WHAT if Diablo, but Minecraft?
That’s not a question that was on many people’s lips before the big reveal of Minecraft Dungeons, Mojang’s first new game in ten years, but the game answers it perfectly anyway.
Minecraft is ten years old and one of the biggest and most recognisable names in gaming, and defies usual classifications of genre.
Some argue Minecraft isn’t even a game at all – there’s no fixed story to speak of, there’s no way to ‘win’; it’s just an online sandpit, and electronic version of Lego where you can do whatever you want.
Minecraft Dungeons is both perfectly Minecraft, and as far away from the promise of the original game as you can get while still being utterly charming.
It is most definitely a game – more than that, it is very specifically a dungeon crawler that ticks every single box you’d expect from the genre.
It also looks great, plays well, and seems like it will be great fun for families to enjoy together too.
Not only that, it’s coming to Nintendo Switch, PS4 and PC as well as Xbox when it comes out next year.
The game’s levels are populated with a mix of creatures and enemies already in the Minecraft world, and a bunch of new ones that fit in there perfectly.
The skeletons, zombies and spiders that have been in Minecraft for years are joined by the likes of Wraiths and Necromancers to do the sort of jobs you need enemies to do in this sort of game.
Endermen can spawn in at random – and behave just as they do in Minecraft proper, except this time they drop more loot when you take them down.
Everything is, pretty much, as you’d expect from Minecraft itself.
There’s familiarity at every turn, whether it’s the noises the creatures make or what pressure pads on the floor look like – if you or your kids know Minecraft, you’ll be instantly at home in Dungeons.
Minecraft Dungeons’ wears its influences on its sleeve – while Diablo has treasure goblins, Minecraft Dungeons now has Piggy Banks – snuffling porkers that appear at random with chests strapped to their backs.
Hunt them down before they flee, and a host of loot is yours.
And the game has, as you’d hope, plenty of loot.
That loot is doing doubly duty, because armor and weapons stand in for the sort of class system you’d expect to find in this sort of game.
Wear Archer’s armor an you’ll get bonuses to ranged attacks that make using a bow as your primary weapon seem very sensible.
The trailers showed what look to be spell-casters and other traditional archetypes represented too, but we didn’t get to see any of those in action.
Get a decent bow, and it will have a range of abilities you can choose from to make it play the way you want to.
These could be multishot attacks, adding lightning damage to your arrows, or having them knock back foes as you hit them.
Weapons have nods to other games too – in our demo we picked up a pair of green one-handed scythe-like weapons that instantly brought a set of iconic Warcaft weapons to mind.
The game is meant to be replayable in the way classic dungeon-crawlers should be too.
Each level is mostly procedurally generated around a few fixed points, with the idea being that after beating the game on one difficulty level you’ll kick it up a notch and go again.
Every time you do this the enemies get harder, the levels get more mazelike, and the loot gets better.
If you need a hand, you can be joined by up to three friends either online or, if it’s large enough, on your sofa.
Players can drop in and out at will, they can teleport to each other if they get split up – basically every quality of life feature you could hope for.
There will definitely be cross play between Xbox players and PC players, and there is a hope it’ll get wider than that too.
It’s coming in Spring 2020, and we can’t wait.
Elsewhere at E3, Ubisoft have revealed two wildly different new games due early next year – Watch Dogs Legion (which is also going to support ray tracing on PC) and Roller Champions.
Microsoft meanwhile revealed its plans to release its next Xbox in time for Christmas next year when they revealed it would have hardware support for ray-tracing tech.
Keanu Reeves also dropped by to let fans know he was starring in next year’s Cyberpunk 2077, and that the game would be available in April.
They also revealed more about Project Xcloud, which will let you play the latest Xbox games on any screen you like, whether you own an Xbox or not.
MOST READ IN GAMING
EA also revealed more details of its new Star Wars game, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, and has admitted that it’s not going to be bringing the real Fifa 20 for Nintendo Switch.
You can also see all the best new trailers revealed so far right here, with highlights including Gears 5, Halo Infinite, Doom Eternal and, of course, Cyberpunk 2077.
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