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Review: Minecraft

Actionpacked - can take hours and hours of your time

All those who are playing or following Minecraft from the very beginning they know it all, I know, including the fact that the game is finally not beta version anymore, but it finally came out as full version in which almost everything beta players tried, created and had issues with was incorporated. And there is even more but let’s go in turn.

Many Minecraft players will agree with me that the game has improved since it was created, however some liked the classical one better than this, more “survival” version of it. In classical version you could only create and you surely didn’t have as many items and materials to disposal as you have them now and you could play only one World. For the current version of Minecraft – if you imagine you are a scout out in the wilderness struggling to survive, then this is it – this is Minecraft.

As some players only like to create, some like just a little action and some are those of you who have the need to struggle to survive as it provides you more challenge, there are three playing modes to play: Creative, Survival or Hardcore in which only Creative and Survival can provide you with 4 difficulty steps, however Hardcore is like a Survival mode which is locked at hardest difficulty and with only one life. So … Be careful in Hardcore if you don’t want to die. Also in all three modes you can play two Worlds – Normal and Nether in which you pass over through the special portal. But, there is third World to play in – The End, sadly (or maybe even not) provided only to Survival and Hardcore, as far as I know. However I might be mistaken here though.

But, no, we’re not at dying yet. We will create first. Some of you might think Creative mode is not exciting at all and it is only for those awkward gamers like I am who are afraid of every monster and loosing life even if it is only in the game. You cannot die in Creative mode is one of the main features besides some more magnificent things provided in this mode like flying, having endless items and materials and more. But … this statement isn’t totally true. YOU CAN DIE IN CREATIVE MODE though. You have to be careful not to fall through the World what means through the bedrock because creative mode is the only one in which you can break this – otherwise non-breakable stone. Breaking it you fell off the world regardless are you in Normal World or Nether. The name of this mode, however, tells you all. Creation is the main core of this mode and being gifted with flying skill and possibility of going through the lava or water with no harm, you really have endless creative possibilities and you can put your imagination to fly high, high to the clouds. “Too many items” mod created by who knows which user ( I didn’t look for the name) is incorporated in here too. You have endless items of all kinds even those which you otherwise have to craft by yourself. Only one thing isn’t there in your inventory, this is the stone which you make a portal to The End world with, though. Finding the stone somewhere in the depths might take you even there, but be careful again. There you can easily die like I did when coming there falling into the gap which was the end of the world. But, about how I came there we’ll say some more later. As we said already even in Creative mode you have 4 difficulty steps to play what means you can deal with monsters and mobs despite they can’t harm you. This adds some action even to this mode and so you can meet the monsters and know what they are. Practice makes perfect is the saying and dealing with monsters in Creative mode can give you some practice in how to kill the monsters and how is necessary to be dealt with.

Survival and Hardcore, as we said already, are the same modes, only Harecore is the most difficult possibly and provides you with one life only so we won’t talk much more about it, but mention the facts for both of them. You can die many ways in those two modes and the most reasons you die are you are killed by monsters, you fall into lava or from the heights or you are drowned in the water or buried with sand. Each thing can be equally dangerous and you can really be lucky to survive, but – as in real life – if you’re skilled enough, you can survive even falling into lava though. In those two modes the main core of the game is surviving what means you have to travel, dig and explore the surroundings, depths and heights to collect as many items you can. Not all items you can find, but you have to craft them and inventory provides you with a little (4 slots) crafting “table” to craft simplest items so you can craft bigger ones then making a crafting table. Crafting items doesn’t mean only craft, but also forge and mix some of them for what you are able to craft furnace, Cauldron, Enchantment Table and more. You can do possibly everything with some tools and tables you can craft so the surviving is a real one. You need weapons of all kinds like swords, bows etc., and you can do “clothes” as well.

As we said, in Creative and Survival mode you are able to play four difficulty steps among which peaceful is the one I like the most, then there are also easy, normal and Hard to try and play in. Peaceful is with no monsters so you don’t need any weapons. You can create and survive, if in Survival mode, in peace as no one among those mobs will endanger and harm you. Easy is with the least monsters you can imagine, but even in this difficulty step you can meet quite some of them. There are Creepers, who explode and kill you this way, Skeletons - kills you in certain range, Spiders – which physically attack you, Zombies – attack you physically, Ghasts – which you can encounter in Nether World and most recently added Endermen which look really awkward, a bit horrible and they can be found in Normal World as well as in The End from where they come from. To normal difficulty step the game is set by default and provides you with monsters in kind of normal rate – depends on what normal means to you though. Hard is like in Hardcore. As many monsters as needed to lift action range to the highest limits of surviving. You can easily die even if you’re careful and fully equipped.

There are some more things you can do in all play modes, like not just crafting. You can farm, so you can craft food not to be hungry. You can also bread animals and this way provide food as well. You can sow trees, picking weeds and other plants to provide food or seeds and more. You can also mix poisons and boost your weapons and tools or create new ones from the used. So the possibilities of surviving is plenty enough.

There are also some ways of transportations to craft and use like railways with mining charts and kind of boats which are actually charts which are floating on the water. Using red stone which can be found in the depths of Normal World you can do really cool creations like self-opening and self-closing doors, lifting engines, chains of explosions and electric rails. Surely there can be more you can do, however I didn’t try to create any of these things on my own and know things just from watching my son being real master with these things.

Speaking of items, there are many of them which serves only as decoration and have no other meaning. This way you can put bookshelves in the room or elsewhere, hang painting on the wall or put jukebox in a corner to play some music. There you can craft also doors, or make window really like one with newly added glass pane. You can use stairs, fences which are newly provided with the fence door too so you can make fence look like a real fence in real world.

The worlds are created randomly by default, however before you create a new world you have the chance of choosing how the world is created – should it contain automatically created villages, dungeons and strange shapes, or the world should be normal like we were used to play in older versions. You also can choose whether it is in Creative, Survival or Hardcore mode. You can also provide a seed for your world what practically mean you suggest an already existing world to be the ground of the new world creation. However, I didn’t try that one either so I don’t know exactly how it works though. The playing modes can normally not be changed so be careful when choosing this.

If worlds are created with villages and such stuff you can find whole villages with houses, farm fields and even people living in those villages, however you cannot interact with the villagers. But it looks nice having some nice company of others if not played online.

As we said there are three types of Worlds, however at the beginning you always appear in Normal World though. In the rest of them you have to go through the portals which you create from special stones and in special measures to work. Trough Obsidian portal you go to Nether World what could be very easily describes as Inferno. A lot of heat, a lot of lava and a lot of Ghasts can be encountered there. Greater danger is lurking upon you out there and being careful is what you should be. Also, watch out if making more than one portal in Normal World as it will result in you will be thrown from Nether through the first portal in Normal World you created. However if you have more than one portal in Nether too, it can result you can be thrown back to Normal World elsewhere but almost surely not where you wanted to be or where you thought you will appear. Only in Nether you can find special stones and sand like Netherrack, Soul Sand and Nether brick so if you want to use those special stones and sand you have to go there. And you also only there get Ghast tear which suits you for the poisons you can make.

Through the special portal which is different from that one to Nether you can enter the The End World. It’s quite a mystery even for us all and we know only that this world consists with special rock called End Rock and despite it looks almost like sandstone when brought to Normal World it appears green there. The dragon which is quite hard to kill is there waiting for you and a lot of Endermen. There’s where you can die even in Creative mode plunging into invisible gap and fall through the world itself. And one more thing is very important here: Entering The End you cannot return until you kill that Enderdragon.

Let’s say some about graphics and sounds. Graphics are as you set them up by choosing the way the world is rendered, by video settings and by choosing the intensity of light. Generally I would say graphics are good. Not the prettiest, but the most functional for all types of computers for sure although they aren’t even close as beautiful as in some other games. But playing the game and not being there for graphics themselves, they’re satisfying and serve its purpose.
Sounds are very realistic. You can hear all sorts of sounds in real time what means if you’re near lava you will hear crackling of it even if you don’t see it yet. All the same with the water. Water will stream when coming closer. The sounds are also adapted to the space you’re in. If water is on the left, you will hear it on the left etc. You can also hear special sounds when the monsters are coming or they’re near you, and when a monster spawner is somewhere near you there is special short music sound provided as well. In Nether you really get the impression you’re in Inferno. Ghasts are moaning and whipping, lava is crackling etc, etc. In The End. It’s the end even in sound way of the game. You can hear the crystals on those high pillars breaking when you break them and you can hear Endrmen “singing” their song, but nothing more then this. The mighty silence is in this world and it feels like emptiness.
Being able to use jukebox which you can craft, there are several music CDs you can slot in and play. All music created especially for Minecraft which is soothing mostly. Well, if you will like it or not is your choice. I like most of it except one or two CDs. However this isn’t in game music, but can be heard only in jukebox surrounding what means in the chamber where jukebox is and in its surrounding and no further.
The most annoying sound is when you’re suffering of hunger or you’re getting wounded other way then by mobs and monsters. The sound is always the same so I caught myself many times turning round and round to see who is attacking me only to find out I’m either hungry or I’m dying of being harmed by falling from heights, by lava or by water.

You can experience weather changes in Minecraft as well encountering rain, snow or even thundering, there are realistic sounds for these conditions as well. You know very well when rain is falling and you know even more when it’s thunderstorm out there as the thunder can be heard even to the depths of the world. C418, young sound and music creator for Minecraft, really put a lot of effort into sounds to appear as realistic as they possibly can be.

And, yes, here is one more thing I have to mention. In the game – apart from beta versions – you can now gain experience, being hungry or wounded or ill some other way. So you have to be careful to always have plenty of food according not to pass away as this way you can die as well. Feeding is a bit strange as you hold the food in your hand then you press and hold the right mouse button. It’s kind of funny in the way and if we talked about sounds before, you can hear how you eat that food as well.

The game you can play as single player – what means you’re not online, however you can play it as multiplayer as well. Whether this is fun or not, I will leave you to decide but multiplayer surely can provide more excitement and more fun as much as struggling to survive just like in real life as other players of all kinds are involved and can interact with you through the messaging or doing other things even harm you, or steel you an item. They can come to recue you if needed and help you many ways, too, of course.

And what happens if you are not lucky enough and die in Hardcore? Hmmm, should I let you being surprised? No I won’t. I went and created Hardcore World just for you to see what happens. If you had a lot of items and all stuff stored somewhere, you will be sorry you died for the rest of your playing life, because you die permanently not being able to appear elsewhere as it is in other two modes. You are forced to delete the World what means you can’t use any program or mod to re-create it or change it into other mode. The World is deleted and you vanished from the surface and depths of Hardcore World you’ve created.

And what happens when you finish off the dragon in The End? Hmmm …. Let it be surprise. You get an egg and then …

Try it for yourselves and you’ll know.

Oh, yes, one more explanation: How I came to The End despite I play mostly Creative Mode. Fans are still creating mods, skins and all kinds of features what seams Notch – the creator of the game – is happily allowing and this way we just appeared that portal to go through. I saw the terrain, and the dragon but then there was only black emptiness stepping from the portal stones and I died. My son was more lucky and finished off the dragon.

The most annoying part of the Minecraft for me is loosing myself over and over again, however it’s cared even for those of us who tend to loose in the big world and can’t find the way home anymore. In Creative mode you have a map already created and when using it, it draws by itself, showing the terrain you are wandering on. However you have to walk or run, you cannot fly. Flying will not count as a rute and will not explore the World, at least that’s what I encountered once. In Creative mode the map can never be lost if it’s map 0, even if you died and you had it with when this occurs. In other two modes you will lose it so you better save a copy of it somewhere in one of your chests for later use or for re-copying it.

In general game is interesting even for those of us who are not so young anymore. It provides you with creative ideas and put your imagination to fly. It can be actionpacked enough for each and every one wanting some action and it provides you with a lot of adventure spirit for all those adventurers out there who expect the game to be the mixture of action, exploring and adventures.

It is the first full version release so you can expect many updates and fixings at least as long as players will want new things and Notch will have some of his own ideas so you won’t be bored so easily, not yet.

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Publisher: Mojang
Developer: Mojang
Format: PC/MAC
Price: 19,95 €
Released: 18th November 2011

Gameplay: 9

Graphics: 8

Audio: 10

Lifespan: 9

9/10

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