Below the Bedrock is the penultimate episode in Minecraft: Story Mode Season Two and boy are we glad it’s going to end soon. With the opening three episodes getting very mixed reviews we weren’t expecting much to change for the fourth, however we were surprised with a genuinely enjoyable and well balanced experience.
Episode 4 starts off with Jesse and pals busting through bedrock into an entirely new world that looks very dark and dangerous to say the least. It feels refreshing that we have been taken to yet another entirely new environment rather than being stuck in the same ones just with a quick makeover. This new environment is the home of some new threats as well, in the forms of a Giant Enderman that follows Jesse’s party around, destroying buildings by picking up whole chunks at a time, and a Giant Magma Golem who will crush anyone of Jesse’s friends with a single swing of his arm as long as he hasn’t already set them on fire. Both the new area and new monsters give the episode a fresh feeling although we still feel Telltale could be a bit more creative with the enemy design instead of just increasing the size of most enemies to add tension.
The character development also is an improvement on the whole in this episode as Jesse’s adventuring party is whittled down in various ways in order to keep the key focus on a few of the stronger characters: Radar and Petra. As both Radar and Petra have close bonds with Jesse it made for some very emotional speeches that certainly made the dialogue more impactful and engaging. It also brought out some empathy in us for these characters that we haven’t felt previously in the season.
The entire episode felt really well balanced from start to finish with a good mixture of combat, building, puzzles, and dialogue that kept the game flowing fluently for a full 90 minutes; impressive considering the past episodes struggled to reach 60. The story also moved at a really nice steady pace throughout although not having the big plot twists some of the other episodes had hindered the episode slightly.
Below the Bedrock is a rock solid penultimate episode for what’s been a very under-par Season Two so far for Telltale’s Minecraft Story Mode. With a well-balanced structure and a steadily paced plot progression that is intriguing throughout, Episode 4 has pulled off what the first three episodes failed to do: setting up firm foundations for future episodes. It’s a real shame that Below the Bedrock didn’t come earlier on in the season.