues could be forgiven, but its absentmindedness towards the player's choices completely undermines the core conceit of the experience. Thankfully, its isolated nature means it could be a one-off thing. Considering how enjoyable everything else is, it would be a shame if this episode marked the start of a downhill slope for the series.
More Than a Feeling is not a bad game when compared to some of the other titles clogging the market. However, when compared to Telltale's other series, it fails, lacking the drama and heart that made many of them so endearing. When compared to the films that it draws inspiration from, it can't compete with the likeable cast, crackling dialogue, and exciting action scenes. Once again: if you want to spend two hours with the Guardians, you're probably better off watching one of the movies again.
Last Day of June is a frequently beautiful experience, with a likeable cast, gorgeous visuals, lovely music, and an ending that feels like both a logical conclusion and a tear-jerking finale - yet it stumbles when it comes to actually being a game. Its core concepts are sound, but the constant repetition quickly erodes much of the gravitas, especially for players who get stuck and need to spend some time jumping back and forth between characters. It says something that the game was at its best in its final fifteen minutes or so, where much of the "real gameplay" was thrown out in favour of an "interactive movie" approach. Of course, throwing out that gameplay altogether wouldn't do the title any favours, as its narrative and mechanics are intrinsically tied together and designed to play off one another. It's just a shame that one of those halves is decidedly weaker than the other.
Despite some continuity errors, episode two of Minecraft: Story Mode still shows that Telltale wants to make this season more than just an extra bid for money. The tension and character drama build to a point where the latter part of the episode flies by, leaving a void that can only be filled by the forthcoming episode three. When the only other complaint is that there's no option to start a romance with Lukas and/or Radar, it's clear that something special is being built here.
Minecraft: Story Mode Season 2 is a shining example of iteration done right. Instead of just slapping a new story onto the previous season's set of mechanics and calling it a day, it seems to be trying to deliver a far superior experience. It does suffer mildly from "setup tedium" when it comes to getting the plot going, but once it does, it becomes clear that there's a lot more going on here than in the first season. Assuming that the ride stays smooth throughout, this is shaping up to be one hell of a sophomore season for Minecraft: Story Mode.
There's a lot wrong with Minecraft: Story Mode. From its technical issues to its plot to its business model, it really has a lot going against it. Yet, despite all that, it still had its memorable moments. As the writing improved, things became more engaging. As the characters established themselves, they became more likeable (and detestable, for some). Hell, one moment even came close to generating tears: an achievement on its own for a game that feels like a Saturday morning cartoon. There's lots of coal here, no doubt about it. In some ways, though, that makes the diamonds shine all the brighter.
There are a few moments of frustration, but there are also times where it – dare I say it – surpasses Dark Souls in my mind. At the very least, it's a colourful, compelling, sci-fi Souls-like, and a great way to pass the time while waiting for FromSoftware's next announcement.
Redout is one of the most delightfully high-octane, edge-of-my-seat racing games in recent memory. It's a thrilling adrenaline rush of an experience. It's a finely-tuned joyride that's been polished and balanced until it shines in a cornucopia of flashy colours.
The Long Journey Home is a painful war of attrition. It feels at odds with itself: it wants to incorporate randomization to encourage replayability, yet that randomization makes the critical resource-management components even more frustrating. It could have seriously benefitted from some restraint on the part of the developers; if fewer systems were left up to pure chance, this could have been an expansive, exciting new exploration game. Instead, it's an overpriced curiosity that buries some great ideas under a planet-sized mound of bad decisions.