First announced in June of last year, Mojang’s latest action strategy title Minecraft Legends was finally launched on April 19.
To give you a quick explainer, Minecraft Legends is a real-time action-strategy game set in a world where piglins from the Nether have invaded the Overworld. We, the players, are heroes who must quell them.
The main campaign, which is all about defeating the piglins and protecting villages, can be played in single-player mode, but one of the most hyped-about aspects of Minecraft Legends is its player-versus-player (PVP) multiplayer mode.
Although I was able to access and review the game early, I was excited for the release date as it meant that I could finally match up with gamers across the world to play some multiplayer rounds.
The multiplayer mode involves two teams of up to four (or a minimum of three) players and the objective is to destroy the opponent’s base while defending your own.
With the game still being new, it took me around five minutes before my first lobby was filled up. Once the world loaded in, I realised an issue—there was no proper way of communicating with my teammates, so I had no idea what each of us were doing.
Thankfully, the team at Microsoft generously gave us two PC Game Passes, which are video game subscriptions from Xbox that include the game.
I already had a copy of the game (also provided by Microsoft), while another colleague was already subscribed to his own PC Game Pass. With a full team of four, we set off to do some mining and crafting together, with the advantage of group calling over Discord.
Starting off with some slight confusion
To play in Versus Mode with friends, you’ll need to first add them as Xbox friends.
Instead of a lobby code or IP address that others can join, your friends will be able to see whenever you’ve started hosting a lobby. Alternatively, you can invite them to join the game if they’re online.
We were able to add each other without trouble, but when we were trying to set up a game, we ran into an issue.
When hosting a public game, we weren’t able to switch teams, and ended up having to split into two teams of two. The rest of the spots got filled up by random strangers.
After playing one round, we then tried to set up a private game with everyone on one team, but then the other team was completely empty and we couldn’t opt to look for players who were searching for games to join either.
So, unless you have eight friends who all have Minecraft Legends, you can’t actually play a 4v4 game with a full team of four friends.
On the bright side, in a private lobby, you could opt to play 2v2,1v1, or whatever format you please.
Weirdly, though, at one point, I managed to join some random stranger’s private 4V4 game when looking for a public lobby. At least, I assume it was private because it said “Private” up top, but maybe that was a glitch?
Players have been quick to master the game
Even though the game has barely been out for a week, skilled players have already come up with various strategies to quickly defeat opponents.
One particular strategy that I’ve come across a few times is that a teammate will set up a fort close to the enemy base, which would be defended by mobs as well as arrow towers.
After quickly climbing up the technology tree (by expanding the Improvement Hubs—structures that unlock upgrades—in the game), the player will unlock the Redstone Launcher (a strong weapon) and begin to attack our base.
I’ve been defeated a few times by this strat, so a pro tip here is to immediately put down a protector tower, which will destroy projectiles, and force your opponents out of doing ranged attacks.
Teamwork is key in this game, though, so even if one player on the opposing team is cracked at it, they won’t really be able to carry—at least not speedily. This is because players must collect quite a lot of resources to build structures and spawn mobs that are integral to winning the game.
For those who’ve played Minecraft somewhat regularly before, it shouldn’t be too hard to get the hang of things. One of my colleagues who was rather unfamiliar with the franchise found it difficult to really understand what was going on, so perhaps this game can’t be considered the most beginner-friendly?
That’s what the training mode is for, I suppose.
A very kid-friendly game… almost too kid-friendly
While parents will be happy to know that there’s no global chat for your child to be exposed to bad language or toxic gamers, this presents a new challenge in itself—an inability to properly communicate with teammates.
This means you never quite know which teammate is in charge of what and if you’re needed to return to base.
My suggestion is to allow preset quick comms such as “I’m on defense”, “enemy incoming”, “attack now”, and more of the sort.
However, some might disagree with me on this sentiment as this would result in even more controls and key binds to keep track of.
The child-friendly nature of this game may also explain why the game doesn’t let you team up with your friends in public lobbies—it might make you too overpowered and a menace to other gamers, especially younger ones.
After all, high-ranked parties that queue lobbies are a common sight (and a common nuisance) when playing public Minecraft servers.
Alternatively, the game could introduce a level or a rank system like other popular PVP games, but some parents might be against it as it would make the game too competitive and addictive.
But, for younger players who may find it too discouraging to play against players who finish the game way too quickly, such a matching system might make the game more fun and accessible.
Room for improvements
As someone who loves PVP games but isn’t good at PVP myself, I’ve quickly fallen in love with this game mode and its balance of defense and attack systems.
Yet, I’m not entirely sold on the execution. As per my points above, the lack of a way to communicate is a real shame. Some of my colleagues also found the UI and controls to feel unnatural.
For Minecraft veterans who enjoy PVP game modes, I fear that Legends isn’t fast-paced or competitive enough to be as attractive as some online servers’ game modes such as bed wars.
Down the road, it’d be incredible to see a 4v4v4v4 mode, which will encourage players to cook up new strategies and ways to play. Public 1v1 or 2v2 games would be fun, too.
Rather than the Versus games, I think we ultimately enjoyed the Portal Pile game a lot more.
The first “Lost Legend” (monthly challenges released for free) in the Lost Legends and I tab, Portal Pile is fully player-versus-environment (PVE) and features 20 waves of piglin enemies that players have to withstand while protecting a village.
It was incredibly intense as we struggled to protect our base, but I found that to be really fun and perhaps less frustrating compared to playing with teammates we couldn’t communicate properly with.
This game mode might sound too similar to Minecraft Dungeons, but the Lost Legends & I tab will have new downloadable game modes every month for players to enjoy.
Ultimately, US$39.99 or RM159 is quite a lot to pay for this game. This will be exceedingly true if the game continues to be stagnant without any new innovative and fresh game modes for players to enjoy, other than the Lost Legends.
But if you already have the PC Game Pass or Xbox Game Pass, which is US$9.99 per month, it’s definitely worth checking out the game to see if it’s to your liking.
With Minecraft being a mainstay in terms of gaming for over a decade now, I’m hopeful to see the Minecraft Legends spinoff continue to grow and improve too.