Minecraft Legends Review
- Story And Setting
- Visuals And Performance
Minecraft Legends showcases a novel approach to the beloved universe by fusing it with the gameplay mechanics of the RTS genre, but the lack of tactical options makes it a bit too safe of a spinoff.
- Developers: Mojang Studios and Blackbird Interactive
- Publishers: Mojang Studios and Xbox Game Studios
- Release Date: April 18, 2023
- Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, PC, Xbox Series X & Series S, and Xbox Cloud Gaming
- Beautiful Art Style
- Diverse Biomes
- Creative New Creatures
- Entertaining Gameplay
- Not Enough Tactical Options
- Faulty AI
- Framerate Drops
Minecraft Legends is a spin-off title bearing the name of one the biggest gaming franchises of all time. It blends the iconic sandbox experience that the series is known for, with the real-time strategy mechanics that provide a unique twist to the formula.
So come join us in this Minecraft Legends Review, as we venture into the heart of this blocky world, with its intricately designed landscapes and biomes. We will divulge the true nature of the evil forces plaguing its world, all the while trying to answer if taking up arms against them is even worth it.
Story And Setting
Minecraft Legends consists of two main game modes, the first of which is the Campaign which can be played with up to 4 players in co-op in a randomly generated overworld that ensures that no two playthroughs are ever the same. The other game mode is competitive Versus, where players can engage in 1v1, 2v2, 3v3, or 4v4 Player-vs-Player combat. The gameplay loop is similar to that of the Campaign mode, but playing against a human mind adds a new depth to strategic elements that the computers cannot imitate yet. Hence PvP is even more exhilarating.
The story of the Campaign Mode revolves around the player, whose mining expeditions are cut short by a trio of celestial creatures calling themselves the Hosts, who are the creators of an alternate Minecraft world. Their idyllic Overworld is under attack from the Piglins from the Nether, and their plans at stopping the invasion have fallen short. Thus, they need your help to drive back the Piglins and close shut the jaws of the Netherworld.
The three hosts, named Action, Foresight, and Knowledge, are the fully voiced NPCs that will guide you on your tas. Their language is light-hearted and humorous and aligns perfectly with the nature of the game and Mojang Studios themselves. The Hosts provide you with new abilities for building outposts, creating your own army, and rallying all the scattered villagers to assist you in your quest. They also walk you through a tutorial to get you familiarized with the basic mechanics.
The game is set in a procedurally generated open-world environment with stunning landscapes and familiar biomes, each with its own unique touch.
The cel-shading further beautify these environments breathing new life into this world. The map comprises 15 different biomes, each consisting of one friendly village and one Piglin outpost. The story and setting provide a solid foundation for the gameplay to shine, which we will assess in the next section of our Minecraft Legends Review.
The core gameplay loop revolves around the hero gathering resources, building structures, and spawning friendly mobs to repel the Piglin invasion by destroying their fortresses. A dynamic day-night cycle is also present here, with enemies becoming even more aggressive at night, raiding the Overworld villages and raising the stakes even more. Resource management for building defenses and units is key to defending your allies.
A number of new features have also been introduced here which are not present in the original game. These allow the game to form its own identity and provide and differentiate itself from the standard Minecraft experience. These new additions are responsible for maintaining interest throughout the playthrough as not everything is too familiar, and these changes encourage players to always be on the lookout for something new. Mounts especially are a game-changer, as they significantly alleviate traversing this vast world. Your mount can even jump when prompted making climbing mountains and navigating through difficult terrain much easier.
One of the abilities granted to you by the Hosts is a magical flute that enables players to control Allays. And these aren’t your Allay mobs from the original game, instead, they have now been properly assigned roles based on their colors for carrying out essential tasks. Blue Allays gather resources, while yellow Allays build structures when prompted, and from our experience they are pretty good at them too.
The Hosts also provide golem spawners for summoning friendly mobs, and each of these consumes a set number of resources. As the game progresses and new resources are unlocked, you are able to summon even more powerful allies to fight alongside you. And last, but not least, the player is given a Banner of Courage, which can be used to rally allies to your aid. Although you can engage in combat all by yourself and deal significant damage, having troops alongside you in battle is essential as you’ll be frequently going against entire armies instead of small isolated groups.
With all these abilities in hand, you can set out to save the world. Defending villages from enemy attacks unlocks fast travel between them and the Well of Fate, which is a safe haven where the Hosts reside, and also serves as your default spawn point. Destroying Piglin bases can award you with Prismarine which allows you to upgrade your abilities. These upgrades can be unlocked at the Well of Fate, however, destroying these strongholds is easier said than done. As the game progresses, these small garrisons get even more complex and large, resembling fortresses, and require much more time and effort to break through.
Breaking through these fortresses can be expedited by upgrading the size and strength of your troops, but the simplified RTS mechanics hold you back from using them to their fullest potential. One example is that you cannot make divisions or custom groups in your army which hinders employing new and creative strategies. This leads to repetitive tactics and monotonous attacking patterns undermining the overall large-scale war gameplay experience. The AI is also a hit-or-miss, as sometimes your troops fail to respond to your commands. Pathfinding also suffers as the AI falls flat on its face when it has to traverse complex structures, which is sort of the essence of Minecraft.
Overall, the gameplay is engaging with good pacing and mostly hits the mark, but it can get repetitive due to a watered-down control scheme and faulty AI design. Teaming up with friends in co-op can increase the fun tenfold though, so I highly recommend getting a friend involved.
Visuals And Performance
No Minecraft Legends Review would not be complete without praising the visual style which is one of the strongest points of this title. It boasts a cel-shaded art style that provides an updated look at the Minecraft universe and adds an extra layer of depth and immersion to the world and makes it feel more vibrant. This unique style also complements the new creatures and mounts, which also feature unique new designs.
The variety of biomes is another visual standout, offering diverse landscapes just begging to be explored. From arid deserts to lush rainforests, each biome is carefully crafted and has a unique set of characteristics that differentiates it from the others. The excellent dynamic lighting and shadows further add to the already immersive art style, creating a more engaging atmosphere.
Character designs have fared even better visually as each mob in the game, especially the Piglins, has received a facelift. All of the skins have also been meticulously designed, allowing the player to express themselves however they see fit. The new character animations also make movements more fluid and dynamic, further enhancing the game’s appeal.
But despite being a visual treat, the performance seems to have taken a hit. The game’s framerate can be inconsistent with massive drops when the screen gets too busy during a big battle. These drops can hamper the fluidity of the movements and combat, and there are also occasional graphical glitches and pop-ups ranging from minor texture inconsistencies to disappearing units and structures. While not too frequent, these glitches can sometimes erode the visual appeal.
Minecraft Legends showcases a novel approach to the beloved universe by fusing it with the gameplay mechanics of the RTS genre, and the cel-shaded art style, the diverse biomes, and distinctive character designs further contribute to the immersive gameplay experience. However, it is held back by the limited options for commanding troops, pathfinding problems, framerate drops, and visual glitches.
Still, Minecraft Legends holds immense potential, and with technical refinements, content updates, and story expansions, it can easily evolve into a fan favorite among the community and real-time strategy aficionados. This is because the core gameplay loop, although simple, is engaging and can offer hours of entertainment. Minecraft fans might just have found another diamond before hitting bedrock.
This has been our Minecraft Legends Review. While you’re here, consider checking out some of our other articles.
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