This is the seventh review for this series I have done now. I expected the first five, that was planned but coming to the penultimate (hopefully) review of the game series I’m surprised that the game is still holding relatively strong.
Access Denied comes out with a blank slate to me, the previous chapter gave no hints about what could happen and this chapter pulls few punches with an unintentionally creepy story and the usual madness we’ve seen in this second half of MineCraft Story Mode. Episode 7 has found a nice middle ground between set pieces and discussion making it one of the more fun episodes I have played.
Spoiler warning: Episode 7 revolves around the most creepy antagonist to date in the form of PAMA, a computer hell bent of collecting information and making everyone ‘useful.’ It shovels the creepy factor into the episode far more than other episodes which were focused on horror. The strange chirpy robotic voice as well as the use of ‘yay’ when it tries to control your mind creates this creepy overlord which commits a huge U-Turn near the end where it begs and pleads for its life in a show of unique depth in a character you don’t really see in Story Mode.
In the other expected areas the game keeps up with tradition well. Yvette Nicole Brown joins the cast for the episode as Harper, a survivor of PAMA’s usefulness rampage. Puzzles are somewhat minimised though what puzzles there are a nicely diverse with only one thought puzzle and a logic puzzle and well-thought stealth sequence to change the pace out.
Thankfully, the chapter finds a better ground with the balance between quick-time events, dialogue and free time. That might be due to the protagonist, being stuck in one place and forcing you to outthink it in conversation rather than through physical skills. Whether this carries on into the next chapter is unlikely as all the chapters have been unable to pass this balance on. But it’s nice to find one chapter where this middle-ground is found. It’s also nice to have such a polished chapter as well. There were no vocal errors or glitches which helps this chapter be one of the best.
After 7 chapters nothing new is brought to the table, but it is a wholly refined version of what you’ve had before. The added creepiness of PAMA is a bonus, as well as the good balance between set-piece dramatic pace and conversational dramatic pace. This is exactly what you’ve seen before if have played the six previous episodes, only more refined.
That’s the best summary possible for Access Denied: Exactly what you’ve played before; the stellar cast, the polished gameplay and the smooth kid wit, with a little something new to keep you interested into the final chapter, and pushing the score for this episode up to an 8.
Sweet Jesus I do hope episode 8 is the final one…