With Episode 4 – A Block and a Hard Place, the tale of Jesse and friends (as well as The Order of the Stone) draws to a close. The adventure concluded somewhat the way Iâ€™d expected; with The Order of the Stoneâ€™s past finally coming to light and the heroes saving the day (Iâ€™d say â€śspoilersâ€ť but come on, who didnâ€™t see that coming?). But what I wasnâ€™t expecting was to care as much as I did once the credits started to roll.
Once again the opening kicks things into high gear right away with the team running for their lives. Iâ€™d actually gotten so wrapped up in it that the introductory title sequence that came after took me a little by surprise, even though thatâ€™s how every single previous episode was handled. After that, the team (those who Jesse decides to let come along, anyway) is off to the edge of the world in an attempt to save everything they know one last time.
While I think the locations and even the action in A Block and a Hard Place manages to trump everything thatâ€™s come before it, the final episode still has issues with its puzzles. Which is to say, there arenâ€™t very many of them and they arenâ€™t challenging enough. Or at all, really. A couple of them are a little more involved, but seasoned adventure game fans will blow through them in no time, regardless.
For better or for worse, Episode 4 still puts more stock in the action than it does in those puzzles. Fortunately the action sequences are pretty cool (though still mostly simple timing mini-games), and the final setpiece moments create a pretty satisfying finale. I do wish that it felt more like my choices from past episodes had a bigger impact, though. Aside from one or two major changes nothing else seems to have ultimately mattered.
Speaking of that finale, parents should be aware that young children might find the imagery somewhat creepy – not necessarily nightmarish but itâ€™s definitely more dark than I wouldâ€™ve expected from a game based on Minecraft. And thatâ€™s to say nothing of the emotional gut-punch it throws in right at the end. Although I have to give Telltale credit for how they managed to alter the â€ś_____ will remember thatâ€ť pop-ups to add even more of an impact to whatâ€™s already a pretty sad moment.
I still donâ€™t think that Episode 4 quite measures up to the very first, and like Episodes 2 and 3, it feels rather short, but it makes for a satisfying conclusion to anÂ interesting story. Taken as a whole, Minecraft: Story Mode isÂ another win for fans of story-driven games.