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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

Previously on Minecraft: Story Mode:

It's been a long journey to get Jesse and friends to the start of Minecraft: Story Mode - Episode 4: A Block and a Hard Place, and while this episode does end the current storyline, it is a rocky and treacherous run to the end of the final fight against the Witherstorm.

In the previous episode, your team had finally obtained the most powerful explosive ever conceived, the Formida-bomb, and even though you had to assemble it in mid-air and drop the F-Bomb as close to the Witherstorm as possible, the creature didn't stay down. In fact, it broke into three, each with the destructive power of the first. A Block and a Hard Place starts off the only sane way it could, with everyone running for their lives.

A New Plan:

After the mad-run for safety, Minecraft: Story Mode - Episode 4: A Block and a Hard Place has all of the main characters gathered in some caves far away from the destruction. This is the first chance the group has had to take a breath since escaping Soren's Enderman-filled labs, and there is a lot to process. Since the initial attack against the Witherstorm released some of the monster's captures, Lukas wants to go out and see if he can find the rest of his friends. Meanwhile, the remaining members of the Order of the Stone have to deal with their recent loss, and of course, another member of your group is getting more affected by the Wither Sickness.

Before this break in the action is over, you will come upon Ivor talking with one of the Order members. Just when you thought the Formida-Bomb was your last real hope at defeating the monster, Ivor reveals another possible solution... also you learn just why it seems like the Witherstorm seems to be following Jesse around everywhere.

The Far Lands:

With Ivor's new plan in mind, the group has to split up. Some of your party needs to keep the Witherstorm distracted, while the others head to The Far Lands, and Ivor's secret base, in order to forge a weapon that might actually defeat both the Witherstorm and the Command Block at its core.

In the strange edge-of-the-world area known as The Far lands, Jesse and friends will have to navigate a complex maze filled with monsters and rebuild an old floating platform, but that's just to get to Ivor's hideout. When inside the fifth Order member's hut, you then have to work out a few different puzzles before finally getting your hands on the necessary items to forge your new weapon. Unfortunately, the more Jesse investigates the tale of the Ender Dragon, the more you realize that the stories you've been told about the Order of the Stone don't quite match up. Before the end of this particular segment of Minecraft: Story Mode - Episode 4: A Block and a Hard Place, you will find out exactly what happened to the Order while facing the dragon at The End.

In a very Telltale manner though, exactly what you do with that knowledge, and who you tell is all up to the player, and there will be consequences to those decisions.

Next Time on Minecraft: Story Mode:

Minecraft: Story Mode - Episode 4: A Block and a Hard Place does end the Witherstorm story arch, which leaves me wondering what the next episode, Order Up!, will hold. I'm sure some of the consequences of the last four episodes will play into this season finale, but with the climax already reached, what could possible be left to tackle? Unless Episode 5 is very self-contained, the only thing I could think of is a setup for a possible future season of the show.

As it is, if the season was only these four episodes, I would rate the game overall very highly. There are some slow points, and the game is generally geared more towards a younger audience than most Telltale games, but the payoff at the end is well worth those stumbling points. I don't know what's next, but I've enjoyed the ride so far.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

Related Links:

Windows Minecraft: Story Mode: Episode 3 - The Last Place You Look Microsoft Xbox One Minecraft: Story Mode: Episode 4 - A Block and a Hard Place

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated