Minecraft Legends Review – Minecraft Misstep

Minecraft Legends Review

Two years following the release of Minecraft Dungeons, the Minecraft universe is expanding once again with Minecraft Legends. Minecraft Legends features some common traits with the original Minecraft and Minecraft Dungeons, while still carving out a unique experience of its own. You’ll explore, create, and survive in this open-world action-strategy adventure. Will Minecraft Legends take Minecraft to new heights, or was this a poorly conceived experiment?

In Minecraft Legends, the piglin army has broken free from the Nether and has begun to invade the Overworld. Three God-like caretakers called The Hosts, have recruited you, the Hero, to command an army of mobs and save the Overworld from the piglin invasion.

A New Way to Minecraft

Minecraft Legends is a sort of action/strategy blend where you control your Hero in real time, collecting resources, building structures, and commanding various mobs. Throughout the campaign, you’ll explore a vast, proceedurely generated open-world featuring all the biomes you’ve come to expect from Minecraft games. Unfortunately, the campaign really only features two different scenarios; protecting villages or attacking piglin bases. While you’ll eventually expand the types of mobs you can spawn and buildings you can build, the whole experience is quite repetitive.

Minecraft Legends Preview

What makes matters worse is just how convoluted the various systems are. Creating buildings requires resources, but resources are incredibly difficult to find. Because the map is procedurally generated, you’ll sometimes have to search far too long to find the needed resources. There are also bizarre limitations on where you can build structures. Some structures can only be built within range of specific areas, creating an almost trial & error process. At no point did I really feel like I was creating my own experience. The mobs are also quite useless fodder.

Invading piglin bases was a tedious game of spawning a limited amount of mobs, leading them into a base, trying to target a specific structure, watching them all die, then repeating the process again until the piglin base is destroyed. Add this all to the fact that the game runs on a day/night cycle, and every night it seems like the piglins were either attacking a village or building a new base, it never felt like I was getting ahead. During the preview event, we were told the game could take 18-25 hours, I didn’t imagine it would be 18-25 hours of banging my head against a wall trying to get ahead of the piglin invasion.

Why’d You Have to Be So Complicated?

Sure, as you carry on, you’ll gain access to more structures and more mobs, etc. But the inventory management system is so overwhelming, I can’t imagine too many people will maintain any desire to even try and decipher what it all means. I have three young Minecraft enthusiasts living here, and neither of them were interested beyond the first couple hours. Too complicated, too boring. Eventually, you’ll gain access to so many different structures that you’ll need to pick and choose which structures appear in your on-screen item bar. There must be a better inventory management system than this.

Minecraft Legends does feature multiplayer components. The campaign can be played co-operatively. And there is a player-vs-player mode, which pits two teams of four against each other with the goal of destroying the others’ base. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any matches to experience either of these, so I really can’t comment too much on this aspect. It’s disappointing that the developers didn’t have the forethought to include some AI controlled Heroes.

Beautifully Minecraft

Credit where credit is due, the game features some very pretty visuals while still maintaining a very distinctly Minecraft look. The cutscenes are beautifully animated, I would love to see the Minecraft universe expand into a full-length animated series or movie at some point. The game is also extensively voice-acted, and while the Hosts excessive pleasantness was a bit off-putting, it was nice to have something driving the narrative instead of the silly grunts and groans of the villagers.

Minecraft Legends Preview

The game features four different difficulty settings. I played exclusively on the second difficulty setting – it was challenging, but I progressed at a decent rate. One thing worth noting is you can’t pause the game at all. This is a huge oversight in a game of this nature and caused a few hassles for me during my time with it.

Minecraft Legends can be commended for its impressive visuals and unique-to-Minecraft gameplay style. Unfortunately, it’s just too convoluted and too tedious. I simply did not enjoy my time with it. I don’t know how many times I would want to build a structure or mob, and I’d have to spend far too long trying to find resources. Controlling mobs is almost impossible. Gameplay just moves too fast to really utilize any sort of precision. Ultimately it comes down less to strategy and more to attrition; just keep spamming piglin bases with mobs and hope you don’t die too often. Minecraft Legends is a difficult game to recommend, even for the most hardcore of Minecraft fans.

***Minecraft Legends for Xbox Series X was provided by the publisher. ***

The Good

  • Beautiful visuals
  • Decent voice-acting

The Bad

  • Difficult controls
  • Tedious gameplay
  • Limited resources
  • No pause function