Minecraft has been transplanted into another genre. With the Minecraft Legends release date just around the corner, PCGamesN headed to GDC 2023 in San Francisco to see how the world’s biggest PC game plays like a strategy game, and we can report that it’s a great game for everyone. It’s a surprisingly seamless fit.
Built on the Bedrock Engine and using similar procedural generation technology to its creator, Minecraft Legends follows a similar gameplay trajectory: you collect resources, build a base, forge equipment, and ultimately take off to deal with Piglins and the mobs.
The first big difference is scale. Rather than doing it all yourself, in Minecraft Legends you’ll use allays to farm resources across an entire area, erect walls and buildings in the blink of an eye, and spawn armies of defensive mobs at a much faster rate. fast. For anyone familiar with the base game, it’s disconcerting to see so little friction, so little rupture, in that gap between working on your personal creations and mass-producing them. So that they then work not only on a larger scale, but in a completely different kind is nothing less than a marvel.
But it is important to manage expectations. Setting up your defenses around a village to fend off piglins and command your troops doesn’t have the breadth or depth of a Total War game, and Minecraft Legends wouldn’t be worthy of its franchise if it abandoned its Fundamentals of Mining and Crafting. The creativity they give you when building your bases and armies absolutely makes up for the more streamlined feel of this real-time strategy spin-off.
To this you can add the joys of exploring the open world, in which you will find chests full of resources and new mounts for your character. A far cry from the frenzied APM rates of something like Starcraft, this makes for an oddly serene experience; Minecraft environments have always been bright and diverse, but jumping between them in Minecraft Legends while placing wedges in pockets of rock or a bundle of trees while searching for secrets is really quite tranquil.
Although it’s set in randomly generated worlds, there’s a reassuring precision to the gameplay loop every time. Upgrades in the form of new monsters, resources, and buildable structures arrive at a steady pace, while each core element of gameplay – exploration, building, and combat – never outstays its welcome as you progress. The Minecraft Legends campaign can also be completed co-op, with the entire game offering cross-play, which highlights Mojang’s ongoing mission to make Minecraft accessible and community-driven. And as a core Microsoft title, it will naturally be on Game Pass when it releases.
Compared to the campaign, the Minecraft Legends PvP experience is pure chaos, and all the better. Two teams of four are dropped onto a smaller map and forced to destroy each other’s bases. You’ll still need to gather resources, fight piglins, and build defenses, but now you need to communicate with your teammates and watch out for the enemy.
The possibilities in these roughly 30-minute PvP matches seem endless. During my time with the game, we’ve seen team members naturally settle into varying roles like gathering resources – which are shared between teams – building, or defending against monsters to help advance the game. Both teams in my session spent way too much time building defenses and fighting piglins instead of each other, so our bases ended up having multiple layers of stone walls completely surrounded by gun towers of arrows and mobs meaning it has become almost impossible to get to the center of either, destroy the hub and win. This is where Minecraft Legends’ “layers, not maps” philosophy comes in; since everything is procedurally generated, you can’t rely on map knowledge to gain an advantage. Instead, we adapted to the situation, developing a strategy that will be applicable in the future. We sneaked around the enemy base and found a good position to establish some sort of forward operating base, built defenses there and set up a TNT cannon in the center. Instead of walking through walls and crowds, we just walked through them.
With this strategy, we broke a deadlock in seconds that had lasted half an hour; several barrages from the TNT cannon at the enemy team’s hub completely destroyed it, and we won the game. It was a nice moment of quick thinking that only happened thanks to Minecraft Legends’ focus on its toolkit – despite everything. appear Lacking in depth compared to more traditional strategy sims, it stimulates and rewards a different but equally rewarding form of organic tactical puzzle solving.
More traditional strategies are also viable, in the particular context of Minecraft Legends. In other matches, you can focus on rushing the enemy before they can get ready, turtle to unlock better monsters or gear, or maybe you’ll see some land near their base which could hide a smaller outpost for your team, so you can roll a two-attack head-on and take the enemy by surprise.
Minecraft Legends is a game for everyone. Whether you want serene exploration and base-building, co-op hog-fighting action, or PvP as endlessly chaotic as the procedural maps you explore, this Game Pass release is right around the corner, and it’s going to be a good one.