And so apparently we reach the finale of the Minecraft story mode endeavour. It has been a rather up-and-down journey; episode one and three were wonderful marred by a short and disjointed episode two. Once again I’m writing this before playing the episode, and ignoring a semi-obvious point I will pick up later I’m beginning this game very excited.
My excitement appears to be well-placed. Episode 4 is, while not truly the ending episode is a good finish to the adventure you began. The foundation built up in episode 3 delivers a quick-time heavy finale which while may not make you too excited for episode 5 will leave you thoroughly satisfied.
One of the real changes is the sense of scale in this episode. The title sequence has you travelling across various landscapes, giving you the sense that everything is not just around the corner as in previous episodes. These travels take you to ‘the far lands,’ a Minecraft term for travelling to a distance where the generating algorithms start to lose touch and strange landforms exist. It’s a good touch to the game that we come to expect for Telltale Games, really picking apart the universe to make their story universally sound and this makes me want to return to Minecraft to see the grand biomes in all their glory.
The far lands come with interesting puzzles to solve. Much of this episode is set around the area and you will be performing new tasks such as solving a maze which allows for a nice new perspective on the situation. Some of these puzzles fall prey to a small issue with lighting and camera angles making it difficult to interact with certain puzzle parts and navigate them which may frustrate younger players in the audience. Coupled with minor complaints which have been mitigated, such as speech jumps (however that only happened once) this is the only issue with this episode that I have found.
An important part of this episode is the history of The Order of the Stone, the titular heroes you have been trying to reorganise. The history of the order is revealed, giving the story a whole new perspective change in mere seconds. This is a nice twist in the story, although the older players will see the signposting a mile off. The story keeps it good-natured childish humour, although you are faced with many more difficult decisions in the build-up to the finale.
The strangely obvious point I referred to earlier is that Telltale has made it quite clear that episode 4 is the end of the main story for Minecraft Story mode. Have you been screwed over? No, there is an episode 5, however speaking about it too much will take me into spoiler territory. Do not despair, an episode 5 will exist, focusing on the adventures of your party after the end of the current story.
Episode4 is a rollercoaster ride. The adventure pumps a lot of quick-time events at you to keep the pace up, as well as pulling on your heartstrings by forcing some tough decisions to you. While you could play up to episode 4 and just leave it there, episode 5 is on the way and I’m very excited for where Telltale takes this story now that it has been concluded. Episode 4 keeps up with the class of earlier episodes and for that it is awarded an 8.