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Minecraft: Story Mode - Episode 4: A Block and a Hard Place
Score: 90%
Publisher: Telltale Games
Developer: Telltale Games
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Adventure


Minecraft: Story Mode Ė Episode 4: A Block and a Hard Place is exactly the kind of payoff episode Iíve been waiting and hoping for since the beginning. While this series is certainly a more family-friendly experience than most of Telltaleís recent offerings, that fact has never quite excused it from its narrative and pacing foibles. Instead, the lovable cast of characters have held the experience up, preventing it from ever being boring. The potential for excellent storytelling wasn't always apparent, but by the time the first episode came out, it certainly hinted at it. That potential is finally unlocked over the course of A Block and a Hard Placeís two-or-so-hour running time; itís a deluge of game-changing plot developments, warm humor, and poignant drama.

Darkest Hour:

Sorenís Formidibomb has not only failed, but made things worse. What once was a single giant Wither Storm is now three smaller-but-still-totally-big Wither Storms. On top of that, our team suffered a heartbreaking casualty in the melee that preceded the detonation. And on top of that, another party memberís Wither Sickness doesnít seem to have improved much. Things look bad. But hope is not completely lost, and the night is darkest just before the dawn. Despite its apparent aggravation of the situation, the Formidibomb yielded at least one benefit: a party member once thought lost to the Wither Storm has been released, but with a severe case of amnesia.

So with the Order of the Stoneís best idea for defeating the worldís greatest threat proving disastrous, the team must look elsewhere for the solution. But who would have the most compelling motive to see the Wither Storm destroyed? On top of that, who would have the biggest wealth of knowledge on the subject? The answer is inevitable, as is the partyís new destination (at least, if youíre a hardcore Minecraft fan). Jesse and company learn more about the Order and their adventures, as well as its chemist pariah, Ivor.

Assuming the Mantle:

So after a revelatory visit to Ivorís home in the Far Lands, our heroes prepare for one final assault. The objective? To destroy the Command Block that gives the Wither Storms life. Iíve never been a fan of action sequences in Telltale games; quick time events represent the bottom of the barrel as far as action gameplay is concerned. But ultimately, I found it easy to forgive here, since I really care about these characters and what theyíre trying to accomplish. Itís an exciting, desperate sequence full of daring feats and unmistakable heroism. And without giving anything away, it ends with a quietly devastating scene that left me almost inconsolable.


Minecraft: Story Mode Ė Episode 4: A Block and a Hard Place ends with the resolution of the conflict that has driven this series since the first episode. This may confuse you, since thereís still one final episode to go. With an ending as definitive as this, itís hard to see exactly where theyíre planning to take this. That being said, Iím confident that the writers have something special planned. And I canít wait to see what it is.

-FenixDown, GameVortex Communications
AKA Jon Carlos

Related Links:

Windows Minecraft: Story Mode: Episode 4 - A Block and a Hard Place Microsoft Xbox One Star Wars Pinball: The Force Awakens

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated