Tuesday, September 9, 2014


Minecraft Review

      Kid Safe: Very High (9.5 / 10)    Game Quality: High (8.0 / 10)

Genre: Open World Creative
-          As an Open World Creative title, players are immersed in a large, open environment that they are able to explore and make their own. They are able to use a number of items in-game to create absolutely anything in their imagination. I like to compare the title to being in a virtual Lego world.

Internet Requirements: None to Very High
-          The internet requirements of this title are very heavily dependent on what video game system you are playing it on and how you want to play. If you are playing on a PC / Computer, you must have internet in order to download the game as well as any additional content you might wish to have. If you are playing on Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, or PlayStation 4, you can purchase a retail copy of the disc or purchase and download it via the online store for your respective system; however any additional content must be purchased online for either version of the game. Players can also play the game single player offline without needing an internet connection, however we encourage players to enjoy this open world together via the internet, as more hands and minds build many fun things.

Story Summary:
-          To the best that we've ever identified, Minecraft does not have a single specific story. The game, instead, encourages creativity and the creation of your own legacy. Stranded on a desert beach in a vast world with nothing but your own two hands and your creativity, what will you do...?

Kid Safe: Very High (9.5 / 10)

-          Foul Language: None
o   Minecraft does not contain any observable usage of foul language. Players, characters, monsters, and creatures in-game do not speak but instead make very grunts, groans, and other non-lingual sounds.

o   Special Note: While playing online, players have a chat option available to them. Use discretion while letting your player online as they are able to send and receive foul language via the chat function.

-          Violence and Gore: Very Low
o   Minecraft contains a very limited amount of violence and no observable amounts of blood or gore. During the game, monsters like Zombies and Skeletons will come out at nighttime in order to attack the player if they are not sheltered from the elements. Players can defend themselves using crafted weapons such as swords or bow and arrows. When a player attacks these monsters, it's almost comparable to a Nerf baseball bat. The monster will essentially bounce off of the attack and, after several attacks, fall over and poof into smoke. Additionally, players can use these same weapons against non-enemies like farm animals in order to harvest meat for food. In the same manner, the creatures will bounce backward several times before falling over and poofing into smoke.

-          Sexually-Related Content: None
o   Minecraft does not contain any observable amount of sexually related content.

-          Use of Drugs and Alcohol: None
o   Minecraft does not contain any observable amount of drug or alcohol usage.

o   Special Note: The PC / Computer version has a number of third-party modifications that players are able to download and install in order to add new items to the original version of Minecraft. While some modifications can be fun, it should be noted that it is highly likely that some third party's may have added drug or alcohol related items. These do not reflect the original game design by rather the creation of a secondary programmer.

Game Quality:  High (8.0 / 10)

-          Graphics / Visuals: Moderate
o   The Graphics and Visuals were something we had to ponder long and hard on how to review. The game itself does not like very graphically impressive compared to many modern-day titles that are on the video game market. However, to the developer's credits, the look and design is intentional, rather than from poor graphical design.

o   While the overall resolution may look unimpressive, the game was designed to be made up of "blocks", like virtual Legos. Whether it was the land, air, water, animals, people, etc...everything was built with this blocky design to coincide with the game play. It, in turn, allows players to pick up those different blocks and use them for whatever purpose they saw fit. Whether they want to build a castle, dig a hole, mine precious ores, fight monsters, or more, everything was created with this unique and simple visual style to make it coalesce.

o   On a secondary note, another reason that the game is "moderate" is because a large number of different modifications exist for every system to change the visual appearance of the game. The severity of the change depends entirely on the modification, however players are able to find, purchase, and/or download programs to perhaps give it a more realistic look, to add high texture quality, and even to change the appearance of creatures and players. Given the wide range of possibilities, we did not feel we could accurately represent and rate all of the options.

-          Audio: High
o   Minecraft features a simple but enjoyable audio experience. The game has a number of gentle instrumental pieces that play along quietly in the background of the game, filling in the quiet of wandering a deserted world. Additionally, the game features musical cues when players are near or around important areas such as underground "Fortresses" that alert them just in case they weren't aware they were near one of these treasure-troves. Monsters all have simplistic but recognizable sounds like the Creeper's "hiss" and the Zombie's "moan". While the game does not feature some over the top soundtrack accompanied with AAA voice actors, the game does exactly what it meant to do: provide simple and memorable audio to a simplistically enjoyable game design.

-          Gameplay / Playability: High
o   Minecraft features a High level of Gameplay and Playability that suffer only a little due to the lack of a physical tutorial. Interestingly enough, we had to go back and do further research regarding this because it turns out that Minecraft actually has different WAYS to play the game depending on whether you are playing on the PC / Computer or on a video game console like the Xbox or PlayStation.

o   So, regarding the tutorial, the game does exactly what we mentioned earlier: drops you on a desert island without any instructions or ideas on how to survive. The game offers an "Achievement" system in all versions that hint at an idea of what you should do, however no direct instructions as to how. Discovering is half the battle. Luckily, many people will figure out how to break apart trees and dirt and sand in the game and use them to their advantage. However, the question is raised "What do I do with these items?" Even better, the Xbox and PlayStation allow players to take craftable blocks and simply craft them by clicking on the item that they want to create. In the PC / Computer version, however, players need to know where to place certain items on a grid interface in order to create anything. So, sadly, Minecraft suffers from a lot of "How the heck do I do this?"

o   On the flipside, however, that's where the gameplay issues really stop. Once you know how to survive nighttime (trust me, it's a big problem on the first night or two) the world is your oyster. You are limited only by your imagination. Do you want to create a castle? Why not. Heck, make it a floating castle in the sky. With a rollercoaster. That goes underwater. And takes you through the underworld. And stops at your second upside down castle. That your friend has rigged with explosives so that when you hit the doorbell everything within 300 blocks explodes. Again, it's pretty much a Virtual Lego world. If you can dream it, you can do it.
-          Dollar-Value: Very High
o   As you might have guessed, Minecraft, due to its intense openness and availability, has an incredibly high dollar value. Ranging between $20 to $30 dollars, players will gain an exorbitant amount of replay-ability and fun. As we said before, the game is only limited by your imagination. I myself clocked almost 50 hours of gameplay just in the last week. During that time I created an underwater base with a functional airlock that has a greeenhouse inside that lets me grow wheat IN my underwater base. Oh, did I mention that I also had a mine where I found a massive abandoned fortress with treasures chests full of diamonds and gold? And that was me playing alone! So, if you have someone who likes being creative and has a strong imagination, this game is perfect for them.

-          Minecraft is truly one of a kind, however if you are looking for more creative titles, I would highly recommend a Minecraft-inspired game called "Terraria". 


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