Minecraft Review

At long last, it's done.

It’s been a long time in the making, but after two years of development and open beta, Minecraft 1.0 was finally released as a full game on November 18, 2011.  Inspired by Infiniminer, a less successful game, Minecraft is a sandbox construction game in which the player creates and destroys blocks in a randomly generated world.  There’s a lot to do within the game itself, including multiple game modes for single and multiplayer.

Minecraft has come a long way since its unveiling back in 2009.  What had originally been a simple mining and building game became much more within the months to follow.  The introduction of mine carts and rails, Redstone as a means to create electricity and complex circuits, and most recently the addition of enchanting tables and brewing stands.  One can spend hours mining for valuable ores, or can spend that same time building fantastic structures, although this usually requires some mining so that you have the necessary materials.  Because maps are randomly generated you will never end up with the same world twice, unless you are to use a “world seed” so that you have an idea of what environment you will be in.

Single player in Minecraft has a few options for players to choose from.  Those interested in survival, mining, and fighting can choose between either Survival Mode or Hardcore.  In these modes you have a life, food, and experience bar.  If you take health damage, either from combat or otherwise, you’ll rely on your food bar to restore your health.  When your food bar starts to drop you’ll have to find something to eat unless you plan on starving to death.  Your experience bar is filled with experience orbs that can be obtained by killing different creatures, known as mobs.  Enemy mobs such as zombies or skeletons give more experience than a non-hostile creature such as a pig or cow.  When you fill your experience bar, the player gains an experience point which can be spent on enchantments for tools.  However, your experience and points are reset to zero if you die.  For those who are just interested in building, there is the option of Creative Mode.  In this mode the player is invincible, can fly, and has access to just about every block type in the game.  For those you don’t have, you can simply craft them as you already have all the materials you need anyway.

Multiplayer offers a wide range of possibilities, making it possible to experience all these different game modes with other players.  Anyone with the time and know-how can set up their own server, allowing them and their friends to play on the same world.  To “end” a game successfully, players needs to find an Ender Dragon and defeat it.  The same goes for single player, although there’s no real story that explains the dragon, why they need to be defeated, or what the significance of destroying one would be.  This can be seen as one of the game’s few shortcomings, as there are no real quests or objectives given to the player.  If the player wants to “end” the game they simply have to find a dragon, and that in itself is no simple task.

For a game comprised solely of blocks, Minecraft is a beautiful game.  The blocky design is uncommon in today’s games, giving Minecraft a particular charm about it, and making it stand out from the rest of the games already out there.  For those who don’t like the textures of the base game, installing a texture pack to change the look of the game is relatively simple.  Minecraft, despite always being a “set of blocks,” is a very customizable game, and can be made to look the way you want it to.

As a full game, Minecraft only costs around $27.  There are few games out there for this price that can offer you the same open world experience, along with the chance to create incredible structures, embark on an epic journey, and just goof around with friends.  Frankly, there are few games out there period that can offer you an experience close to that of Minecraft.  Whether you have an idea of what you want to build, or just want to walk around or mine for hours, Minecraft is an incredible fun game, and an accessible one at that.

Pros:

  • Massive open-world adventure
  • Easy to create mods and textures for
  • Very accessible, with an unlimited number of ways to play

Cons:

  • No story or quests
  • Not all changes to the game are welcomed by veterans of Minecraft
  • You won’t always spawn in a world that it’s easy to survive in
Score: 5/5
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About George Alex

George is a co-founder of Zero Period Productions, a small gaming-centric production team. He works for the Zero Period team as a commentator, video editor, writer, and creative lead for the group he helped to found.