Review by JonWood007
Reviewed: 05/20/11 | Updated: 03/02/12
Very amazing game....at least for a while.
When I first heard of Minecraft, I was skeptical. I mean, here is a game that started development in the last couple of years, and it looks like Doom. It has no plot, and players spend most of your time fighting monsters, mining, and building stuff. I mean, how the heck can that succeed against other modern titles?! Surprisingly it does, and in some ways even exceeds many games with more flashy graphics and a story line. Its simple game play provides many hours of entertainment, although it eventually can grow boring.
As I mentioned, the game looks like Doom, or at least like Quake 1 graphically. While there are texture packs to make it look a little better, in its original form, everything is highly pixelated. However, graphics are not supposed to be the main feature of this game, and considering what they do, they are sufficient.
The audio seems fine. The sound effects and monster sounds are appropriate. The weather effects in the latest patch (1.5 at the time of review) sound surprisingly realistic. It could use a little more musical variety, but there is nothing stopping the players from listening to their own music while playing.
The controls are intuitive enough. They are customizable to an extent. However, a problem (at least in my opinion) is the lack of ability to remap the mouse keys. While it does not make sense to do such remapping on a desktop, it can be preferable to do so while playing with a laptop track pad. Other than this flaw, they are fine.
Game Play: 10/10
There are three ways to play this game: survival mode, hardcore mode, and creative mode. The survival mode has pretty good game play. Players start off in a world, and can start using their hands to gather certain basic resources. These resources can be used to make tools, which are then used to gather more advanced resources. This game also has a day and night cycle. During the day, it is relatively safe to be outside, but one will want shelter at night because monsters will come out. As the game progresses, players dig deep caves, mine resources, and then build stuff. The building aspect is particularly fun; it is basically like a virtual form of Legos. While it is theoretically possible to build anything in survival mode, it is much easier to do so in creative mode. In this mode, players are indestructible, have infinite amounts of blocks, and can fly. This is good for those who want to skip the survival aspects of this game and just build. There is also hardcore mode, which is like survival mode except players do not respawn when they die; the world is instead deleted. I do not find the idea of hardcore mode to be particularly fun, although I can understand why some people would want to play it if they want a challenge.
The game is also almost completely moddable. While I am normally not a big fan of mods, they can be used to introduce new features into the game, or even bypass features that one would not like to deal with (like tedious resource gathering). Once again, the possibilities are endless, and players often take advantage of such mods to do very interesting things. There really is no wrong way to play this game, unless you go online and grief by breaking other peoples' creations. However, there are even mods that mitigate the damage that griefers can inflict on other players. The only thing that this game truly lacks is a multiplayer server list in game. While one exists on the Minecraft website, in game people must type in individual IPs in order to connect. It is fairly tedious compared to like every other game out there, which has a server list.
Fun Factor: 8/10
The game is very fun, at least for a while. When I first got the game, I was addicted to it. I played for many hours, explored many caves, and built many grand structures. It seriously provided me with hundreds of hours of fun game play. However, I grew bored with it over time. First, I found exploring caves to be repetitive, since almost all of them are the same or very similar; once you have seen a couple caves, you have seen them all. Next, I grew bored with gathering resources to build anything, since that too is extremely repetitive (at least as far as survival mode went, which used to be the only mode for Minecraft). Finally, I just ran out of ideas of what to build. At this point, I have trouble playing Minecraft; it is just boring, repetitive, and tedious. Again, I should emphasize that I only grew bored after spending hundreds of hours playing, but it will likely happen to anyone who plays if they spend enough time on it.
Since the game has exited beta, is not very buggy, although its optimization is questionable. Some versions of the game work well, but then when they get updated, performance is much worse. Eventually, Mojang will release a version of the game that gives performance enhancements, but these are often short lived as performance drops with subsequent updates. At best, the game runs on even relatively low end systems fine (I know people who can run this on 9400m integrated graphics). At worst, one may need a decently powerful PC to run it properly; it varies depending on how optimized the latest version of the game is.
Replay Value: 10/10
Overall, the replay value of this game is theoretically limitless; the game is what you make it. Moreover, each new version adds all kinds of new content into the game.
Difficulty/Learning Curve: 10/10
This game can be difficult going into it if one has no idea what to do, but if one acquaints themselves to the game via Youtube videos and wikis before hand, it can be fairly easy to learn. If one wants to play with monsters, they can add a level of difficulty, although most of this is toward the beginning of the world; in an established world, monsters pose little to no threat within established areas. I suppose the game can be made more difficult, but there are mods for this. It is fine as it is. Crafting things can also be difficult at first, but if one chooses to consult a wiki, they can learn quickly. Like the rest of the game, the difficulty is only as intense as the player makes it.
Overall, Minecraft is an excellent game that is well worth most peoples' time. Some may not find this kind of game fun, but I would encourage most to at least try it; it can be very addicting, and provide many hours of enjoyment. However, while the game theoretically has infinite replay value, I would argue that after spending several hundred hours playing, it may grow boring and tedious to play. However, by then, it is safe to say you will have likely gotten your money's worth out of it and then some.
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Product Release: Minecraft (Classic) (US, 05/10/09)
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