A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Themes of friendship, loyalty, courage. In this world, both creativity, sense of adventure admired.
Positive Role Models
Main hero, Jesse, can be either male, female, players can select skin tone, eye color. Aspects of personality -- including vanity, empathy, flippancy -- dependent on player's choices, but never any doubt that Jesse wants to do right thing, help others.
Ease of Play
A tricky battle near end of first episode, but most players should have little trouble following on-screen button cues during action sequences, solving occasional simple puzzle.
Violence & Scariness
Characters use swords, powerful gauntlet to fight blocky zombies, statues, humans. Fantasy creatures disappear in puffs of smoke when defeated. Defeated humans simply run away. No blood, gore.
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Nothing stronger than "freakin,'" "heck."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Minecraft: Story Mode -- Season Two is a narrative-driven adventure set in the world of Minecraft. Play centers on choosing responses in dialogue, not collecting minerals and crafting items. Combat is infrequent, mild, and cartoonish. Battles see human characters using swords against blocky monsters, but they involve no blood or gore and typically end with enemies disappearing in puffs of smoke. The game's hero, Jesse, can be customized in terms of gender and skin tone. He (or she) is clearly out to do good, helping friends and protecting civilians, but the player's choices in dialogue can alter the tone of responses, making Jesse seem sensitive or uncaring, empathetic or reactionary, playful or a bit mean.
Is It Any Good?
Those who've played the original (or any Telltale game, for that matter) know what they're getting here; a dialogue-heavy interactive story with bursts of action. That said, Minecraft: Story Mode -- Season Two has a leg up on its predecessor in that it's paced better right off the start. This could be because it assumes that players are familiar with the first game, know the cast, and understand how things work, so there's less time wasted in establishing the world and its characters. Plus, the story kicks into high gear within the first 15 minutes, sending Jesse off on an adventure full of twists and turns that just keep coming. And fun new characters -- like a famous one-time adventurer named Jack who accompanies Jesse and Petra while learning to face up to his fears -- inject just enough newness to freshen up the formula.
Telltale games, however, are always a bit of an acquired taste. Kids who love the social and creative aspects of Minecraft won't find much of either here. A crowd-play mode lets a group of players vote to decide how to respond in dialogue situations, but the majority of the group will spend most of its time simply watching the story unfold. And while a handful of puzzles and tasks allow players to assemble ingredients to make items like torches and cakes, no imagination is required. The ingredients are readily available, and the proper recipe is automatically provided. And so Minecraft: Story Mode -- Season Two earns the same qualified recommendation as its precursor: It's fantastic for Minecraft fans who've been dying for a real story in their favorite game, but inessential for almost everyone else.
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