Review by bmaster154

"Judging a book by its cover has never been so painful."

Let's put it straight: Minecraft is that game a lot of you have heard about, but some aren't sure of how it works, or what you do in it. Your first reaction may be to go, oh I don't know, check out some images of the game perhaps. The first thing you see? A world of blocks you could possibly have seen in Super Mario 64, or a game of its time. Then you might be tempted to ignore this game for the rest of your life, and look for something else. If that is what you plan to do.... STOP. RIGHT. THERE.

What you may be about to skip is a jewel; a work of art like no other, and it is Minecraft: One of the most open-ended games you will ever see, and one with a lot of potential at that. Why is it so magnificent, and why do you hear about it almost anywhere these days? There are various reasons, which I will gladly explore with you, one per one. So let us begin with the beginning, future Minecrafter.

The Gameplay

Many people agree that the gameplay is the essence itself of a game. A game has to be fun to play, especially when you plan on playing it a while. But have no fear, for Minecraft is an addictive game which will keep you hooked on for a long time. The idea itself seems a little simple: You take blocks, which you amass about anywhere in the game world, and place them somewhere else. Or, you do the same with other kind of objects, which you may place on, over, under or anywhere around these blocks. But this is all it needs to work perfectly. If the first impression you have is that it is awfully easy, then... I'd suggest you wait until night time. And if it's still easy... Change the difficulty setting from Peaceful to whatever you desire.

Now you will understand a much more complex side of Minecraft, and that is survival. You weren't just going to take random blocks and put them anywhere else, were you? Oh no, you have to build (and craft, in this context) a house, fort, hideout or any other flavor of protection to defend yourself from the monsters of the night. That's right: monsters, such as skeletons and zombies. But it doesn't stop there: A wide array of mobs will be looking for your flesh when the moon shows up, so you have to find a secure place to live through the night. How will you do this? It's up to you, for every Minecrafting experience is unique. You may have spawned in a desert, and have to construct a base of sand and cactus. Or, you'd be right next to a mountain which explodes with coal, where you'll set your castle and dig deep through the surface to hit jackpot...

The important is that you try and survive, day after day after night, and construct an ever-growing domicile. You might cry. You might be angry. You might want to hunt every single creature of darkness to avenge the home that was once yours... But I'll let you choose your path, and write the story of your Minecraft world.

Although this is the main idea of the gameplay, there is much more to it. You can farm, fish and hunt for food, which will help you last longer. You can equally dig deep underground, whether it be to find a vein of diamonds, or a lake of lava. Craft all your tools, one by one, and become the most dangerous adventurer, armed up to the teeth. Build a town, a house at a time, to establish the most prosperous settlement of the world. Or, if you feel like it, venture forth in search of dungeons full of creepy (and sometimes explosive) mobs, with its share of treasure.

In fact, you can do all of the above, because there is no time limit! Explore all possibilities of Minecraft, as I have, and maybe you'll also give it a 10 out of 10, like me.

The Story

If you have already played this game, you might be wondering why I am including this section. Well, it is for the sake of clearing up some questions, and establish some points. To speak the truth, Minecraft doesn't have (yet) a story. That is, not an apparent one. But I felt the need to add that if you look very hard, it has a story. Yours.

As you play through Minecraft, in whatever way may please your mind, you'll slowly form a tale of truth; one that explains how a simple person crafted their way to either fame, or oblivion. Each story will be different, and each one will explore the beauty of the game. You might play through several different randomly-generated worlds, and live a different experience each time throughout. And even if you don't want a story, it is there, somewhere, waiting for you to keep it alive.

I will not rate the story section of this game, because it will vary from horrid to divine, from a gamer to another. Your story is yours and yours alone, so stand up and write it.

The Graphics

Alright, here it is. The moment when I will have to find a way of proving that this game's graphics are gorgeous, or at least decent. Let's be honest: As for what the PC is capable of handling, this is nothing. Nada. Zero. But does it truly matter? If you live for graphics and graphics only, I will ask you to turn around and slowly withdraw. That is, unless your attention has been aroused by what I have explained so far. If it's the case, then please keep reading. Minecraft has a blocky world with graphics... That are unique, to say the least. However, for this game, they are just fine. More than that, they are just perfect. I never expected an aesthetically godly game when I bought Minecraft. Likewise, I did not guess I would be drawn so thoroughly into it.

So it is true in this case that Minecraft is more than the eye can see. Let me give an example of how keeping an open-mind here will save your life. My friend saw Minecraft one day, a few videos maybe but nothing more. I bought the game a while later, and got hooked. I then told him he should really try it, but he was not interested. I thought for a moment, then said I decided to buy him the game as a little present, nothing more. And it took just that... for him to be hooked as well. A few minutes in only, he commented not on the graphics anymore, and spoke only of the gameplay and what he planned on building.

Will you accept the graphics as they are- mediocre on PC, at best- and give it a chance? I did, and I regret nothing. To me, the game world is now gorgeous, and I make it better every day. So, whilst it is only my opinion, I give the graphics a 9. There ARE texture packs you can download and apply to your game, if your system can handle it. Those may change your mind a bit as well, so you might want to check that out, too...

Sounds and Music

I always tend to prefer games with some good musical accompaniments, and so it surprises me not Minecraft pleases me so much. The sound effects are, first of all, clear enough to explain what just happened. If there's a cow on the other side of the wall, you'll know it. If you jumped from too high a distance, you'll know it. And if you hear a "Sshhhhhhhh", goodbye. In short, sounds are detailed, true, and sometimes a little terrifying. But they do their job like they should, and for that I thank them.

Then there's the music. Ah, sweet compositions that come and go as you advance through the world. Most songs will have you by setting the mood or ambiance, and others will plainly make the game more fun. Playing deep inside a cave without music sure is stressful, especially when you hear spiders stalking you, but then there's that little musical moment that calms down the atmosphere. At other moments though, they'll do just the opposite!

I personally find the music very satisfying, so I rarely play without. A satisfactory set of tracks such as this one deserves at least a 9, in my book.

Play Time

I didn't have to search very hard to find something to say in this review about any of the game aspects, least of all here. Minecraft will last as long as you want, and you will discover new stuff every day. If you decide to expand your already great kingdom, don't worry as it will take dedication. It might be easy at times, difficult at others, but in the end you'll have marked the history of Minecraft, and that's a very satisfying feeling.

Through the legions of hours you'll play, there will be funny moments, sorrowful ones and plenty of joyful memories. You may construct something, then an enemy will blow it up or tear it down. But it'll be even more fun to re-build! Honestly, all I can add is that if you want to keep playing, you will. And Minecraft will always find reasons for you to keep playing. This great re-playability gives the game a good 10, truthfully.

Conclusion

The big question: should you buy this game? By all means, yes, you should. There is nothing to lose, because this game is only a mere 9.95 That is, until December 20, when the game will crawl out of Alpha and go to Beta. Then the price will slightly rise, but even for 40$ I'd have bought it. It deserves every penny you spend on it, believe it or not. By now, I hope I have convinced you that Minecraft is a masterpiece that has to mark the gaming world. Giving it a final 9/10, my only complaint is that I will never be able to fully explore the limits of the game...


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 01/05/11

Game Release: Minecraft (Classic) (US, 05/10/09)


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