MCSM S2 EP3 - My thoughts
Man, that was heavy.
What a fantastic episode this was. An extremely interesting location, puzzles, story developments and awesome choices.
So, my thoughts from beginning to end:
[Starting off, the game did make me mad at first, as it misread my choice of leaving Stella in the ice, instead showing me that I had freed her.. TOO BAD I CAN'T REWIND TO QUICKLY FIX THIS. No amount of restarting EP3 or copying save files fixed it.]
But, all is not awful.
- The Intro to this episode was really well done. Ominous, mysterious, really cool. The repeating "Follow the Orange line" soundbox really helped shift the tone to something darker than what we've seen before. It felt creepy, but a good kind of creepy.
- The Opening Credits were Incredible. I'm kind of a fan of techno music (though not as far as dubstep), and this music really had me bouncing to the beat. Fitting too, as we were being chased by robotic golems.
- The choices upfront were really well handled here. Choices that have some effect -- though not always in the long-term sense, and others that last for quite a while. That's a great balance Telltale should strive for. If we at least can't get "massive" choices, we should at least get a lot of small ones. I like how from the get-go you can be totally defiant of the Warden, if the player so chooses. I was not.
- [one strange, annoying glitch that occurred was that when I was making a mushroom for Rob, there was no cursor. The blocks were being highlighted, but I had to guess where the cursor would move in relation to the space. It proved even more difficult when it moved off the build area [because I could not locate it's position], or when doing precision block building [like in the space against the back wall, where the camera could not cross.. leaving me at an awkward angle]
- Prison Radar is best Radar. I was really proud of him for breaking out of his shell this episode. It was nice.
- The one problem I have story-wise with this episode, is the small plot of Oxblood and his cow. The game made it seem like a big emotional moment to shear this cow and that it was a big choice, but I didn't think of it that way. I clicked that button easy-peasy. The Warden says: "That wasn't so hard, now was it?" to which my reply is: "No. It really wasn't". I don't see what the big deal about it was. Oxblood made no indication to me earlier that he loved that cow, he was exploiting it's use, and was getting mushrooms through illegal means. And I was just doing my job. I didn't know that shearing a cow was bad, or that doing so would transform it back into a normal cow (possibly even shedding its memories). It just seemed like a gimmick cow.
- Next, the puzzle in the Zombie mines was okay, but was solved in a way I did not expect. The guard mentions that the special gates can only be opened by certain items that only the Warden or Admin carry... but we open it up by putting a lever in a slot and pulling it? I don't play Minecraft, so I don't know much about Redstone circuits, but can someone explain how that worked? I thought we would have had to get items to put in the slot, but we bypass that with a lever? Hm...
- When Jack showed up with the red costume, I really made me think: is the person who is the Admin's "champion" become an Admin themselves?
- The Jack Battle was cool, and I was freaking out when it started... but I think it didn't go the way it was supposed to for me. When it started, I simply rolled about Jack and approached him, then he did a roll and the game placed him behind me in a cutscene. The Admin took control of Jack, and we began the fight again. I approached Jack, we hit each other a bit, and then it forcefully transitioned into a cutscene where we try to beat the Admin. It was a good concept, but their engine handled it kind of poorly. Hopefuly this is something they can improve for future use. I liked what I saw.
- Admin acting like a child was really weird "Y'know what? You don't get to be my friend anymore! I'll be my own friend!". It really put me off and imagined that if he was eventually revealed to just be a child, it would be extremely underwhelming. Luckily Prisoner X remedied that, and said his name: Romeo -- an unlikely name for a child these days -- and that there were Multiple Admins, something that I don't think Minecraft has. Still not pleased with the enemy of this season, though.
- The Admin disguising himself as Jesse was really interesting. Made me mad too. I like it when Telltale gets these emotions out of me. Means they've succeeded in getting me invested in this story. *Which brings me to:
- That one Lluna/Nurm choice. You did it Telltale! You did it! You made me cry in a Minecraft game. I was extremely torn on this choice, and probably sat and paced around the room a bit for quite a while. This choice really caught me off guard and really made me think. I didn't want to abandon either of them, and really just wanted to stop the game there, or move on. Unfortunately I couldn't. Maybe it was because I recently thought about how "I really enjoy Lluna's character" or "being with Nurm is always good" or maybe it was of how fast it came up, but I started crying. Something that probably hasn't been done by Telltale (to me) since TFTB, and those were tears of joy, in the end. So yes, this is the "Ha, ha you're sad now." moment. You win, Telltale.
- Next, the death of the Warden really surprised me. Like that came out of nowhere. Killing him in cold blood like that, just ouch. The tension hit me hard on that, and my mouth fell to the floor.
- So... that Ghast boss fight. That was cool (only thing missing was a health bar for the Ghast). Interesting gameplay mechanics were brought in (the strafing around the edge of the maze, and then sprinting around it while dodging of hitting the flaming rocks were really cool). Seeing all these innovations going on with Telltale's engine is great, and makes me intrigued if they'll ever use them in other titles, or what else they can come up with. Job's comment of "what you'll see in a Telltale game 18 months from now will be different than 5 years ago" is starting to come true.. little by little.
- and that preview for Episode 4... oh my. Seems we're facing off against Meta Knight.
So to sum it up, this was an incredible episode that has some of Telltale's best writing. Great characters, cool situations, lots of choices and lost of changes.... wow. And Telltale finally got me truly emotionally invested in this season. They made me cry! Apart from the one unclear story subplot, it was probably the best episode yet.
As always, if I were any good at rating things, I'd give this episode a 9/10.