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Minecraft: Story Mode: Season Two: Episode 3 - Jailhouse Block
Score: 75%
Publisher: Telltale Games
Developer: Telltale Games
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Adventure

Graphics & Sound:

Minecraft: Story Mode: Season Two: Episode 3 - Jailhouse Block features perhaps the longest runtime of any episode of Telltale's extensive backlog of episodic interactive entertainment, and as a result, there's more of everything. That's both a good thing and a bad thing. It's generally a good time as a whole, but it outstays its welcome and thrusts its biggest problems front and center. Taken as part of the big picture, it's certainly an episode that gets things done. The name of the episode may hint otherwise, but every major plot thread is advanced, and significantly at that. I'm not chomping at the bit to see what comes next, but neither am I bored out of my mind. Episode 3 - Jailhouse Block doesn't sink to the dreary lows of Episode 1, but it's very uneven.

The Blockshank Redemption:

Jesse's gambit to preempt this season's Big Bad has failed -- miserably. How could it not? After all, we've still got multiple episodes to go. But predictability aside, it's time for Jesse and his pals to pay the piper. Minecraft: Story Mode: Season Two: Episode 3 - Jailhouse Block opens with most of them being ceremoniously flung into The Sunshine Institute, which is basically a prison/labor and re-education camp for individuals who aren't the biggest fans of the psychopathic manchild known as the Admin. Jesse has faced worse obstacles in the past, but complicating things is the fact that the place seems to lie smack in the middle of an unsolvable labyrinth full of deadly monsters, and just so happens to lie on bedrock.

The gang's objective is simple: get out. However, it doesn't take long for that task to balloon out of proportion. The Admin has surrounded himself with (read: enslaved) a legion of bootlickers, notably including the ever-irritating Stella. Jesse and friends aren't the type to take any attempts at indoctrination or indentured servitude lying down (in fact, the second half of Season One is explicit proof of that). Before long, it becomes apparent that a mysterious inmate known only as "Prisoner X" may be able to help our heroes escape...


One Flew Over the Creeper's Nest:

If there's one thing I like about Minecraft: Story Mode: Season Two: Episode 3 - Jailhouse Block, it's the cultural references. Two in particular stand out: one is an obvious homage to one of the best prison movies of all time and the other... is something I did not expect. Let's leave it at that.

Episode 3 - Jailhouse Block is generally low on drama and high on action; a welcome shift, considering how annoyed I've become with Telltale's traditional, stale, unrealistic method of creating dramatic tension through writing. That being said, one "big choice moment" rang very hollow, and I was flat out appalled at the writers' flippant treatment of an otherwise extremely serious late-episode situation. I have no idea what they were thinking, and it goes down as one of the worst moments I've seen in any Telltale game to date.

Higher emphasis on action means more combat, and this is a definite negative. Minecraft: Story Mode: Season Two's combat system may be more hands-on than the standard offering of quick-time events, but it's so awful that the game would benefit greatly from its excision.

Of course, you get another pointless building sequence. The mechanic that facilitates these moments is so weak and poorly-implemented that it only serves to kill the pacing. That being said, the one here isn't really required, so take that as you will.


Conclusion:

I've been pretty indifferent to Minecraft: Story Mode: Season Two so far, and Episode 3 - Jailhouse Block does nothing to change that. The world-building is great when it's lampshading elements of its source material, but the drama and characters aren't very memorable, at least not for the right reasons. I'm not at all a fan of the action sequences, and the other elements that try to infuse the proceedings with that Minecraft flavor generally fail at doing so.

If you've loved the series since Episode 1 of Season One, I don't begrudge you those feelings and wholeheartedly recommend that you keep going, because you'll probably feel the same way going forward.


-FenixDown, GameVortex Communications
AKA Jon Carlos

Related Links:



Windows Minecraft: Story Mode: Season Two: Episode 3 - Jailhouse Block

 
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