Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Minecraft In-depth Review

It's a game that has taken the world by storm; it has emerged overnight and has sold millions of copies. And do you know what? It deserves it. It's a basic yet ingenious concept that makes the game so wonderful. Minecraft is an excellent example of "sandbox" gaming in its purest form. You are in a world with virtually no restrictions and you are free to do whatever you desire. There's no set goal or target, nor is there any real structure to the game. Minecraft is your world and how you play is entirely upto you. As well as the freedom being its ultimate strength, one has to say that it can serve as an equal downfall. Some players simply won't be able to grasp having no objectives. Others will embrace this feature with open arms. You will either love this game or hate it.

The world is made up of simple building blocks. You know how they say that the elements (on the Periodic Table) are the building blocks of the universe? Well, it's just that. The land, leaves, and animals are all made of blocks. Needless to say, if you don't like simple graphics, this game will be an eyesore. Even then, the designers have tried their utmost best to make the atmosphere vibrant and colourful.
Simplicity can be beautiful

The game revolves around a simple mechanism of "break in order to build". Minecraft is based around building your own world from the resources available in the environment. For example, the trees provide wood as their resource, which is one of the fundamental resources required for other activities such as mining or crafting. Once you understand this basic mechanic, the possibilities become endless. It's an extremely addictive concept. Perhaps one of the negatives in the game lie in this trial and error approach. There's no tutorial or help for any newbies; it can become frustrating at times to figure out certain things. This is why experimentation is so crucial to this game, however it often felt as an obstacle towards truly enjoying the game (for me). Albeit this is no major problem, you can easily utilise some external websites to guide you through the processes. Some may argue that experimentation is one of the brilliant ideas in the game yet, for me, it feels daunting as you plunge right into the depths of the game with no aid.
The huge resource system
Things may all be hunky-dory during the daylight hours but when the veil of darkness covers the world, things aren't the same. During the sinister twilight hours, hostile creatures spawn and the players (and creatures alike) are given an objective: survival. The armed zombies, spiders and skeletons only have one aim and that is to kill you. At this point, it's advisable to build a fortress or shelter of some kind in hope of defending against these creatures. Conversely you can take a weapon and brave the creatures of the night. A word of warning though, Minecraft was never truly designed for you to decimate hordes of monsters; you'll die swiftly especially if you're inexperienced. The most effective method is finding safety in your shelter; making use of your structures is the best defence. This perilous element to the game isn't necessary as you can choose "Peaceful" difficulty and avoid it completely. Although, I personally feel that the danger element is essential for you to truly become engaged with the game.
Eeeek! Zombies!
Once you have figured out the initial concepts of the game, the core-model is extremely forgiving. Minecraft doesn't possess a real-world physics game engine thus your structures won't crumble if they are unbalanced or a paradox. Do you want a mid-air empire? Sure, it's all possible! The game is designed for you to express creativity. The game's job is to simply let you create. There is one limitation though. Fire; it's incredibly merciless. It'll devour your entire island in a matter of minutes.

Even though the game is forgiving, at the same time it can be unforgiving. It's madness! No matter how safe you make your impenetrable fortress to be, a moment of complacency will result in death. Forgetting to place a torch in a room can result in your face being ravaged by a zombie in the morning. Creepers also add a sense of challenge to the game as these devious creatures explode. Yes, explode. Say bye-bye to your hours of work in a matter of seconds.

All in all, Minecraft is a beautiful game that can be equally rewarding, charming and entertaining as the many other games out there. Don't be deceived by its looks, the game is most certainly worth its price-tag. The wonderful thing is that the game possesses endless opportunities for upgrades. Notch and his developers are constantly adding new things to the game. Things like wolves, snow, weather cycles and much more. The game can only get better from here. There's even a multiplayer mode in the game. Minecraft is pure genius; it's simplicity at its best.

8.5/10

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