Review by WeeblsPie

"Do Anything."

I had been monitoring Minecraft for the better part of a year, but had never really had the chance to fully experience it. Then the free weekend came along. Suddenly I experienced a strange case of having all of my free time suddenly vanish. Hours seemed like minutes as I plowed through a world of adventure and opportunity. Minecraft had enthralled me, I was hooked and I threw down my $14 to buy it as soon as the free weekend ended. I struggle to remember a time I have found myself so addicted to a game and the best part is that it never ends.

Graphics - 7/10

To the untrained eye, the graphics in Minecraft seem to be terrible. Every block in the game is the same, just a texture swap. Those who have played Minecraft before however, know that it serves the game well. It keeps things simple and suits the style of game perfectly. There are also a wide variety of texture packs available on the web and Markus "Notch" Persson, the creator of Minecraft, has encouraged the community to mod the game as they see fit. I do feel that the default textures could definitely see some improvement. I should not need to go out and download a new pack right at the start, but the default textures serve admirably.

The dynamic water effects in this game are very interesting to play around with, allowing for the creation of a variety of interesting architecture, from aqueducts to water slides. I have had some issues with it in the past and it definitely needs some work.

Sound - 9/10

In the same vein as the graphics, the sound in this game is very basic. There are many points in the game where a player could stand still and hear silence. This lack of noise does have a few upsides, it makes sudden encounters with enemies that much more shocking. Many times I have been working in solitude, only to suddenly hear a noise of dread appear behind me, usually in the form of a creeper, a silent hunter that rushes forward and explodes. The only warning one will get is the sound of a fuse burning away before the resounding boom rocks their screen and they find themselves killed.

The other way that sound has a large impact on play is when taking part in the titular activity of this game, mining. Imagine working deep underground with only the sound of your pick striking rock when a sudden. low pitched moan suddenly surrounds you. You quickly turn in all directions attempting to place the sound to a source, but see nothing. You have just encountered a situation that many players will usually find themselves in. Your mine is close to an underground cavern, one that is likely crawling with enemies, but you have no idea where it is. That next strike of a rock and you could find yourself face to face with mortal danger.

They say silence is golden. In this case, silence can serve as a great ally as you attempt to survive against the world.

Gameplay - 10/10

Gameplay in Minecraft is a difficult subject to grasp. Those who are true fans of this game know the difficulty of trying to explain what Minecraft truly is to someone without the experience. The tagline of this review serves as my usual explanation to these people, "Do Anything". That is what Minecraft really is. You arrive in a world with endless opportunities and only one objective. Whatever you could ever want to create is lying there in front of you and all around you are the tools that you need to achieve it. Community sites are filled to the brim with amazing creations, castles, skyscrapers, monuments, cities, empires, its there in all it's glory.

The premise of Minecraft is quite simple. The story has yet to be written. The world can be whatever you want it to be. Your goal of the first day is to build up a place to survive the night, from there on you can do whatever you please. While you play, you soon discover that light is your best ally, as at night the world of peace, filled with pigs, sheep and cows is suddenly replaced by a world of danger, where zombies, spiders, creepers and arrow shooting skeletons will hunt you down. They will only spawn in darkness, so keeping your home as bright as possible will keep you safe. The same logic applies to the caves and dungeons you will find underground, enemies can spawn anywhere as long as there is darkness, even in your home or mine. While you work at building anything you want, you will need to venture to the depths of the world in search of resources that will allow you to build stronger, more effective tools and weapons. That's pretty much it. The world is yours to create.

Minecraft also comes with a multiplayer survival mode, turning the empty world of single player into a much larger stage, where projects that could take days to complete on your own can be completed in a day. Beware though, multiplayer is open to the dangers of greifing. Servers can be very strict, so make sure you know what you're doing or you could find yourself banned rather quickly.

Minecraft, as simple as it may appear, blows many games currently out on the market out of the water in terms of enjoyment. It allows you to create endless worlds filled with endless opportunities. It was an amazingly ambitious project to attempt and it's being pulled off on an incredibly successful level. Markus Persson deserves a ton of accolades for undergoing such a project. It's funny to see that a simple server crash has led to this game finally receiving the attention it rightfully deserves, but it is great to see that Persson is finally seeing his project hit the mainstream. I foresee great success for Persson and Minecraft in the future.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 10/01/10

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

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