Minecraft: Story Mode Episode 5: Order Up! Review
Minecraft: Story Mode Episode 5: Order Up! Review
Episode 5: Order Up! feels like a reverent game created by fans for fans
Posted: 04/20/16 | Category: Review | Developer: Telltale Games | Publisher: Telltale Games | Platform: Xbox one, Xbox 360, Wii u, Playstation 4, Playstation 3, Windows, Mac, Ios, Android

Genre: Adventure
Release Date: March 29, 2016 

After having played through the second episode of Telltale’s The Walking Dead: Michonne it took me some time to bring myself back for Minecraft: Story Mode, Episode 5: Order Up! Michonne had left me with some lingering fatigue for Telltale games and I was afraid that another bad episode might actually cause my heart to stop. Luckily for me, I finally took the plunge and lived to tell the tale. Between some of Telltale’s best action scenes, a consistently humorous dialogue and a story that doesn’t fall flat, Episode 5: Order Up is the palate cleanser I’d been looking for.

Story
 

Jesse’s group of friends has officially become the new Order of the Stone. When the game starts, they’re off on a new and exciting adventure, and when they return to town they do so surrounded by the cheering townsfolk. Despite Jesse being the main character, each member of the new Order of the Stone (and those who apparently didn’t make the cut, such as Lukas) is developed so well that you can’t help but root for them. Axel may be a dolt, Olivia may be a know-it-all, and Petra may be cocky and independent, but I love each of them as much as Jesse. It’s refreshing to have a well-rounded cast that never abandons any characters in mires of cliché caricatures.

What’s interesting, then, is the decision to leave Axel and Olivia behind in favor of new characters and an expanded role for Lukas’s old gang, the Ocelots (now the Blaze Rods). This is a perfect example of the strength of the writing. While we may miss those who only get a brief moment to shine, the story is consistently supported by the strength of an entire cast.

The Order of the Stone locates an enchanted flint and steel which supposedly — as Ivor tells them — leads to the Eversource, a new piece of mythos for existing Minecraft canon. The story then heads up into Sky City, a land where crafting is carefully controlled by a totalitarian government. What could simply be a tale of overthrowing a tyranny becomes a meaningful (though simple) conversation about the limits of freedom.

And after having the Eversource build up throughout the episode, I can promise that the eventual reveal doesn’t disappoint. Once again the Telltale team has managed to take some disparate portions of the Minecraft universe and cohesively tie them together in a quirky story.

Gameplay
 

Order Up! begins in medias res as the Order ventures deep into a mysterious temple. While the descent may be slow, the eventual escape is a stark reminder that Minecraft: Story Mode consistently offers up some of Telltale’s greatest action scenes. As Jesse launched into battles and escaped a flaming staircase, I was reminded that these scenes play with far more excitement than any of the Forrester’s adventures in Telltale’s Game of Thrones or Michonne’s lazy hacking in Telltale’s Michonne series.

Order Up! also features puzzles, an always welcome addition to these adventure games. They’re never wildly complex, but slowing down to flip some levers gives players a moment to exercise different portions of their brains. And despite ending up in fundamentally the same place, the addition of puzzles helps the game feel as if the individual has some mental outcome over the result.

So what about the decisions in the game? Well, there are enough to make the Episode worth replaying without resorting to the cheap branching paths of Episode Two. But knowing that this episode is essentially self-contained, it’s difficult to tell if these might affect future installments. Regardless of whether they do, some of the moral arguments presented in the game allow Jesse to pontificate on the benefits of community and chaos, two key philosophies embodied in the Minecraft universe

Puns
 

The episode is called Order Up!

Because the Order of the Stone goes up.

Love it..

The Minecraft-y Bits
 

When Jesse fell out of sky city I gasped, and immediately turned my thoughts to finding water. In my own Minecraft creations I’ve often looked to the sky as my potential home for a new castle or giant floating boat. I have fallen to my death more times than I’ve been blown up by a creeper, but eventually I discovered the life-saving grace of a conveniently placed lake. No matter how high you may be, a single square of water is enough to escape unscathed. Jesse’s skydiving scene was a highlight of the series for me and once again brought some of my favorite core Minecraft moments into Telltale’s increasingly impressive series. 

telltale8

Conclusion
 

Telltale can make great games. While some of their recent struggles have made people question their innovative spirit, Minecraft: Story Mode, Episode 5: Order Up! clearly establishes its ability to thrive in new ventures while still honoring the gameplay fans have come to love. Right now Telltale has confirmed an additional three episodes (which are not included in the current Season Pass, by the way), and I’m more excited than ever to see what comes next. Unlike Telltale’s Michonne, which plays out like a game commissioned by detached executives, Order Up! feels like a reverent game created by fans for fans.

Grade: A-
Great old characters, great new characters
Skydiving, swashbuckling, and other appropriately rad stuff
Respectful evolution of Minecraft canon
 
 Logo
 
 
Trailer:
 
 
 
System Requirements
 
MINIMUM PC:
OS: Windows XP Service Pack 3
Processor: Core 2.0 Duo GHz or equivalent
Memory: 3 GB RAM
Graphics: ATI or NVidia card w/512 MB RAM 
DirectX: Version 9.0
Hard Drive: 3 GB available space
Sound Card: Direct X 9.0c sound device
Additional Notes: Not Recommended for Intel integrated graphics
   
MINIMUM Mac:
OS: Lion (10.7.X)
Processor: 2.3 Ghz Intel
Memory: 4 GB RAM
Graphics: 512 MB Nvidia or ATI graphics card
Hard Drive: 3 GB available space
Additional Notes: Not Recommended for Intel integrated graphics or Mac Minis or early-generation MacBook
 
 
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