Friday, September 16, 2011
Minecraft 1.8 "Adventure Update" Review
Minecraft; arguably the best sandbox game ever imagined, puts you in a world of blocks to mine, dig, build with, and craft into awesome creations. But, being only in its beta stages, veterans have a hard time finding interest in the somewhat monotonous survival mode, limited motivation for exploration, and a list of blocks to build with that can become old easily.
These are hardly problems with the latest update, Minecraft 1.8- The “Adventure Update,” which came out Wednesday Sept. 14th (or earlier if you found access to the pre-release). Completely revolutionizing the gameplay and giving ample room for future innovation, Minecraft 1.8 almost has too many new things to talk about… but what else am I here for?
Starting with the basics, there’s an overhaul to the world generation system. When making a new world you have the option of survival mode- original gameplay with a new “hunger bar” and an experience system- or creative mode, which grants you flight, invincibility, inventory editing, and the ability to break any block. You also have the option to generate structures like villages and dungeons (or not to do so)- but more on those later.
Upon entering the world, you’ll find a new terrain generation system that promotes larger biomes (no more tiny snow regions or underwhelmingly small deserts) and gives all new features like rivers, ravines, mountain ranges, swamps, and much more dynamic landscapes. Hidden among these “natural” features are those structures I was talking about. Villages, which will be filled with NPCs in the next update, are currently just a collection of predesigned wells, forts, houses and farms, and showcase a few new blocks, not the least of which are brick stairs, stone bricks and stone brick stairs, window panes, and jail bars. If you’re lucky you’ll find one of the two new dungeon types, the stronghold and the abandoned mine. Strongholds, which are pretty rare at this point at only a few per world, are underground complexes of stone brick, jail cells, and miscellaneous mob (monster) spawners. Abandoned mines are giant cave systems full of spider webs, wood, and minecart tracks, and pack many of the new creatures of the minecraft night.
Speaking of which, you’ll find the new smaller cave spiders who can poison you, the new skeleton model that looks more natural, and my personal favorite: endermen. These creepy black creatures are neutral until you attack them or look at them, then they rush at you, teleport around you, and then go in for the kill with their high damage output (as much as 3.5 hearts a hit!). They will follow you until one of you dies if you look at them, so watch out for their creepy yellow eyes. Also new is the flashy creeper (suicide bomber monster) explosion graphic. Combat is made more fun with the inclusion of blocking (still not completely implemented yet, but will be next update), dashing, powerful knockback hits, critical hits, and a more realistic bow mechanic. It’s also much more rewarding, with the (currently functionless, with for the next update) experience bar and new drops- not the least of which is food, now necessary to keep your hunger bar full.
This only scratches the surface of the changes made and those yet to come. Among those I didn’t get into are new lighting, new animations, and interface innovations. To old minecraft fanatics, it’s a great refresher to the game and puts new life into it, and to newcomers it gives all the more reason to buy minecraft now, before the full (and more expensive) version comes out in November.