Next to Mario, Fortnite and that Nintendo console parents keep yelling at their kids to turn off, Minecraft is a household name that everyone from kids to grandmas know the name of. After initially coming out in 2009, Minecraft has gone on to become one of the best selling games in history. And while most games that are popular stick with the tried and tested, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix” and pump out the same game year after year with a different skin on it, Minecraft seems to be testing the waters and seeing what works.
The most notable examples of Minecraft testing things out are: Minecraft: Story Mode (2015), an episodic spinoff game developed by Telltale Games, who are best known for their Walking Dead spin off game. And Minecraft: Dungeons (2020), a dungeon crawler, hack n slash with procedurally generated dungeons and a focus around multiplayer. And while I personally didn’t enjoy Minecraft: Story Mode,Minecraft: Dungeons was an absolute blast to play.
So now in 2023, a new iteration of Minecraft is coming: Minecraft Legends. And thanks to our friends at XboxANZ, we were able to get an early copy of the game to review.
So firstly, what exactly is Minecraft: Legends? At its core, Minecraft: Legends is a 3rd person, adventure, strategy game. Where you take on the role of an unnamed adventurer whose story becomes the stuff of legends in the Minecraft universe. You are recruited by the 3 caretakers of the Overworld. Action, Foresight and Knowledge. They inform you that the piglin’ army from the Nether has begun its invasion of the Overworld, and they need your help to prevent it.
Outside of the typical things you do in ‘classic’ Minecraft, resource gathering, surviving and of course, crafting and not to mention its signature blocky look; Legends is something completely new. If I were to draw comparisons to other games, a strange mix of Age of Empires, Pikmin and Dynasty Warriors come to mind. And now I bet you’re wondering, what on earth do you do to think of those games? Well let me explain a bit more.
As the caretaker’s or Host’s chosen champion, you are blessed with 3 legendary gifts. The Legendary Lute, that allows you to summon “Allays”, small Minecraft fairies, that will gather resources and build things for you. The Banner of Courage, which allows you to control an army of summoned golems. And the Flames of Creation, which allows you to summon said golems.
One quick tutorial later and you and your trusty steed are dropped into a procedurally generated Overworld. It’s broken up into the many Minecraft biomes you’ll be familiar with if you’ve played ‘classic’. Desert, Swamp, Forest, Snow etc. Scattered about the Overworld are a mix of villages that you’ll need to defend. And piglin Outposts or bases that you’ll need to defeat. So you need to build structures to defend villages. Age of Empires style. You build spawners to create a colourful variety of golems who follow your every command. Pikmin style. You then send these golems to fight your enemies, while you ride on horse back spamming the attack button. Dynasty Warrior style. See, it makes perfect sense.
After defeating and saving villages, you will start to unlock new buildings and golems to help you take on the toughest piglins the Nether can throw at you. But as with ‘classic’ Minecraft, this game is a hell of a lot better when played with friends. Minecraft: Legends can be a tough game to play by yourself. The easiest comparison I can think of is trying to sail one of the ships in Sea of Thieves by yourself. While it certainly is possible. You’ll be running around like a mad man, organizing your army and ensuring they’re not just milling about. Building structures and making full use of any abilities they have. And when you can, dive into the fray to take out some lone piglins that have gotten too close to your back line.
Thankfully, Minecraft Legends is going to launch with full cross-platform support. It’s going to be made available to more services and platforms than any other game in Xbox history. So there’s no excuse to group up with 3 of your friends and save the Overworld together. And if casual co-op isn’t your thing, there’s also a PvP mode allowing up to 4v4 strategic block warfare.
Don’t forget, if you are someone like me, who was initially on the fence about this game. You can always try it out on Xbox Game Pass right now. I hope to see you in the Overworld soon!