Fair Game | ‘Minecraft Dungeons’: So Close to Greatness

The news was out. The game was purchased. And my emotions were through the roof. In many ways, “Minecraft Dungeons” met and exceeded my expectations. In other ways, it fell short.

Don’t get me wrong, this game is a joy to play. You can feel the work that went into making this game feel incredible. At the same time, it’s lacking. As I played through its levels, something just felt off. It took me a while to figure it out, but now it’s painfully obvious

These feelings have not hindered my overall enjoyment of the game. I’m not even halfway done and I still plan on playing it through. However, there’s just something that’s been bothering me.

Let’s discuss how “Minecraft Dungeons” left you feeling.

DEEP Fun BUT A Shallow GAME

For a game titled “Minecraft Dungeons,” you’d expect some more secrets and exploration.

It’s not that this game is without secrets and exploration, rather, they’re far-and-few-between. The strangest part is @DungeonGame baits the gamer consistently and gives no rewards.

@mrdude_7 of @moviesmatrix

If you play any game, you know going off the beaten path can be rewarding. Even if there isn’t a substantial piece of gear, there could be lore cards, side missions, or rare material that may come in handy later.

“Minecraft Dungeons” has none of that.

Sure, every once in a while there’s a chest or a secret level, but the vast majority of the time, it’s just a dead end. Seriously, there are many paths that you are sure will lead to something cool, but then it just ends. They may have some emeralds (the game’s currency) but that’s it.

Is that really rewarding?

“Minecraft Dungeons” keeps me playing because of its fun and ability to sweep you up into the game, but I guarantee you it would’ve been amazing if it would’ve just dug a bit deeper. This needs more things to chase.

What it Could’ve Been and Still Can Be

Most of the game is great, and it can still reach its full potential with a bit of effort. So, what can get it there? There are two things that I think Minecraft Dungeons could add:

  1. Collectibles
  2. Crafting (but a different system than typical “Minecraft”)

Collectibles are by far the easiest of the two, which is all this game needs — things to chase besides armor, weapons, and artifacts. It could be as simple as a number of iron nuggets spread throughout the maps for us to find, or as awesome as a series of books that expand upon the Illager’s lore.

Give us achievements to complete, Microsoft! When I’m at the base, give me a book that tracks my progress of finding, say, twenty-four iron nuggets, eight mooshrooms, and fifty lapiz. Make them hard to find too.

These will populate the empty dead-ends and reward us for exploring and taking on more enemies.

Crafting would also be amazing in “Minecraft Dungeons”. I’m not talking about the same crafting system we have in normal “Minecraft,” that wouldn’t work here. I can imagine a new system of crafting that doesn’t make new weapons and armor, but instead lets us have control of their stats.

They could add another Blacksmith to the base where we could mod our current gear, or even buy new equipment with the stats that we want. Either way, they can make it require a number of multiple resources to ‘craft’, giving players more things to chase. This would also populate the map, give people more of a reason to explore, replay levels, and really put the Minecraft back into “Minecraft Dungeons”.

My Hope for the DLC

Right now, “Minecraft Dungeons” has two DLCs planned for the rest of this year: Jungle Awakening and Creeping Winter.

I’m hoping these expansions will bring more than just story levels. While the story is fun, what this game really needs are new features and modes to keep players coming back. Gamers won’t want to keep replaying the same missions for slightly improved gear.

The draw of any good looter is the excitement to jump back into the game and explore for new gear. Games like Destiny, Diablo, and Skyrim have all nailed that feeling. “Minecraft Dungeons” just doesn’t yet. But it could, and I have faith that this game can get there. I have a blast playing this game, and I want it to be something that’s remembered for what it gets right, not its shortcomings.


All images courtesy of Microsoft/Mojang Studios

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