People are still playing Minecraft years and years after release. And for good reason: it’s pretty much the digital version of a wide-open sandbox. However some of us, myself included, don’t always have the patience to start small and build large, we just want some action.
There may be some hope for this in Minecraft Legends, which is the joint venture of Mojang Studios and Blackbird Interactive. It’s a 3D open-world RTS-like fantasy game set in the Minecraft universe. Wander around the world, gather materials, summon golems, build stuff, and save the peaceful villagers from an onslaught of pig creatures threatening all of blocky creation.
What Is Minecraft Legends?
Minecraft has been around so long that you could probably fill a library with Minecraft fan fiction. However, that doesn’t mean some folks aren’t gonna try and come up with an official story to tell in Minecraft Legends. In the unnamed world where Minecraft exists, all life is watched over by the guardians of Foresight, Knowledge, and Action.
Of course, this means that the Nether is among these realms with all its denizens within. Among them are a race of humanoid pig creatures, conveniently named the Piglins, who are not satisfied with the Nether. To resolve this, all the Piglin leaders come together, construct various Nether Portals and launch a full-scale invasion of the world. Although the guardians are powerless to stop them, they’re able to thrust all of this world-saving responsibility upon a nameless hero who is worthy enough to wield their power… That’s you, by the way.
The Legends Themselves
Legends can come from a variety of sources, and as long as they’re captivating somehow, then they have value. Minecraft Legends have a lot of value that you can experience at your leisure. First off, it stays true to the Minecraft aesthetic. Everything is as blocky as it’s always been, but with a nice coat of cel-shading and high-definition upgrades. The themes of harvesting, gathering, building, and constructing are all there, but now you have a purpose.
These are no longer tools that you can just use as you want. Instead, they are now weapons in your fight to save the world so that people can continue to build in peace. It really is a whole new way to experience Minecraft in a way that streamlines the process by giving you magical powers instead of just two hands to make you feel like a fantasy adventurer.
Overall, the whole experience is very empowering. Even though you are a random arrangement of custom parts with whatever name you want, you really do feel like the chosen hero. In the first few minutes, you gain a bag of powers to allow you to rip up the very world you walk through for your own personal glory. While fairies are harvesting the materials in the background, you’re free to explore and tend to the matters at hand.
To help your quest, you can build structures to navigate the world more easily, like bridges which will be built in seconds. Lastly, you’ve got the power to make your own mob spawners as long as you’ve got the materials and the space. With the fires of life, you can summon an entourage of cute but tough little golems that will follow you up mountains and to the ends of the earth. Make your own party of adventurers cover as many bases as possible so that you can defeat as many enemy bases as possible.
Now, where’s a potent sense of adventure without a vast world to unleash it upon? The Minecraft worlds have always been big, so this wasn’t difficult to throw it into a fantasy quest. The fact that the game presents a zoomed-out third-person perspective really shows off the scale and diversity of the overworld.
This is complemented by the fact that you’ve got a horse with seemingly unlimited stamina, fears nothing, can jump up mountains, and cross oceans if the need calls for it. You can spend every play session roaming and just taking in all the scenery. It can be quite relaxing and beautiful in spite of the ongoing Piglin invasion. But, if you run into some action along the way, it winds up being just the shot of excitement needed to break up your journey.
So, how does this rank among all the different Minecraft experiences out there? Well, it’s certainly accessible, with its tutorial and all the actions mapped neatly that even controller users can appreciate. Within a few button pushes, you can be carrying out several operations at once all the while riding your horse and swinging your sword. It’s a game that you can jump right into for a few minutes or lose hours to it as your try to push back the Piglins. To add to the fun in true Minecraft fashion, you can also play with other players to join forces and save the world together with reliable multiplayer.
Holes in the Minecraft Legends
Legends are always gonna have points that invite a lot of questions. The more questions they attract, the more holes can be poked into them. Minecraft Legends has pretty solid foundation, but some cracks are hard to hide. The biggest issue is the degree of separation caused by the RTS element. Your avatar may actually be in the world leading the charge and giving orders, but it feels more like general management.
You have a sword to swing when things get hairy, but you’ll always have a loyal band of followers to get between you and the danger. Although your health is the most important, enemies don’t tend to focus on you in favor of your little golem buddies. You do feel like the chosen hero, but with powers that they normally get as they near the end of the journey which kind of lowers their value.
Going back to the scale of the world, there are a lot of ups and downs in the landscape. That means there’s a very real risk that your summoned units will get stuck or lost forcing you to build structures just to recall them.
There’s also a feeling of emptiness in this large vibrant environment. Your only limits as to where you can go are where you want to go, but you’re not likely to find anything unless you’re following the compass. You may come across something interesting on your own, but just like in outer space, there’s a whole lot of space. Roam for the sake of roaming since the exhilaration of finding just one diamond deposit after hours of digging is no longer here.
Becoming Part of the Legend
Minecraft Legends is an RTS fantasy-adventurer game set in the Minecraft universe where players use world-manipulating power to fight back a force of Piglins. It’s a fast, smooth, and enjoyable take on the Minecraft concept, with everything feeling empowering and easy to use. The problem is that it’s almost too empowering, which cheapens the abilities you have, while at the same time making you take a back seat to all the units left doing the work for you. You may be a manager, but you’re still able to play a hands-on role in an adventure that has the chance to make you a Minecraft legend.
We played Minecraft Legends through Xbox PC Game Pass. It’s also available on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation, and Xbox.