After suffering the habitual sophomore slump that plagues most episodic series, Telltale Games’ Minecraft: Story Mode was in need of a shot in the arm to jolt the story back into proper Telltale-form, both in terms of action and humor. I wasn’t prepared for just how big of a shot it would receive. Third episode The Last Place You Look not only turns up the action to eleven, but just about every other facet gets the adrenaline treatment in the series’ best episode yet.
Taking no time to dawdle in the first scenes, the troop is immediately forced to dig down deep and scramble to search for the Order’s final member and the only person capable of building the legendary formida-bomb. What follows is a careening ride through the rapids of the underbelly of the world and into the macabre shadow place known as the End.
Easily the strongest quality of this episode is the portrayal of the Ender Men. Already known in the original game for being the creepiest of all baddies, Telltale takes it a step further and creates a hair-raising sequence that makes them downright disturbing. Their eternal unbreaking gaze and constant teleporting become a terrifying game of cat-and-mouse the heroes must tip-toe around, only to ignite a fantastic chase scene to survive a horde of Ender Men.
Even the narrative side of Minecraft gets intense, which is a welcome change from simpler, black and white shading of previous episodes. It’s also the most emotionally wrought, with several scenes being particularly affecting, and was surprising given the light and jovial tone the series has come to be known for.
Though Episode 3 quickly escalated our heroes’ dire situation, Minecraft: Story Mode somehow manages to maintain its jovial tone throughout. Quality voice acting helps cement the dwindling hopefulness of the characters as the story continues and is supplemented by a soundtrack that demands attention. Each track sticks out without interrupting what’s happening on screen, effectively reinforcing each change in the game’s atmosphere.
The incredible pace of The Last Place You Look ultimately leads to the series’ first substantial cliffhanger, leaving me on edge when I remember there are still two episodes to go. Hopefully we won’t be left in the dark for too long, as Telltale has substantially improved their release schedules as of late. Whatever the time frame ends up being, when it comes to my fleeting patience sooner is always better. Bring on Episode Four!