Saturday, June 6, 2020

Review: Minecraft Dungeons (Xbox One)

Style: Single-player/Multiplayer (online or local), action RPG, dungeon crawler | Publisher: Xbox Game Studios | Developer: Mojang Studios, Double Eleven | Release: May 26, 2020 | Rating: E

Score: 7/10

Introduction:
The name of the game gives it away. Minecraft Dungeons is a overhead dungeon-crawler, similar to Diablo. And that is how I like to describe to friends. Imagine a Diablo-like game, with a Minecraft skin. It is Diablo for kids. But do not let that "for kids" description pull you away from not playing the game. Underneath the Minecraft mask, you actually have a quite enjoyable and charming game despite some minor flaws. 

Review:
The opening cutscenes tells the story of Archie, a homeless Illager, who is shunned and rejected by everyone he comes in contact with. One day, he stumbles upon an artifact known as the "Orb of Dominance," which provides him great powers, but also corrupts him in the process. The power-hungry "Arch-Illager" goes on a vengeance spree, enslaving the people of the world under his rule with his new army. This is where you come in. The hero who is to stand up to the Arch-Illager and end is tyrannical rule.

Playing the game is simple. Dive into the dungeon, kill all the baddies, grab the loot, get stronger, and do it all over again. Each dungeon sees you travel across the world, eventually meeting the Arch-Illager face-to-face. There are many different types of dungeons, ranging from swamps, deserts, and fields and many different paths to explore. It is procedurally generated as well, however, the dungeons do follow certain rules. Each time you go into a dungeon you will find it different but also familiar. You are also able to change the difficulty depending on your level, both by yourself and with a party. The higher the difficulty, the better rewards and experience you get. 


The environment is charming and if you are a fan of the original Minecraft, you will love the art style. It is still the same large, blocked, and pixelated graphics you know and love. Each dungeon is unique in their own charming way and gives you a sense of accomplishment as you beat the dungeon and travel to the new ones as they unlock. The music is also very similar to the original. In your camp, you will notice the somber and relaxing music that put you at ease in the original game. It does pick up when you are in combat and each level has its own music and effects. Simply put, the game is charming, just like its predecessor. But this is where the good stuff ends. 


Two major problems in the game, which really hurt it, are lack of loot and depth. You are provided six equipment slots: one melee weapon, one armor, one ranged weapon, and three artifacts. There just isn't much loot to go around. After about the mid-point of the game, I just kept getting upgraded versions of the same stuff. The game tries to fix this by allowing you to enchant the weapons and armor, which provide it different properties. These range from a lightening attack, increase attack speed, or increased health. But even these are very limited! The game also lacks a Minecraft staple in crafting. There are stores in the base camp but no crafting at all. One kind of good thing is there is no class system so you can equip anything, but this also has flaws because it allows Mojang to get away with the lack of loot. It also makes you play very similar builds if you are in a party because, honestly after awhile, you know what the best stuff is. The game also lacks the depth in story. It's very weak but you can expect that from Minecraft. The issue is dungeon-crawlers need to have a compelling story or combat and gameplay gets old fast. The dungeons are quite long and there is 10 dungeons altogether, but the story doesn't make me want to keep playing. I beat a dungeon and I am good for a day or two. I did have fun playing multiplayer, though. I only played local with my five-year-old son, but I can assure it it's much more fun with people. Still, after a dungeon or two, I wanted to stop. The story and the lack of rewards just made me.

The game received a 7/10 from me because the game is very well thought out a
nd designed. Gameplay really has no issues. However, the game suffers from a lack of depth, both in loot and story. If the game provide more of both at launch or stayed true to the original Minecraft and allowed you to craft loot, it certainly would receive a much better score. At this time, I just can not force myself to give the game anything higher, despite me really wanting to. I did not have crazy expectations for this game, but I think there could be more added that would have
really boosted the score.

Conclusion:
Minecraft Dungeons is currently priced at $20 and is a fair value for the amount of action and story you are given. For an extra $10, you can upgrade to the "hero edition," which provides a few skins and two future DLC updates. There is one DLC teased on the map already. Of course if you are an Xbox Game Pass owner, this game is provided with the service as Minecraft is an official IP of Microsoft. This does not come with the skins, but is likely to include the upcoming DLCs as all other Xbox Game Studios do. If you do buy it or play it on Game Pass, you will certainly have a good time. It is enjoyable enough to playthrough and is better when you have friends (my son and I loved with the game together). However, the major flaw is a lack of real loot. As I stated, you only get upgraded versions of the same loot you get all game. Yes, you can change the properties via enchantments, but this system is limited as well. While the lack of class system allows you to play any type of character, at any time, there is not real difference between any loot or friendly player. The short campaign leaves you wanting more, that hopefully regularly updated DLC will provide. I assess it will suffer from a beat-it-and-forget-it fate until the DLC comes out. Regardless, I recommend picking the game up and giving it a go because the price value is perfect. If you have kids, it is a fun game to play with them. You shouldn't be that disappointed. 

Tangibles 
  • Concept: Dungeon crawler...with a Minecraft skin!
  • Visuals: It's Minecraft! So, you know what you are getting. Pixelated, block graphics. Stays true to the original.
  • Sound: Reminds me of playing Minecraft. Somber music during low tempo areas, but does pick up to nice battle worthy ensembles when the fighting picks up.
  • Gameplay: Expect a Diablo-like combat and equipment system with major downgrades. Repetitive hack-n-slash combat but most enemies die quickly so it isn't as boring as you'd expect.
  • Entertainment: Great, new take on an old IP. Better when playing with a group of friends either local or online.
  • Replay Value: Moderate

No comments:

Post a Comment