You’d be forgiven for entirely missing the release of Episode 2 Minecraft: Story Mode, such was the sparse promotion of the episode from Telltale Games. And bearing the stealth release of this episode in mind, you’d think Telltale wise for giving this so little coverage.
If you thought the first episode of Minecraft: Story Mode was disappointing (I know I did) then you might want to leave now, because it doesn’t get any better with Assembly Required. In the first episode we were asked to care about characters we barely knew, a world which felt thin and background lore that only veteran Minecraft players would know. Assembly Required continues on this trajectory, offering very little in its short runtime.
To say that the characters in this series are underwritten would be an understatement. With both episodes so far, Telltale hasn’t allowed any of the cast any significant airtime, instead giving us snapshots of their one dimensional personalities with annoying character traits. Axel is still dumb, Olivia is still useless, and Lukas still belongs in a really bad boy band.
With these characters falling flat, you’d think that Telltale would have the sense to introduce some slightly more interesting cast members, but unfortunately not. Both Ellegaard and Magnus (it doesn’t matter which one you chose to pick at the end of last episode, since both will still show up) are incredibly weak characters, constantly bickering and always looking to the player to make a decision. Hasn’t anyone else got tired of Telltale forcing the player into choices through this? Because I know I have.
This episode barely advances the overall plot of the series, something that the first episode actually did remarkably well. The player gets whichever hero they chose to pursue at the end of Episode 1, journeys to Soren’s home in the hopes of finding some aid from him. That’s it. No twists, no turns, and certainly no surprises to be found here.
It’s also worth mentioning just how badly this episode showcases the tired Telltale combat mechanics. On the rare instance that there actually is some combat throughout Assembly Required, all the player has to do is mash the left trigger, essentially preventing themselves from ever being harmed through constantly swinging their sword. Telltale badly need to reinvent their combat system, about as badly as they need a new engine on which to run their games.
If this review seems short, it’s reflective of the final product. I mentioned earlier how this episode barely advances the plot, and that might be down to the fact that it’s barely an hour long. I was stunned at the point at which Assembly Required ended, and was once again left feeling incredibly disappointed by a Minecraft: Story Mode episode.