Review by metroid331

"Minecraft is a Welcome Change in the Gaming Industry."

Few games today allow players the freedom to play a game any way they want. This is where Minecraft differs. Minecraft is a sandbox building indie video game for the computer. It was created by Swedish developer Markus Persson and his company Mojang AB. There is no clear goal or objective in Minecraft, the only limit in this game is your imagination. The game uses textured cubes in a 3D environment, you place the blocks on the ground and build anything you can possibly imagine. Minecraft is still in development and can only be purchased from the official website for thirteen British Pounds, but that hasn't stopped it from selling over a million copies as of January 2011. When you purchase the game now during the Beta you are helping to fund the developer since Minecraft is an indie title, not backed by a big name publisher like EA or Activision.

There are currently two versions of the game available, Classic and Beta. Classic mode allows the player to only build; you are given an infinite amount of material in the game and you build whatever you want. This game mode is free to play by anyone but it is not updated. Beta mode is the version that is constantly updated but you must buy the game to play it. I have played the Beta version of the game. Beta mode has a night and day cycle in which you start with nothing, you spawn in an open world that is randomly generated. Once you spawn, you can build anything you like, but during nighttime, monsters spawn so most people build a shelter on the first day. In Beta, you must collect all the materials you need to craft your own tools and other items.

First off, how are the graphics in Minecraft you ask? Well, this game doesn't offer the intense high definition visuals gamers are accustomed to in games like the Call of Duty series, Crysis, and the Battlefield series. When you jump into the world of Minecraft, don't expect radiant environments that require high-end computers to run the game on a higher setting than medium. Minecraft has its own approach to the graphics department. Minecraft embraces a style that can be easily labeled as an ‘indie' game. An indie game is made by an independent game company without a publisher, they often have their own unique look and are highly creative (Braid and World of Goo are both popular indie games like Minecraft with different visual styles). The cubes are simple in design yet offer a unique look that makes this game stand out among other titles. If you don't like how the game looks that's not a problem, many players have created texture packs that are distributed around the internet to give the game a different look. You can also download skins for your character. These skins allow you to change what you look like since everyone looks the same.

The sound in Minecraft was composed by Daniel Rosenfeld. There are not many songs in the game so far yet the ones that are present suit the game well. All of the music is comprised of ambient songs that give the game a nostalgic feeling of old 8-bit soundtracks, but at the same time it has been given a more modern feel that you can tell doesn't sound like it is coming out of a Game Boy. Since the game is still in development, we might expect more music to be added in the future. There are times where you have nothing but silence except for the sound of your pick hitting the stone wall of your mine. The sounds for the monsters and farm animals are simple but it separates the game from its competitors. Keeping with the game's retro vibe (with almost everything in the game being in the shape of a cube), the sound for the creatures feels right at home in Minecraft.

The addictive game play is why so many people are hooked on Minecraft. With such an open world, anything is possible. If you get bored of building structures, go and mine. Maybe while mining you pop into a cave system that leads to a dungeon. You now go to explore the dungeon looking for the treasure while fighting off the creepers that seem to always be following you. This game can easily engross you in just a few minutes of play time. It is so addictive you can lose many hours of your life just trying to build your house.

Replay value is a big thing to gamers currently. You don't want to waste $60 on a game that ends eight hours in with no reason to replay the game a second time. Minecraft on the other hand has as much replay value as you want it to. The surface area of the game is supposed to be 8x that of the Earth's surface so running out of building space is highly unlikely. The game lets you build about twelve or so blocks above the clouds and enables you to mine to the bedrock of the map. There is more room to build horizontally in the game rather than vertically. If you get bored in your world, just go and create a new one, the game automatically generates a random world and spawns you on the surface. You can be in a desert in one world, but spawn in a winter forest another. Spawning is when the character is revived once he has died in the game. This is often called ‘respawning' since the player is created at the beginning of the game and thus he has already ‘spawned' once before. In this case spawning refers to when the player is first created in a new world. If you get tired of playing by yourself, you can hop into the multiplayer game mode; you will need an IP address to join a server since multiplayer is still being developed. In multiplayer you can do everything you can in single player (aside from entering the Nether which is currently disabled). There are also many servers that change what you can do (survival from a tidal wave of lava, for example). In the most recent update, the way the save files were stored was changed, you are no longer limited to five save spots. Now you are allowed as many saves as you want, or as many as your computer can hold on the hard drive, leaving you with the choice of how many worlds you want to create and not be forced to delete an old one when you want to make more than five.

In the end Minecraft leaves you with a warm fuzzy feeling after you just finished harvesting that pocket of diamond ore. The final verdict is a 90/100. Minecraft has some flaws and glitches since it is still being developed, on the other hand that is also the beauty of the game, it is still being updated with new items and monsters. This is a perfect game for anyone wanting to express their creative side. Both hardcore and casual gamers can easily get hooked on Minecraft. So get out there and build a giant statue of yourself out of dirt, no one will stop you… except for creepers.

Sorry if this review seems a bit technical, this was a paper for my English class. Also its a bit dated, wrote it a couple months back.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 05/10/11

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

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