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Minecraft Dungeons

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    Minecraft Dungeons

    OK, I wanted to pick up a game I could play with the kids. They're really into Minecraft (as am I) and when I stumbled upon Minecraft Dungeons I thought "Why not?". This could be a good gateway to other ARPGs.

    Minecraft Dungeons is a dungeon crawler. There is no crafting, block breaking, nothing like that. If you're expecting Minecraft mechanics you're going to be disappointed. What this game does, however, is provide a beautiful dungeon crawling experience. The graphics and effects/animations are bright and colorful, as a Minecraft game should be. Movements and button presses are pretty responsive. The menus are basic, but I firmly believe that simplicity is it's own elegance. They function well & are right to the point. The only gripe I have with menuing is when you play multiplayer on the same console the players have to take turns managing inventory, etc. The menu covers the whole screen. This is not a big deal for me, as I've logged a TON of hours on Diablo 3 with my wife (Xbox version is up to 4 players on one console ). I'm used to it. If players know what they're doing it's nothing more than a tiny wait. In terms of overall performance, it's pretty solid. Don't expect 100% perfection, but for a basic ARPG it works very well.

    Speaking of Diablo, this game is nothing like it. Diablo and similar games are much deeper than Minecraft Dungeons. Even D3 with the simplified numbers/stats has more depth than MC Dungeons. However, I feel it works to it's favor. I've seen a lot of bad reviews about this game, but keep in mind it's not targeted to the hardcore dungeon-crawling crowd. It's a basic ARPG for those who are new to the genre or are too young to comprehend complex stats, calculations & builds. And I feel it serves those purposes very well. Or if you just want to play an ARPG without thinking too much after a hard day's work it's a good option. I do have the feeling, though, that there's more to the gameplay than what meets the eye. I can see the possibility of deeper gameplay when getting into some sort of endgame or meta. But for general gameplay or just having fun with friends/family don't expect anything super complex. Do not expect the complexities of Diablo or the like when playing this game.

    The story seems fairly short, though I haven't finished it yet. (judging by the overworld map) Some people have reported getting through it in 5 hours or so, but I think it's highly subjective, not to mention there are more than a few a-holes out there wanting to speedrun games & poo-poo them for lack of content or not being up to their expectations. Don't necessarily believe what the other reviews tell you. Playing solo, I'm a perfectionist/explorer with dungeon crawlers & I've dumped about that much time into it so far & I think I'm just over halfway through the main story. It's not particularly difficult (remember who the game is targeting), but there are several ways to jack up the difficulty if you want a more challenging experience. I've definitely hit some walls playing solo on higher difficulties. The gameplay can get repetitive at times (it's a dungeon crawler... lol), but where it can really get your goat is in the different situations you may find yourself in. You could be plowing through zombies and skeletons for a little while but then you may have to survive an ambush, face a mini-boss, etc. Different (and more powerful) mobs also show up more frequently at higher difficulties. It keeps you on your toes at times. There are also daily challenge levels with special modifiers that put a twist on the levels they're based on.

    I can't really say much for loot drops, as I'm not even close to any endgame yet, but I've been happy with how the game rewards my efforts. If good drops seem sparse at times it just forces me to get good with what I have. Old school game mentality I guess, lol. As for the loot/gear itself, all weapons & armor can be "enchanted" with level up points, providing a wide variety of benefits. Old gear can be salvaged, giving you currency for more/different gear & allowing you to reallocate your level up points to other pieces of gear. There's a good amount of recycling going on and you get at least something for your looting efforts & old gear. Up to 3 "artifacts" can be equipped, providing you with additional actions to buff, attack, recover or otherwise diversify your gameplay. It's quite simple, making it easy for you to switch to a different role or try something new.

    There's not much of a story and hardly any narration. Any narration occurs when setting the scenario at the beginning of a level and upon level completion. But again, remember the target audience. All the game really has to do is outline the scenario & set you loose. It provides a basic story & gets you right to playing. It's not bothersome to me at all. It's actually kinda nice just getting right to the gameplay.

    As for additional content, there are two DLC packs out now, with another just announced.

    The base game is $20, with the Hero edition (base game + the first 2 DLCs) for $30. We are playing the Hero edition on the Xbox One. My kids are loving it & I'm scratching the ARPG itch when I want to play one & not think too hard. Considering the content and how the game plays I think it's priced well & worth the cost. Remember, this is not a full-priced AAA game, but a budget dungeon crawler marketed to newer ARPG players & kids/families. My suggestion is DO NOT get it on the Switch. There are MAJOR performance issues that will make it "unplayable" (subjective) for some people. I bought it on the Switch first & got a refund for it after a couple hours of super-frequent framerate dips. I've read that the frame rate dips are not as bad when playing handheld, but I play my Switch docked 99% of the time. I purchased the Xbox One version afterward & those issues are virtually gone.

    Overall, we are having a lot of fun with it. I like more complex games, but for something that I can play with my kids & shut my brain off with it is a good bit of fun. It also adds to the Minecraft universe in a nice way. All things considered I give it a thumbs-up.

    -Good for kids/family or new ARPG players.
    -Good for Minecraft fans.
    -Beautiful environments.
    -More to the gameplay than what meets the eye. (a feeling I have, anyway)
    -Good for scratching that ARPG itch when the brain power for something else is too hard to summon.
    -Priced well for what you get.

    -Lack of complexity for those wanting a more involved/stat heavy game.
    -Short-ish story. (dependent on gameplay)
    -MAJOR performance issues with the Switch version. Xbox One version is great.
    -Menuing can be slightly annoying when playing multiplayer on one screen.
    Last edited by glaman5266; 10-06-2020, 03:10 AM.
    New Feedback

    Thanks for this write up! My boys are getting into Minecraft, but RPGs have never been my cup-of-tea. This is great info about the general gameplay and difficulty and helpful about the concerns on the Switch because that’s what we have.
    My feedback


    • glaman5266


      Editing a comment
      You're welcome. Honestly, younger kids probably won't care about the frame rate. They're just happy to play video games, lol. Older ones & of course adults would though.

    UPDATE: After playing a bunch with my kids & by myself, I have to say I still like this game. It's still fun. Sure, the levels get somewhat repetitive (typical for dungeon crawlers), but the different rewards & gear that get introduced as you up the difficulty help keep it from getting stale. It's not enough to get me playing non-stop, but I'm still having fun with it. I'm finding that the gameplay opens up a bit more once you get through the main levels on default difficulty. Your gear options get more in-depth at that point.
    New Feedback