Minecraft: Story Mode – Order Up!
Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games
Platforms: PC, iOS, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One (Reviewed)
Release Date: March 29, 2016
Price: $4.99 – Available Here
After delivering episodes at, for Telltale Games, was breakneck speed the company has taken their time to craft what many thought would be the fifth and final episode for Minecraft: Story Mode. Then things changed shortly before episode five, Order Up!, was released when it was revealed that the story would be expanded with an extra three episodes in the future. Considering the core storyline of Minecraft: Story Mode appeared entirely wrapped up at the conclusion of the last episode, how has Telltale Games continued the story?
Before continuing to read this review I highly recommend that you either read past reviews in order to get caught up or played the game up until this point as the following content will discuss certain events that have taken place up until this point, meaning that some major events that take place might be spoiled for newcomers.
That being said, Minecraft: Story Mode’s fifth episode, Order Up!, begins sometime after the events of the fourth episode since not only has enough time passed for the citizens of the world to rebuild a fairly impressive city but Jesse and his gang, featuring Petra, Axel, and Olivia, have already established themselves as extremely capable adventurers in the time we haven’t seen them. After saving the world from the Witherstorm the group has ran with their previous success and are now easily able to eliminate numerous foes with little trouble while also searching for special treasures.
Considering the success of the New Order of the Stone, there is at least one group that isn’t happy. The Ocelot gang, now called the Blaze Rods since Aiden has forced the previous leader Lukas out of the group, serve as rival adventurers with a bone to pick with Jesse. After discovering a mysteriously enchanted item and escaping a trap filled ruin, Jesse’s group runs into the Blaze Rods and it is here we learn that Aiden has grown extremely aggressive to the point of threatening the group with violence before running off.
Shortly after this, Jesse learns from Ivor that the item he has found is linked to a secret organization that predates the previous members of The Order of the Stone and that in order to track down what made this organization so powerful, we find Jesse, Petra, Ivor, and the revitalized Lukas going on a journey that takes them to a mystical seeming Sky City that is filled with a few mysteries and plenty of conflict as the Blaze Rods aren’t about to step down.
Order Up! serves as a nice introduction to what the group is capable of now that they have put the Witherstorm behind them and have confidence in their abilities. That being said, those expecting the same type of humor that has been found in past episodes will find Order Up! a bit lacking as both Olivia and Axel are quickly pushed to the side and left behind after the initial scene. Instead the theme this time is more about action, mystery, and even death as the second half of the episode is filled with characters coming under attack from enemies in such a manner that, although no actual fatalities are shown many people are shown being blown away by foes.
This focus on action over comedy isn’t a big loss however, especially since the characters remember that they can literally build anything they need, even if it means building a floating dirt bridge or a giant dirt pillar under themselves like classic Minecraft players, but what is a loss it that the potential that is Sky City and the “Founder” feels a bit squandered here. The roughly two hours (with at least one scene playing out completely differently depending on your choice) that it takes to make it through Order Up! is a rather fast paced story but one that is lacking in any significant depth.
Instead of providing background information or detail certain things players arrive in the area, come into conflict, learn the secret of the area, fight once more, and then resolve everything before bringing things to a close. This does create a fairly enjoyable experience but it feels like more could have been done with the premise, especially when one considers the concept of Sky City and the way it handles a certain aspect that longtime Minecraft fans are familiar with, though the way things are handled feels as rushed as possible. It also doesn’t help that the Blaze Rods group is suddenly such a difficult force to contend with when they were previously seen as being completely inept.
Similar to past games in Minecraft: Story Mode this fifth episode combines a mix of making dialogue choices, quick time based combat, some very light puzzle solving, exploration, and crafting. The majority of a player’s time will be spent talking between characters or fighting in some rather well designed combat sequences while the couple of puzzles that are mixed in are incredibly easy but still a nice touch to what could have been a simple combat oriented affair.
As far as exploration is concerned there are plenty of little things to see here and there, especially when you talk to the residents of Sky City and see how the occupants live their life, though there are only a few real areas to explore and these areas are much more limited than past sections.
Visuals & Audio
Minecraft: Story Mode : Order Up! features completely brand new areas from what players have seen in the past and the armor decision that they made in the past will carry over into this game. The aforementioned areas are incredibly well designed looking as Sky City is a marvel to look at and I really wish it could have been explored more since the other areas players visit range from the fairly interesting ruin that kicks things off to the impressively designed base of the New Order of the Stone and then a basic world.
As far as the soundtrack is concerned, it doesn’t appear that any new tunes play throughout this episode and while the voice actors all return to reprise their roles in this episode, none of the new characters are voiced in any memorable way. It also is worth noting that the subtitle option provides far more dialogue than what is actually said in the game, going so far as to reveal the true name of the “Founder” five minutes before she actually states her name.
Minecraft: Story Mode: Order Up! had the difficult task of continuing what felt like a wrapped up package and thankfully it does it in a rather superb fashion by showing just how much these characters have grown from standard civilians to gifted fighters. Taking the story at face value we find our hero and his allies venturing into a new strange area in search of treasure and taking on a revitalized foe with plenty of new concepts.
This creates a satisfying enough journey for Jesse and the group with a tone that is a refreshing change from past episodes, but does feel like many aspects were only barely touched upon and could have been expanded far more if the series decided to spend an extra episode focusing on the events of Sky City instead of ensuring that the Jesse’s group will on a brand new journey next episode.
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