Minecraft:Story Mode – Episode 1 Order of the Stone Review
I love playing video games with my kids but I cringe inside every time my daughter asks, “Papi, can we play Minecraft together?” I don’t get the appeal of the game, my kids will spend hours not doing anything in the Minecraft world. Here’s her summary on what Minecraft is:
Minecraft is an open world game where you can build whatever you want. There are three modes in the regular Minecraft game: creative mode, survival mode and adventure mode. Creative Mode is for building whatever you want with infinite resources. Survival Mode is where monsters (endermen, slime, spiders, zombies and skeletons) attack during day or night and you have to survive with limited resources. Adventure Mode is where you play through what you or someone else built and can’t destroy or mine anything.
When my kids are at my parents house, they’ll commandeer their grandparent’s iPads and watch videos of ‘famous YouTubers’ playing Minecraft (something they aren’t allowed to do at home). I sampled one insipid ‘episode’ on YouTube with my daughter and saw what barely resembled a story paired with people screaming into microphones (I was happy the cheap innuendo alluded to was over my daughter’s head), and I was baffled as to how 2 million people had sat through that nonsense. But in all the videos available, it was clear that there was a huge demand for something missing in the Minecraft Universe – a story. Enter Telltale Games and their newest episodic series, Minecraft: Story Mode. It’s an episodic game, using the usual Telltale style gameplay – quicktime events mixed with point and click, choose-your-own-adventure type decision making. I let my 8 year-old Minecraft expert take over:
Episode 1: Order of the Stone is a story set in the Minecraft world. You get to pick your character, Jesse, either a boy (voiced by Patton Oswald) or a girl (voiced by Catherine Taber).
We are introduced to the Order of the Stone who defeated the Ender Dragon and then the narrator says “When one story ends, another begins,” and we meet Jesse and her friends, Olivia, Axel and her pet pig, Ruben, in a tree house. The group gets ready for a building competition, the winner gets their contraption shown at EnderCon, a special Minecraft conference. At the build competition we meet Petra who is going to sell a Wither skull to a mysterious man named Ivor. Ivor cheats Petra and we help find the jerk. LOL. Ivor goes into his fortress inside the EnderCon building and we sneak into his basement and find a creepy potion. Ivor summons a special kind of Wither, using a command block, at EnderCon. This Wither can suck blocks and make itself stronger and bigger and looks like it’s going to take over the whole gaming universe. Episode 1 ends with Jesse and her friends having to go to the Order of the Stone’s building to find the other members.
Story Mode is different from regular Minecraft in that it isn’t open world. But it has lots of familiar elements like animals, crafting tables and monsters like creepers, zombies, spiders and skeletons.
Things I liked:
- Choice of being a boy or a girl and I was able to pick girl who looked like me and I like that she didn’t like chickens,
- You could craft things (it’s in the name Mine-Craft, so if you couldn’t craft anything, that would be sad), like swords and fishing rods.
- Fighting-you could attack things with the sword you crafted
- Choices you make and actions, like punching Ivor because he was a jerk by not giving a diamond to Petra.
Things I didn’t like
- Couldn’t upload skins from Minecraft
- Wasn’t open world
Overall: It was amazing and I think it’s a true gaming experience. I rate it 10/10. And I would rather fight 10 zombie sized chickens than 100 chicken sized zombies. You have to play the game to get the joke.
As a parent, I loved watching the kids play this. I think the discussion of diversity in the media we consume is an important one, that if you can’t see yourself reflected in the heroes of the movies, games and books you consume, how do you view yourself heroically? So, bravo to Telltale for giving the player the choice of protagonist. The story is cute, funny and family friendly, you can see the beginning of your heroes journey and the plot twist at the end leaves the door open for redemption for another character down the road. I also found it much more interesting to learn about the lore of Minecraft this way (i.e.: there are two types of hell in Minecraft, The End and The Nether, but which is more hellish?) than through some ‘famous YouTuber.’ We’re on board for this series.