minecraft legends review

minecraft legends review

minecraft legends review

need to know

what is it? An action strategy game where you command an army of Minecraft creatures to fight the invading Piglin faction.
Expect to pay: $40/£35
Developer: Mojang Studios / Blackbird Interactive
Publisher: Xbox Game Studios
commented on: Nvidia RTX 2070 Super, 32GB RAM, Intel i7 8700K
multiplayer game? Yes

Minecraft Legends captures the style of standard Minecraft well: the action-strategy spinoff features a new but familiar art style, a colorful world filled with creatures, and a procedural map to explore. It doesn’t bring the substance of Minecraft to the surface, though, and the result is a genre mashup that disappoints as both an action game and a strategy game.

I started in Minecraft Legends like I would in normal Minecraft: exploring different biomes – forests, wastelands, swamps, and tundra, but no caves, sorry – and gathering resources for things I wanted to build. I instruct my Allay friends to mine coal, iron or redstone and they automatically fill up my resource meter. One Allay fells the edge of the nearby forest, collecting 500 logs that I will use to build a wall around the village, while the other Allay collects surface iron veins so I can build a masonry building that will Upgrade to stone.

(Image credit: Blackbird Interactive / Mojang Studios)

My main goal is to take over the overworld by making my own army of Minecraft mobs to defeat three factions of escaped piglins from the Nether. Every night, we protect villages around the world from piglins. During the day, I rebuilt the fortifications and then launched my own attack on the piglin base.

Building forts and village fortifications is more practical than aesthetic – sorry Minecraft build artists, this is not our game. I distributed arrow towers unevenly to deal with attacking troops, squeezed carpenter huts between the pre-built houses in each village to repair other structures, and threw my air missile redstone launchers as far as they could go. I gave up any allegiance to symmetry and strung together defensive walls at ugly angles, knowing full well that they would be brought down by hordes of piglins at nightfall. I welcome this, even: the only way to remove misaligned walls is to painstakingly mail them one by one, so I’d rather leave the demolition to my enemies.

The days go by, sometimes faster than I realize, because I’m not allowed to pause in the menu even when playing alone, and each night a piglin might choose to attack one or more villages on my map. I prepare by building spawners for golems and skeletons, from which I can build new units as needed. Wave after wave of enemies arrived at night and took down the fortifications of my village, and it was at this point that I realized just how tragic combat in Minecraft Legends can be.

(Image credit: Blackbird Interactive / Mojang Studios)

strategic retreat

Legend avoids calling itself a real-time strategy game, opting instead for “action strategy” because I can control my hero character and command my troops from the ground, rather than a god-like RTS perspective. Ultimately, Legends ended up with a fighting style that suited neither action nor strategy. It requires intensive micromanagement with no real strategic depth.

Every battle made me less of an army commander and more of a guardian of preschoolers.

The only “action” in this fight was using a button to swing my sword back and forth, keeping the piglins away from my defensive structures. The strategy part was even worse: endless escort missions forced me to play helicopter parent for my own army. To start controlling the units I’ve built, I need to stand near them and press Q, waving my command banner to summon creatures in a small radius around me to follow. The initial cap was “lure” 15 monsters, which I could instruct to either attack a single target or congregate in one location.

(Image credit: Blackbird Interactive / Mojang Studios)

I could create slightly more specific commands that only ask ranged mobs to target lava launcher enemies, while asking my cobblestone golem to defend a hole in my outer wall – although those two commands only work with the few I’ve currently lured to me unit. If I want to change their direction, I have to ride over in person, wave my flag to get as many people as possible, then ride away to point them in a new direction. There is no overhead policy view to shorten this process. Many piglin outposts required me to build ramps so my mobs could reach enemy structures, and I often found them standing nonchalantly under the ramp after being knocked off a platform, forcing me to bring them back to the objective.

Every battle made me less of an army commander and more of a preschooler’s guardian, winding my way through my own base or an enemy’s fort, leading my toddler warriors by the hand. I often forget where I put them because my own defensive walls block my view of the battlefield, and the HUD compass isn’t a good substitute for a proper minimap.

Worst of all, Minecraft Legends isn’t as decent as an obvious dumpster fire.

Coming up with interesting strategies felt pointless because Minecraft Legends lacked the tools I needed to make all but the simplest of plans. I was hoping that attacking the largest fortress for each faction would be a fun challenge, they do require me to use my Allays to turn the neterrack into normal blocks that I can build my own structures on, but otherwise they’re just a fascinating Local version for all other battles: standing directly behind my units and watching them blink at enemy spawners until I need to give them a new order.

(Image credit: Blackbird Interactive / Mojang Studios)

Weak foundation

I’m reminded of Kingdom Under Fire 2, a particularly bad MMORTS I played years ago. For all its faults, one of the things I found admirable in KOF2 was how it combined Dynasty Warriors-style mob mowing with a streamlined strategy system. I can zoom in for action hotkey combat, or zoom out to quickly issue commands to units on the field. I really wish Minecraft Legends had tried the strategy command view. Even though tactical options are still limited, I’d probably have more fun if calling the shots didn’t tire me out so much.

I don’t even bother to mention the structure upgrade system because it’s pretty useless. In the center of the map, I can spend resources to build structures that increase my storage capacity for different materials, slightly increase the number of mobs I can build and lure, and unlock some effect tower areas that will freeze or knock back enemies, None of this makes the action more interesting or the strategy smarter.

Minecraft Legends also includes co-op and PvP, so I dutifully brought in PC Gamer writer Mollie Taylor to wreak havoc on the Horde at Bastion Keep. Unfortunately, co-op in Minecraft Legends only alleviates the game’s problems in the way most co-ops do: providing other people’s company in the monotony. Together we tightened our belts a bit on our mob, but we were still stuck in role-playing the troubled preschool teacher, and being a team didn’t allay our displeasure with the easy fights.

Worst of all, Minecraft Legends isn’t as decent as an obvious dumpster fire. As a piece of software, I have nothing to complain about; I didn’t experience any issues with frame rates, multiplayer connections, bugs, crashes, or control layout. But it was a disappointing game. Minecraft’s values ​​of creativity, intrinsic motivation, and player choice are not present in this superficial spin-off.

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Bart Thompson
Bart is's List Writer . He is from Houston, Texas, and is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in creative writing, majoring in non-fiction writing. He likes to play The Elder Scrolls Online and learn everything about The Elder Scrolls series.