With many highs and only a few low points throughout the series so far, Minecraft: Story Mode Season 2 has ended up becoming more of a run of the mill storyline after an exciting start. Now with the penultimate episode released and the finale right around the corner, can the story pull itself out of its lackluster rut and develop into something interesting in Minecraft: Story Mode Season 2 – Below the Bedrock?
Since the story for Minecraft: Story Mode Season 2 – Below the Bedrock continues right after the events from Jailhouse Block it is worth finishing the previous episodes before continuing to read this review as various events and twists from previous episodes will be discussed from here on out.
After managing to escape from the Admin’s “Sunshine Institute” where all enemies or people he loses interest in end up being sequestered away, Jesse and the gang, now accompanied by the former friend of the Admin, Xara, and the rest of the group that was once separated from them. Unfortunately for them, the way back home isn’t as simple as simply escaping as they have now stumbled upon a forgotten realm that the Admin once called home before moving on to better things and leaving the world to fall into disarray.
This leads to not only the group facing off against a giant enderman but dealing with inhabitants that haven’t seen a normal world in quite some time. Add to this the fact that Xara has a lot of history in this realm and a significant story to tell and the world beneath the bedrock becomes one filled with danger but also one that may hold the key to putting a stop to the Admin once and for all.
After the previous episode left players feeling like they were simply going through the motions in an effort to pad the runtime of the series, Minecraft: Story Mode Season 2 – Below the Bedrock manages to advance the story just enough to keep players interested in seeing just how things will come to a conclusion while also providing us with plenty of information about the past that is shared between the Admin, Xara, and another one of their friends who has since fallen prey to the Admin’s plots.
Not only does the core storyline gain some satisfying development and forward progression but the characters also see a nice amount of interaction as well. Petra and Radar continue to develop throughout this episode with Petra continuing to struggle with her place in the world and how Jesse will end up fitting into things once the Admin has been defeated and Radar trying to prove that he is capable of handling himself and taking the lead if need be. In fact, even a familiar face makes a reappearance that is handled as something of a short but fun cameo.
There is a satisfying balance between seriousness and light-hearted comedy here in Below the Bedrock though this is primarily due to the fact that the stakes never seem to be too high, even when it appears that a character is in mortal danger since, at worst, all they’ll do is disappear for a short time. One thing that this episode does feature in spades is action as the developers have really dialed that feature up this time as not only do players do battle with a hoard of enemies at one point but they also must face off against a puzzle style boss.
Although the action points are the most exciting elements, the majority of this episode still revolves around Jesse talking with his allies as well as the characters he meets while exploring this abandoned world. The free building segments are doubled up this time around so if you happen to appreciate creating a unique design then you are given twice as many chances to do so this time around, though if you happen to construct absolutely nothing, the game is fine with that as well.
Back to those action scenes though, we have the exciting feeling battle against a large fire spewing opponent that requires the player to not only dodge incoming flames but oversized attacks while trying to lure the creature onto switches that will lead to its defeat. This combination of puzzle and boss fight makes for a satisfying combination in a game like this. As for the other battle against the hoard, players will need to keep Jesse on a swivel to avoid being swarmed by opponents, though this also may lead to a glitch as well. In my time with this battle I saw two instances where, no matter how long the fight lasted, the enemies continued to arrive even when the battlefield had been cleared, leading to a death being the only way to restart.
Visuals & Audio
Since the design this time around happens to be a forgotten world fallen into disarray the developers have managed to craft some interesting looking places for players to travel through, even if everything has a “doomsday red” tint to it. Thankfully the aforementioned action sequences are designed to look impressive though it would be nice to see a bit of extra variation with some enemies outside of just making them extra-large.
The voice work through this episode continues to impress as the actors handle their roles in fitting fashion and the soundtrack is also on par with what players have come to expect from the series.
After a middling middle episode Minecraft: Story Mode Season 2 manages to pull itself together to deliver a satisfying penultimate episode with Below the Bedrock. With interesting action pieces and solid story development and pacing, this episode feels like something of a return to form for the series. Let’s just hope that this improvement in quality holds together for the finale.