Minecraft: Story Mode review-in-progress: 'Order of the Stone' impressions

Telltale is going back to some more family-friendly fare by taking a stab at Minecraft. The result thus far is a story that fits perfectly within the world of Minecraft, while also providing some great amusement for Minecraft amateurs.

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In recent years, Telltale Games has put its focus on more adult-oriented licenses. The Walking Dead, The Wolf Among Us, Borderlands, and Game of Thrones certainly lean more towards older audiences, so it's interesting to see the studio go back to its more family-friendly roots and focus on the world of Minecraft.

Minecraft: Story Mode takes the Minecraft world and crafts an entirely original tale from scratch. The characters are new, the lore is new, but there's also a lot of elements that Minecraft fans will recognize, including the voxel visual style. While the familiar elements will resonate with Minecraft fans, it doesn't take a hardcore builder to enjoy the story that Telltale is putting together and "The Order of the Stone" is certainly off to a good start.

"The Order of the Stone" begins by setting up the world as one protected by four great heroes. This segues into the story proper, as players meet Jesse and his/her band of friends, who strive to become master builders. Their path soon crosses with an embittered warlock, who unleashes a powerful creature onto the world, requiring Jesse's party to reunite the fabled Order of the Stone to stop it.

Anyone that has played Minecraft will recognize some of the game's elements sprinkled into the game. When night falls, Jesse will be confronted by zombies, Creepers, or spiders. When combat is triggered, the Minecraft health meter will appear in the corner. When quick-time events prompt players to build structures, the party will piece together buildings in double time. But the most faithful element of Mojang's game that can be found in Story Mode is the crafting itself.

Several areas of the game will require Jesse to assemble tools to move forward. For Minecraft newcomers, there's a helpful recipe guide that adds a new crafting wrinkle to the traditional Telltale story. For veterans, however, the recipes are exactly the same as they are in the original game, adding a sense of authenticity. It'll be interesting to see how this mechanic evolves in subsequent episodes and whether players will get a chance to piece together different items for different situations.

As a family game, Minecraft: Story Mode works in the sense that it's much lighter fare than recent Telltale offerings. There's an abundance of humor, lovable characters (including an adorable pig sidekick), and a brightly-colored world. There's some colorful language in the story that takes this into more PG-rated territory, but nothing overtly offensive. As a story in itself, however, Story Mode embraces the Minecraft aesthetic and runs with it. So far, Telltale is successfully telling a story that utilizes many of the Minecraft mechanics. It even makes the primary character's gender choice a factor when it comes to interacting with certain characters. There were certain supporting characters that could either be a best friend or romantic interest with Jesse, depending on the gender choice, with the language and dialogue cleverly used to support both sides.

The building blocks for something special are certainly here in Minecraft: Story Mode, with the seeds for a classic 80s movie-style adventure in place. Thus far, it's a tale that fits perfectly within the Minecraft universe without forsaking those that aren't necessarily master builders.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

From The Chatty
  • reply
    October 13, 2015 12:01 AM

    Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, Minecraft: Story Mode review-in-progress: 'Order of the Stone' impressions

    • reply
      October 13, 2015 5:15 PM

      So...how does this game play? Walking dead essentially?

      • reply
        October 13, 2015 5:16 PM

        It would be cool if it played like Minecraft, but I'm guessing it plays like every other Telltale game.

    • reply
      October 15, 2015 5:41 AM

      I wish TO games had made it more clear that this game was more PG (or even G ) rather than the mature games we've been playing of late. A person like me that wants to know almost nothing of a particular title after announcement and buys based on rep and history of developer might be in for a shock. I know I was. I felt I was playing and episode of Sesame Street.
      Try before committing for season pass is all I can say.

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