Minecraft: Story Mode Episode 4: A Block and a Hard Place Review

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Minecraft: Story Mode has come a long way over these last few episodes. What seemingly started off as a tie-in to a beloved kid’s game has evolved into a much more mature adventure. That’s not to say that children can’t play the game, but as I said in my review of Episode 3, Minecraft: Story Mode is dealing with a lot darker themes than you’d expect from a game about Minecraft. Perhaps that’s the beauty of Minecraft. At face value, it’s a simple game that anyone can pick up and start building, but what you make of it is what you can build. It is appareant that Telltale has built a world that has a lot more substance to it than some people might think, and as I found out while playing Episode 4: A Block and a Hard Place, there’s even more to it than I imagined.

Like all previous episodes, Episode 4 begins exactly where the last one left off. And just like Episode 3’s beginning, things are not looking good for our heroes. In fact, things are looking downright grim. Though Jesse and friends do come up with a new plan to save the day, it’s clear that even they’re not sure if they can do it. Perhaps that’s what I find particularly satisfying about this episode’s story. Some of the best character development happens during this chapter as we see character’s real colours come forth and some huge questions are finally answered that have been bugging the player since Episode 1. Or at least, they’ve been bugging me since Episode 1. But, for the amount of stuff that happens in this episode the pacing is slightly off. Occasionally there’s too much time spent on portions of the story that could be explained quickly and too little time spent on more complex or interesting plot points.

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Despite this flaw, we’re told a lot more about this Minecraft world that certainly makes me want to explore it further. While previous chapters have alluded to the intricacies of this universe, there’s enough here that makes me secretly hope that Telltale will go beyond the five episodes of Minecraft: Story Mode. Seriously it’s that good.

The riveting story is paired with some interesting puzzles that feel a bit more stimulating than the previous puzzles in the game have been. They’re nothing super special, but they’re a nice change of pace and make the episode, in general, feel far more polished in contrast to earlier chapters.

Though not the last episode of Story Mode, Episode 4 is the end of the storyline that we’ve seen progress since the first episode. While it’s had it’s ups and downs, it has ended on a high note with A Block and a Hard Place. It isn’t obvious what the next episode has in store for us, an epilogue perhaps or maybe a one-off story? But even if it’s another Episode 2 in quality, I think the story so far has been worth my time.

 


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