Minecraft: Story Mode continues to impress and kinda bum me out in equal measure with its second episode, Assembly Required. It’s still a great ride and an interesting story, but it’s also still a bit too simple.
Assembly Required picks up right where The Order of the Stone left off, with Jesse and company heading out to try and find one of two members of The Order – depending on who you sided with at the end of the previous episode. In my case it was Jesse and Olivia trying to track down Ellegaard, the legendary redstone engineer.
The first chapter or two will differ from person to person based on which of the members of The Order they decided to chase after, but once the proper hero has been collected, the rest of the story pretty much carries on regardless. You’re basically choosing which mini-adventure to go on before ultimately meeting back up with everyone else and reuniting the two former comrades.
Getting from the beginning of the episode to yet another cliffhanger ending is more or less the same as it was last time. There are some simple action sequences where you can swipe the screen to attack, several quick-time events during the more complex and harrowing sequences, and a little bit of walking around and tapping on interaction icons. Though this time the ante has been upped a tiny bit with some slightly more traditional point-and-click adventure elements like simple dialog trees and the option to look at certain things before interacting with them.
It still doesn’t feel like enough, though. Don’t get me wrong, Assembly Required was an interesting story to play through, but it really could’ve benefited from some added complexity. As with The Order of the Stone, the puzzles are too simple to be satisfying and there really aren’t that many of them to begin with.
Of course, it also carries over the great “Minecraft but better” visuals and quality voice acting from the first episode as well, which is just as enjoyable this time around. In fact, some of the environments manage to be even more impressive. Though I did notice a couple of instances where character models would get hung up on scenery for a moment or get really “twitchy” during some of the cutscenes. Nothing game-breaking (or as bad as modern Assassin’s Creed games), but that kind of stuff really stands out when everything else runs so smoothly.
I was also a little disappointed when the end credits began to roll because Assembly Required felt like it was a bit shorter than The Order of the Stone. That may have just been my mind playing tricks on me, but I’d also understand if it were in fact a little more brief since there are basically two entirely different directions the early chapters could go in.
All told, I’m still very much looking forward to Minecraft: Story Mode’s third chapter. The gameplay it still a little too easy for my liking and the puzzles barely qualify as puzzles, but it’s a fun time. And it’s also likely meant to be accessible to a younger audience, which is understandable.