As whimsical as it is strategic, requiring ever growing levels of focus and concentration as the game's simple systems blossom out into full-blown
warfare, Minecraft legends is a glow up of smaller scale RTS games with the excellence of mine-crafts building prowess truncated down to a more delicate sensibility.
It also has some glaring deficits.
Legends opens up with the player introduced to the story as the world is threatened by an imminent Piglin invasion from the underworld, driven like lord of the rings by another deeper darker evil.
As gates open across the world the Piglins invade from the depths and its up to the player to work with the inhabitants of the mine craft world and save it.
The protectors, Foresight, Action and Knowledge find a hero, you, to lead the forces. And after choosing a hero from a small selection of types, you can leap into the campaign, PVP, or legends mode.
Legends main gameplay is built on the hero able to play music to control, build, destroy, and command the inhabitants, constructions and creatures of the Mine-craft world learning new songs, your square headed traveling will bury power chords his way to leadership and legends.
They fit you with a trusty steed and taught that you can identify items in the game world for you to command spirit friends to gather removing the player directly from gathering resources in the world. As you play you gain more constructs you can put on your main base that offer you the ability to gather different resources, replacing the original Minecraft tactic of upgrading new rock-picks.
You also gain new spawn types starting with two for your armies, able to recall lost army members as well as create new ones up to your ever growing limit and then take them into battle playing battle marches to rally your forces to you, or sending them forward in a direction to attack enemies or move across the world.
In a way this harkens a bit back to titles like Overlord 1 and 2 with the basic commands feeling somewhat the same. Usually traveling from region to region with your army and then either building, repairing or defending a village, or likewise destroying any Piglin offensive structures in the area. A rampaging square headed army of Utrades like a lo polygon version of the Last Kingdom.
Saving the villages from the denizens of the deep unlocks each for you, so that you can command them and build spawn points to them, protect them and also gather resources from each that the villagers place in a town chest for you.
Minecraft's unique flow is in the temporary nature of front lines, withy you able to build wellsprings near enemy bases that offer challenges so that respawns happen nearby and then afterwards moving on to another location.
Each night the oinkers attack either taking over uninhabited lands or preparing to take on a village. But you have time able to prep for defensive, placing walls and towers and if you want able to stick around and handle the battle personally.
Its the day-night cycle that is a core driver of the game, relentlessly pushing you forward into moving, planning, and fighting
The imminent invasion of the piglins foul faced box headed oinkers has them eyeing your defenses with sickly pink envious eyes, constantly drives you from location to location.
Start out with basic troops and the ability to summon just a couple and as you continue to gather resources, take out enemies and find new friends. Your ability to summon, rally and command more and more troops. With the ability to also command single troops as well as entire groups so that splitting up your army isn't as difficult is it might be, especially when playing on a console or with a controller. Unlocking the ability to raise up old ones, giants and golems from the old world who can joint eh fight with you, or tear down ancient constructions and rebuild them in your main base for bonuses makes legends worth exploring so that you can take on the different Piglen clans who get harder and harder as you play.
Comparisons with titles like tooth and tail resound here, in the smaller forces but more creative style of gameplay augmented by mine-crafts building activities held to a more specific toolset. Its the slap-chop of games, taking bits from 2-3 genres and then cutting them up and mixing them back together. This is normally a recipe for disaster however usually Legends return on that investment of time is worthwhile.
However, building is not always as responsive as it needs to be and in the midst of battle can be too response. For example, While placing items in your main base or throwing down some fences the games control schemes are definite enough, however putting steps and bridges into spots during attacks when piglets bases are puzzlingly separated structures of different height can be incredibly frustrating as the steps have a tendency to stick and estimate up to the next level over or up, and of course also can't be built on top of a mob and this can result in the build line flicking up and down spastically while you are also trying to fend off enemies, forge ahead with your own and consistently wonder how the hell do these pigs get up here in the first place? Many times building steps in bigger battles can just be a game of hope hoping as you hit the build button.
Legends graphically mimics exactly what the source material is. With the smaller procedurally generated levels blossoming out around you steep valleys hiding hidden chests and location resources able to be mined and unlocked as you continue.
Minecraft Legends looks exactly as you would expect aiming for Minecraft as an RTS and hitting that specific display perfectly. A wide setback view lets you get an excellent point of reference even at the busiest time in the game. Options for the pc aren't great, with just a couple for resolution and a few effects, however it does runs excellent and 4k with a 2080 is doable. Its just not resources heavy at all.
However, its also during the heavy battles when the games original design, and this new type of gameplay can confound you. Legends is both sophisticated and surprisingly simple and the visual representation within the world muddy in heavy battles, and it can be incredibly difficulty just gleaning exactly what any one mob may be doing. And if enough enemies are fighting sometimes what order they are following. Its a small issue and the resilience of your own armies, adjusted depending on the difficulty you choose can help that.
Nevertheless one big worry I have is longevity and depth.
Te big issue is depth. While you consistently upgrade your base to allow for collecting the more rare kinds of resources around the Minecraft worlds something about Legends feels a bit rote. A combination of how these upgrades are built onto your existing base pillars, and how each location you battle to and throw, begins to feel one note, as you place the same wellspring and spawners outside the dangerous areas of the new base to attack. Its not that regularity destroys flexibility its just that it flirts dangerously close to rigidness. A sometimes repetitive dismissal of the flexibility you may want in a RTS action game.
Flexibility and strategy and wielding your own items and mobs against players is going to offer a more dynamic set of experiences and regardless of any issues I had occasionally with building I think you can expect to see some wicked bases and setups in no time.
Legends music is surprisingly good while it doesn't' exactly match the events in the game well, feeling more like a soundtrack playing in the back its actually excellent.
Nice sedate and mimics closely the ambient softer tracks in the original. While not noteworthy in some movie soundtrack way, they were pleasant enough.
These pretty much mimic the exact soundscape from the original game from the breaking down of objects to the swing of the swords to the enemies grunts and groans as you force 20 zombies into a forced march across uneven ground to take out a pig outpost.
Not bad. The main voices are of the entities that call you to assist the world named after virtues like foresight and stretch cuteness push the main story forward or play out after you take down more powerful foes. Delivery is a slightly cartoonish mix, something that feels like a less over the top Skylanders and more just a nice nuanced and well delivered series of story pieces that so happen to feel like a Minecraft lord of the rings at times.
Traveling the world collecting ambient wildlife and wierdlings with you like a square headed Noah counting two by two as you head out to sink boats instead of get on them and ruining the day of infernal piglets trying to overtake you is rewarding as hell.
Riding through the world. But always watching out for environmental hazards or improvements like speed for your steed or brambles that can trip you up helps the travel sections from becoming too lethargic in their own right. Constantly moving around using those environmental helpers as well as keeping a good eye on shortcuts, helps you head out to defend a village as quickly as you can if you don't have a spot to teleport to at a nearby spot.
Day and night cycle during the day you move, attack, gather resources, and then during the night the enemies go out and try to attack.
Crucially the player needs to keep an eye on the little piggies trying to blown down their homes in the night. That back and forth threat, contingent on the day night cycle built into Minecraft Legends, is what keeps the player engaged and is a key component towards the "one more blocky hill to climb over, or just one more upgrade needed gameplay drive.
Some of that can be negated by the games other modes. Including Multiplayer and downloadable adventures. Who knows how the future will play out.
Multiplayer is 1 to 4 players in a world generated procedurally and going out to take out the enemy teams fortifications and you can tell that the developers feel that this will be one of the places where Legends will keep players returning for a long time.
How this all comes together is surprising. Minecraft Legends nails the landing with a game that has more than its fair share of fun moments and unexpected surprises despite being what could charitably be called unexpected.
A fun game well worth getting on gamepass or even on retail if you need to.
ACG with Youtube's Review on Minecraft Legend