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Minecraft Legends: The first hours of a new way to play Minecraft

At a special media event, we had the chance to play the new Minecraft-based spin-off, which this time takes us into the world of strategy.

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After 11 years of existence, Minecraft is a franchise in the video game industry whose fame and reach are undeniable. Its great flexibility as a sandbox has allowed it to cover a wide range of environments, and its constant updates have kept its players interested.

This success has led Mojang, the studio behind the franchise, to look for new ways to expand Minecraft. This time, together with Blackbird Interactive, the famous world of construction takes a different turn from what we are used to: the world of strategy. Last week, we were among the first media to play this new game.

What is Minecraft Legends?

Minecraft Legends is an action-strategy game developed by Blackbird Interactive and Mojang. This title takes several of the elements that make up the Minecraft franchise to create a different experience. During our hours of play, we had the opportunity to play through part of the tutorial and a multiplayer session.

In its story, one dimension is under attack by beings known as Piglins, who seek to conquer all through the corruption created by the Nether. Here, the deities known as Foresight, Action and Knowledge are tasked with recruiting a hero who will be able to defend this dimension through his courage and ability to unite all beings to defend against this attack.

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The game incorporates the elements that make up Minecraft, from its aesthetic to its characters and resource gathering. Our character is initially able to command small golems to deal with the piglins and the structures they have built. In the game we played, it was a simple matter of creating a series of altars to summon these creatures, attracting them with basic commands to indicate a point of attack, and completing the attack to gather them on our side. Attacking the Piglins and their structures was a simple experience in these first hours, where the game guides you, teaching you not only how to move your troops, but also how to build bridges to cross, as well as showing you the first hints of how to upgrade or create more mobs to help you in your adventure.

What about the multiplayer experience?

On the other hand, we had the multiplayer experience, where either 1v1 or in teams of up to 4v4 can make confrontations more complicated. Our objective is to defend a well, which is our base. In this team experience, we were able to divide up the tasks, with one person gathering resources, another creating troops, or another building the fortifications and towers to defend the base. The experience was quite fun, but also chaotic, as construction can take place anywhere. Part of the communication is via voice chat on the consoles, although there is also a ping system which, although very basic, helps to indicate points on the map reliably. Here we had the opportunity to encounter more mobs than we had during the tutorial, as well as new technologies and materials.

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What is it like to play Minecraft Legends?

As mentioned, Minecraft Legends is a title that is at its core a strategy game, but with elements of an action game. While the strategy genre is one that is always associated with being best played on a PC, the controls are very well adapted to being enjoyed on a console. During our hours of testing, we were able to experience both the classic keyboard and mouse as well as the Xbox controller, and switching between the two was extremely natural.

The mix of these two genres really makes the experience easier for the controller, something Minecraft Legends producer Nathan Rose told us they’ve been researching and refining over the last few years. “We made a lot of research with almost 1000 people playing the game,” Rose told us. “We have the game playable now for probably two years, and what we have done is polished it.”

Do I need to know anything about Minecraft before playing Minecraft Legends?

Yes and no. On the one hand, it can be helpful to have an idea of the different elements that make up Minecraft’s lore, as this will help you to recognize different elements and resources and what they do. However, the game is pretty clear about what to expect from each of these elements, as well as new aspects that keep the formula fresh.

However, it’s also worth going in without knowing anything about Minecraft, or so Nathan Rose told us, mentioning that “It’s probably a lot more easier if you don’t know Minecraft, because you don’t have a preconceived idea about that” about everything you encounter along the way.

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When is Minecraft Legends going to be released?

Minecraft Legends will launch on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and PC on 18 April. Game Pass and PC Game Pass subscribers can expect it on Day 1 on their respective platforms.