It’s a fresh season for Minecraft: Story Mode and what better way to kick it off than with the same old mechanics and tiresome gameplay that everyone complained about in the first season. We don’t want to write the game off in the first episode but it certainly doesn’t provide a promising introduction to the season.
The game begins by recapping previous events from the first season and its DLC episodes to ensure that you are at least somewhat caught up on Jesse and friends’ previous adventures. The story however is very slow to get going as you are forced to walk around your home town having meaningless conversations with characters from old adventures which play no part in the rest of the episode.
Once the story finally gets under way and the main plot starts to thicken all doesn’t seem so bad: there are some interesting new areas visited that will be familiar to those who have played the latest content in Minecraft. One of the best sections is definitely the underwater temple segment that looks stunning and feels fresh and different to any other area explored so far in Jesse’s adventures.
The gameplay has had some slight tweaks that (although not ground-breaking) are noticeable. For instance, the combat system now allows you to dodge roll out of the way of enemies and there is also a stamina bar which prevents you from spamming your attacks. These changes ultimately convert what was a quick, simple, and easy to control combat system into a clunky, obtuse, and frustratingly slow one. Combined with the unnecessary dialogue that feels like its only purpose is to lengthen the short opening episode and you are left with a rather disappointing episode that lasts little more than 60 minutes to complete.
The worst part, though, is that we found this episode was really lacking in character: there's little to no humour used throughout and even the music is rather bland and disconnected from the events that are unfolding. There aren’t any dramatic tunes to go with the high tension events and the choices you make also feel rather pointless and lacking in consequence.
Episode 1: Hero in Residence represents a rather disappointing start to Minecraft: Story Mode Season Two. The story is agonisingly slow to get going, core mechanics are clunky, and there is a huge lack of character throughout which leaves you feeling like you’ve wasted your time. Unless you were a huge fan of Season One and can’t stop punching wood, we’d suggest you wait for another episode to see if this adventure is worth following. We really hope Telltale has got an absolutely stunning season planned, but we're not feeling this one yet.