Minecraft 1.0 Review — A Perfect 10?

“Wait, what was that about a dragon? I thought you said this was Lego Land, not Skyrim.”

That’s right; Minecraft has its own fauna of creatures, known as “mobs,” that roam the countryside and lurk in caves. Idyllic days yield to haunted nights in the game’s 20-minute day/night cycle: 10 minutes of peace followed by 10 minutes of terror.

When the sun is up, you’ll be treated to sheep and chickens and other docile animals that you can shear, eat, and breed. But come sunset, you’d best seek shelter, because zombies, skeletons, and Minecraft’s infamous “creepers” all want a piece of you. Haven’t heard of creepers? These green monsters silently creep up on you and then explode, destroying blocks in their blast radius, leaving a crater in the ground, and potentially killing you.

Death in Minecraft can be a major setback: you drop everything you’re carrying and respawn at your original spawn point, or a bed — you’ll want to craft one of those, by the way, because they allow you to skip the night sequence altogether. Your first order of business is thus to build a house to shelter you from hostile mobs and to stash your excess gear. Then you can start fighting back by crafting weapons and armor.

Minecraft has a good variety in mobs, but its selection of weapons and armor is disappointingly small and mundane. I affectionately called Terraria a 2D version of Minecraft with added action-RPG elements. Intentionally or coincidentally, Minecraft seems to have been returning the favor by borrowing ideas from Terraria — such as the addition of a “boss monster” — and given the direction Minecraft is taking to include more action-RPG elements, I’m surprised the developers didn’t find inspiration in Terraria’s varied an incredibly fun arsenal of weapons and armor.

As it stands, Minecraft’s combat isn’t particularly engaging. Your choice of weapons is limited to a sword and a bow, leading to repetitive combat. An enchantment system allows for some variety in your weapons and armor, but ultimately, a sword is still a sword, whether it lights mobs on fire or knocks them back.

At this point, you may be saying, “But the point of Minecraft isn’t to kill monsters!” To which I reply, for a game that isn’t about slaying monsters, there’s an awful lot of monster-slaying. If someone straps a crappy radio to a quality lawnmower, a critic would still need to comment on the quality of the radio, because the manufacturer chose to include it in the product.

If you’re tempted to skip combat entirely, then you can play Minecraft’s “Creative Mode,” which takes away all the survival and resource management aspects of the game and lets you build to your heart’s content with an unlimited supply of blocks. On the other end of the spectrum, a Hardcore mode gives you only one life: death is permanent.

Apart from monsters to kill and animals to tend to, there are also NPCs villagers that walk around and… do nothing. They’re current function in the game is entirely aesthetic, when they could be put to use dolling out advice to players or serving as vendors. While I’m sure some functionality will eventually be added to Villagers, I can only evaluate the game in its present state.

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8 Comments on Minecraft 1.0 Review — A Perfect 10?

gofree

On November 23, 2011 at 5:00 am

I have always longed to play this game. But you know what, I am still scared!

Scared what? I am scared that I will spend too much time on it ;) Now am only following its news, but not into playing yet :(

Brandon J. Clark

On November 23, 2011 at 5:40 am

@gofree

WTF are you waiting for? You could get hit by a bus tomorrow! PLAY THIS GAME NOW!

superdefective

On November 23, 2011 at 10:40 am

Must admit I was a bit disappointed at first. It’s nice that survival mode has a true ending and shows a list of ‘achievements’ to hint what you should do but keeps you in the dark for most of the game. The Minecraft wiki is essential to figuring out what you need to do. Another complaint is the level generation of the caverns, strongholds, and mines in the game. My world has all three mixed and mashed into a chaotic mess with mine carts, chests, shafts, and mossy bits floating it the air.very strange. Still a great game especially if like to build tings.

Luther

On November 23, 2011 at 10:02 pm

You don’t have to but to have a long lasting enjoyment with this game you need to play with other people.

Jonathan

On November 30, 2011 at 2:51 pm

“Given its low price…”

$26.95 is low priced? E$$entially 1/2 of a new ‘blockbu$ter’ game? I think the price $hould be taken into account for the review of an unfini$hed game like thi$ and lower the $core dramatically. Non functional NPC$? Fini$hed game? 30 buck$? CHA-CHING $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ Pre-Order your ticket$ for the next minecon, the early bird $pecial for only 259.95! I feel bad for the kid that’s going to finish the NPCs in a mod, only to get it directly implemented into the game with no acknowledgement or compensation. Not that making money is a bad thing, I just feel this is a huge rip off. If tens of millions in revenue cannot hire someone to make an NPC do ANYTHING at the time of ‘full release/finished product’ I don’t know what to say.

Not trying to knock Gamefront or the reviewer at all, I very much enjoy Gamefront.com and the videos you guys make. I just really wanted to rant about what I feel is the most overrated ‘finished’ game, ever.

minecraft4u

On December 20, 2011 at 6:10 am

on topic: the purchasing ended and i font know where the mineshaft volume alpha picture was. off topic: that was an snapdragon because i play dockland.

minecraft4u

On December 20, 2011 at 6:11 am

sol mineshaft volume alpha OFF: TOPIC: alfalfa

monster world cheats

On March 24, 2012 at 9:24 pm

My short list for Beck’s replacement:Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, Laura Ingraham……………Megyn Kelly.