Minecraft: Story Mode Episode 8 Review – A Not So Thrilling Conclusion

We’ve helped Jesse and friends vanquish a massive Wither
Storm, protect a defenseless floating community, solve a murder mystery
involving YouTubers, and free a barren world from an oppressive artificial
intelligence. The final episode of Minecraft: Story Mode gives Jesse his most
personal mission yet: finding a way home. That isn’t as easy as it sounds, as a
betrayal lands Jesse’s group in the middle of a competition where prisoners
battle for their freedom. Unfortunately, the finale doesn’t live up to the fun premise;
aside from a few excellent action sequences, the story is rushed and the lack
of meaningful choices is more apparent than ever.

Much of the episode is spent speaking with other prisoners
in the camp and trying to devise a plan to overthrow your captors. As you
figure out whom to speak to, the conversations present little compelling
backstory, causing them to drag. The episode attempts to pull in several distinct
elements, including a legend of a competitor who won his freedom, the return of
several characters from past episodes, and a conundrum surrounding who to trust
during the coup. Sadly, it all comes across as rushed.

One episode doesn’t provide enough time to fully establish
the fiction of this competition, and my investment in what was happening
dwindled as a result. It’s a shame, because I like the situation and the
characters put in front of me, but I would have rather had some time to
establish the backstory of the games so I can fully comprehend the stakes. This
is the final episode, but it doesn’t feel like an exciting climax. The most
intense moments of the story came in the fourth episode with the conclusion of
the Wither Storm saga. The tale has just been living episode to episode since
then, failing to build meaningful arcs or adversaries.

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Thankfully, the action does justice to the intense and
desperate competition at hand. The scenes where Jesse is taking part in the
games are some of the most entertaining of the entire series. In one long
action sequence, Jesse races through a lava-filled arena while battling against
other competitors before fighting powerful gladiators in an open area. It was
the kind of sequence of events that made me sit at attention as I focused to
hit every quick-time event.

While Episode 8 recalls some choices from way back in the
first episode, I still didn’t feel as though I had full control of Jesse’s
destiny. No matter how big of a jerk I was to my captors, the end result of the
conversation was usually the same. In one moment, Jesse noticed that a guard was
snooping through Lukas’ journal. I persisted as much as I could for him to stop
reading it, but at the end of the conversation, Jesse still sheepishly walked
away the same as he would have had I decided that it was acceptable. Telltale
is commonly criticized for its series’ early choices failing to impact
subsequent episodes in meaningful ways. That has proven to be the case with
Minecraft: Story Mode throughout its entire run, and this episode is no
exception.

Without spoiling the ending, I enjoyed how the
team reminisced on some of the major plotlines of the series. I had fun remembering
the team’s adventures over the last 11 months, but I wish the story had spent a
little more time on the events in this episode. Despite some awesome action
scenes, the events of the episode feel rushed and the overall conclusion ends
abruptly, leaving me unsatisfied with how everything plays out.

Beta Test Minecraft: Story Mode Episode 8 Review – A Not So Thrilling Conclusion

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