While I found the introductory episode of Minecraft: Story Mode to retain many of the qualities found in Telltale’s recent work, the following episode suffered from some notable flaws, including less memorable action scenes and plot points as well as an abrupt cutting-off point. Previous Telltale games, such as The Wolf Among Us, also had their own weaker episodes, but still rebounded later on. As a result, I was hoping that Story Mode could regain its footing with the following episodes, and while the jury’s obviously still out on the last two, the latest episode, The Last Place You Look, is thankfully a strong return to form for the series.
Picking up immediately after the last installment’s conclusion, the game continues the journey of customizable series protagonist Jesse and his or her band of boxy comrades on a quest to save their world. Having already tracked down three of four legendary warriors in hopes of finding a solution, the party first finds themselves escaping from a dungeon trap previously laid by series antagonist Ivor, and eventually manage to track down the final warrior, Soren. From there, the series’ grandest climax yet takes place as Jesse attempts to carry out a risky plan to save the world.
The overall pacing for The Last Place You Look is great. I was initially worried when the last episode ended that it would be bogged down by some slow dungeon exploration, but Telltale’s writers do a great job of repeatedly getting to the point here. The opening action scene alone is one of the best I’ve seen from the company in some time, and other set pieces later on also shine. Thankfully, the episode doesn’t get carried away with cutscenes and quick time events to the point that free movement is non-existent, as we still get a few slower-paced scenes for Jesse to explore new environments, catch up with their comrades, and solve a few admittedly very simple puzzles.
The episode works well both as a source of fun and varied set pieces and as a genuine progression of the overarching plot. The action scenes range from the return of sword combat against zombies to tense standoffs with eerie creatures known as Endermen, and the previously mentioned climax is fun and genuinely epic at points. A seemingly insignificant decision late in the game also leads to one of two very different outcomes that will likely have a noticeable effect on the rest of the series, and a reveal in the final minutes offers some interesting ways the plot may go in the next installment.
Another thing The Last Place You Look should be commended for is its technical performance. Other than some brief freezes between actions and shot transitions that Telltale games have always suffered for, this is the smoothest-playing episode I’ve ever seen from them, with no signs of slowdown and less glitchy character movements. The all-star voice cast also continues to impress, and the background music by Anadel still sounds better than average. I’m still wishing the script offered a little more humor, though.
It is still worth noting for those bothered by shorter Telltale episodes that unfortunately, this installment clocks in at somewhere around an hour and 45 minutes. However, while the previous installment suffered the same problem, it feels like way less of an issue here, because there’s so much more to offer this time around.
The Last Place You Look is undeniably a major improvement over the last outing, and hopefully Telltale can keep this momentum going for the remaining episodes. They’re continuing to get an impressive amount of material out of a license many fans doubted, and while it would still be nice to get longer instalments, people who enjoyed the first portion of the season will get another very enjoyable outing here.
This review is based on the Xbox One version, which was provided to us.
The middle episode of Minecraft: Story Mode is also one of its best, with great pacing and action as well as improved technical performance.