Despite releasing over a decade ago, Minecraft is still one of the most popular video games out there, with a wide audience on a vast array of consoles, mobile, and PC. Minecraft‘s relaxing, cozy vibes are perfect for just about any mood, while its deep crafting and survival systems offer more complexity for those looking for it. This same level of accessibility and complexity hasn’t quite been present in Minecraft‘s previous spinoffs, but hopefully the upcoming Minecraft Legends can buck that trend.
Announced during the Xbox and Bethesda Games Showcase back in June, Minecraft Legends is yet another Minecraft spinoff title, but this time the series is moving into the action-strategy genre. Combining the best elements of a third-person action game and a tower defense, the action-strategy genre sees the player both control their troops, while joining in on the action themselves. Hopefully, this genre shift is enough to give Minecraft Legends the depth it needs to stand out.
Minecraft Legends Needs More Gameplay Depth Than Minecraft Dungeons
One of the biggest critiques of Minecraft Dungeons, the most recent spinoff in the series, was that it lacked depth. On the surface, Minecraft Dungeons was just a simple Diablo clone, using an isometric camera angle, and tasking players with hacking and slashing through a series of dungeons, defeating monsters and gaining loot along the way. Unfortunately, this surface layer was about all there was to Minecraft Dungeons.
Minecraft Dungeons was extremely simple. The game’s controls boiled down to simple button inputs, and the enemy AI required little strategy to defeat. The co-op mechanic, while an excellent addition, wasn’t nearly as complex or well-thought-out as the game’s primary inspiration. The core hook of a game like Diablo and Minecraft Dungeons, the loot, also didn’t offer anything players hadn’t seen before, with weapons and items that are commonplace in the dungeon-looter genre. After a few hours, players had seen everything that Minecraft Dungeons had to offer, and there was little incentive to keep hacking away at the game.
Simply put, Minecraft Legends needs to do better. To truly stand out from the crowd, Minecraft Legends needs to implement some more complex game mechanics and systems, which theoretically should be pretty easy to do, as the action-strategy genre is inherently quite complex, and generally much more so than the hack-and-slash fare fround in Minecraft Dungeons. Players are tasked with managing their sprawling forces, including buildings and soldiers, all while also engaging in combat themselves at the same time.
This is already a great starting point for Minecraft Legends, and with a few mechanical additions, it should be easy to add more depth to this spinoff. Minecraft Legends should ensure that it offers players plenty of different playstyles, with a range of different building types and upgrades. The game should also include a range of skill trees, both for the player’s units and for the player themselves. Minecraft Legends should also make sure that there are plenty of different enemy types within the game, with each one requiring a different approach to defeat. Even the most simple approach to strategic combat, such as Halo Wars’ rock-paper-scissors method, can add a lot of depth to a strategy’s game combat, with each enemy type being weak to a specific unit type. Though each of these systems is fairly simplistic, adding them altogether could make for an excellent, complex action-strategy title, and would help to make Minecraft Legends stand out from the crowd.
Minecraft Legends releases in 2023 for PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.
MORE: Minecraft Could Use More In-Game Modes than Spin-Offs