A new dimension of freedom - Minecraft review

Author: Terrag
Date: 2011-11-25 11:51:00
The review was based on the PC version.

If someone had asked me two years ago what my first association was after hearing the word sandbox - I would have thrown any of the Rockstar titles without hesitation. However, today it would be hard for me in the same situation not to think primarily about the production that effectively redefined what we all understood as the open world, i.e. Minecraft . The game - compared by many to the digital version of original LEGO bricks - was born in May 2009, when Markus "Notch" Persson started working on this title, inspired by the equally "angular" Infiniminer . After only a month, the author began taking pre-orders. Since then, the number of fans has been growing steadily, and the title has managed to gain unprecedented publicity in the industry, proving at the same time that the vision of a "garage" production leading to the fulfillment of the American dream is not a pipe dream.

I would be tempted to say that it is hard to find an Internet user who, even if he is not an avid fan of this work, has not even heard of it. By the way, when it comes to online gameplay, we will find a lot of dedicated servers for this game. In many of them, crowds of people gather only to jointly create entire communities, cities and even lands that are peculiar works of art, modern pixel art sculptures, with which Minecraft is more and more often mentioned in the same breath. Of course, in the age of many top-shelf titles, the graphic style reminiscent of a world made of huge pixels will not appeal to everyone. A bit of distance is required here, but sometimes it won't help - after all, not everyone likes to play with blocks.

The overwhelming advantage of the game is the world generator, which continuously, as you explore it, creates new areas based on previously created segments. We will find here not only separate climatic zones or underground for kilometers, but also charming, often breathtaking mountain ranges, all unique and one of a kind. It's funny, but I probably remember every land and every hideout from the dozen that I had the opportunity to create since the game was made available to a wider audience. Although I am not the builder type and prefer curls hidden from the outside that interfere with the environment as little as possible, my approach did not in any way detract from the enjoyment of communing with Minecraft . Unhampered freedom of action is the undeniable strength of this production.

In addition to the picturesque landscapes, the huge undergrounds also make a very good impression, which can be a real tangle of corridors, posing a challenge to our sense of orientation. Just like in Skyrim - each cave we come across causes an immediate desire to visit it and " kicks " us out of the current task, taking an hour or an hour and a half. We come across inviting caves every now and then, but the Mojang team made sure that their exploration never bored us. With a bit of luck, we will also discover monumental craters or abandoned mines where poisonous spiders love to weave their nets. It is worth mentioning the soundtrack that comes to the fore at such moments, creating many opportunities to "jump" on the chair, when a zombie or other creeper will whisper in our ear at the least expected moment.

What makes Minecraft unique is its design, a set of underlying assumptions. In fact, programmers have defined a series of behaviors - relationships that occur between objects - leaving the player's hands with the creative process and discovering possible, yet undefined combinations. Enough to mention the impact of water on the environment and the community-developed machines based on it. Lifts using waterfalls and boats or systems of artificial channels acting as transport "belts" - these are only a fraction of the invented so far creations. In general, the same applies to every mechanism available in the game. Mojang introduces pistons (by the way - one of the ideas initiated by the community), and after a while fans start using them to automate cultivation, bidirectional elevators or constructing hidden passages.

Anyway - the subject of mechanisms deserves a bit more attention. It is enough to explore the issue a bit more to discover the incredible complexity of the electronics implemented in the game, with logic gates, relays and pseudo-diodes at the forefront. With a little bit of persistence and technical flair, anyone can create their own equivalent of a calculator, display, or even a working processor! Of course, if we are not attracted to such games, there is nothing to prevent us from pursuing one of the other activities. At any time, thanks to the system of creating items (based on goods produced earlier or acquired at various stages of the game), we can create the right tools and play the role of a miner, carpenter, fisherman, traveler, architect or cook, among others.

Minecraft , however, may not be the most pleasant for the first time. It is in vain to look for any kind of training in it or the player's "by the hand" typical of today's productions. The only thing we have at the start is a modest achievement tree available from the game menu and containing a list of the most important topics that you should be interested in. Whether it's opening a portal to an alternate dimension or encouraging you to create a potion, it's too cursory for anything to follow. So we are doomed to search on the Internet, where Minecraft Wiki comes to the rescue - a kind of manual, containing over one thousand three hundred articles describing the world and mechanics of the game. The enormity of the content in some way justifies the lack of these messages in the game, but this does not change the fact that many users may be discouraged after just a few minutes of dealing with the title. For others - just like for me - it will be just a motivating factor to explore, read and learn about the world gradually, giving considerable satisfaction.

Mojang went even further - we will not find any substitutes for the plot or individual tasks in its product. The system is simple - it is the player who has to come up with goals and implement them successively. The problem is that not everyone likes it that way. Many people prefer simple messages: go there, do this, get that. This convention has been successful in other productions for years. Nevertheless - every time I created a new world - I found a way to have fun at the same time for at least several dozen hours. For example, I recently decided to test the alchemy system, so I started assembling the necessary reagents. This, in turn, prompted a series of sightseeing trips to discover an abandoned mine where I eventually found melon seeds. Then I thought it would be fun to kill a dragon, so I started breeding poultry, then played time-warping, creating a system of portals through an alternate dimension. Then it was the turn of the attempts to enrich objects, which in my opinion relies too much on the calculus of probability, to obtain the desired effect in a closed time. The possibilities are truly endless.