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Minecraft Dungeons Ultimate Edition - PS4

Minecraft Dungeons Ultimate Edition – PS4

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An all-new epic quest in the Minecraft Universe Grab your sword and get ready to explore some treasure-filled dungeons in Minecraft Dungeons: Ultimate Edition. Travel through canyons, swamps and mines as you embark on a quest to defeat the evil Arch-Illager and restore harmony once more. Create your own story by customising your character and fighting the way you want to. Swing a sw…
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Awards

Rating

  • Graphics
  • Multiplayer
  • Story (Career Mode)
  • Originality

You Might Like

  • Easy to pick up and play
  • No Micro-transactions!
  • Lots of replayable content

Might Not Like

  • Missions tend to be very samey
  • Occasional glitches are frustrating
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Description

An all-new epic quest in the Minecraft Universe

Grab your sword and get ready to explore some treasure-filled dungeons in Minecraft Dungeons: Ultimate Edition. Travel through canyons, swamps and mines as you embark on a quest to defeat the evil Arch-Illager and restore harmony once more.

Create your own story by customising your character and fighting the way you want to. Swing a sword, use a bow and arrow, or bash your way through enemies in heavy armour – the choice is up to you.

Unite with friends to defeat evil

Team-up with up to 4 friends in local and online multiplayer. Together you'll battle your way through evil mobs and brave dungeons as a team.

In the 10 years since it’s 2011 release, Minecraft has become the best-selling video game of all time. With that level of success, most other franchises would have had a Kart Racer, and at least a couple of Sports spin-offs under their belt too. Mojang (and even Microsoft) opted to keep improving what they already had instead.

2014 did see an attempt to branch out with Minecraft: Story Mode. The decision-making episodic series received mixed reviews though, and came to an abrupt end when Telltale Studios closed in 2018. Then in 2020 Minecraft Dungeons released across multiple platforms, with an arcade version following up a year later.

The arcade variant plays very similarly, with the main differences being that it costs £2 a go. For your money you DO get an incredibly cool trading card as well, though. These cards can even be scanned into the game to help on the next run, if you’re prepared to throw down another £2.

But I digress, back to the console version… Does it live up to the legacy of its inspiration? Let’s take a look!

It Looks Kind of Familiar…

Minecraft Dungeons doesn’t actually play anything like the OG Minecraft game (which I’ll get to soon) but it DOES look familiar.

The purposefully-blocky pixel style is present, and the player-character customisation is very similar. All your favourite mobs are here too, along with a few new ones to keep things from getting too samey. The most obvious visual difference is the perspective. Rather than a first person view, Minecraft Dungeons has an isometric top-down camera.

It’s still recognisable as a Minecraft game, but it’s also very clear there is a different gameplay style here.

…But it Plays Very Differently

Let’s get this out of the way first… There is NO mining in Minecraft Dungeons. Oh, and there’s not much by way of crafting either.

No, Minecraft Dungeons is an amalgamation of a few different game styles and mechanics. At its core, and as the name suggests, it is a dungeon crawler.

It plays similarly to Enter the Gungeon, Undermined or The Binding of Isaac; clearing out rooms of enemies before heading to a boss battle. Much like those games, the levels are and enemies are procedurally generated too, so no two plays are the same. The loot system is similar to Borderlands or Mass Effect, with collected items having rarity and quality levels, but weapons and armour can often be enchanted or upgraded in some fashion too, drawing comparisons to Fallout 4 or Skyrim.

I’m sure there are other games that are a better fit for a comparison, but hopefully that gives you an idea of what lies in store.

Players can fill slots for one melee weapon, a distance weapon, one piece of armour and three spells. In terms of basic attacks, weapons range from daggers to swords and spears, while distance weapons include bows and crossbows. Armour can be anything from Wizards robes to chainmail or animal pelts, each item having its own strengths and weaknesses to fit varying styles of play. Finally, the magic slots can be filled with spells that are either offensive or defensive, or offer some sort of timed stat boost. You could for example combine a screen clearing explosion in one slot, and a totem that will heal everyone who stands within its range in another.

Dungeons does a great job of allowing players to cultivate their own style. Whether it’s maxing out on offence and relying on potions, or creating a long-range defensive set up, it won’t take long to find gear that accommodates.

Illager Will

Minecraft Dungeons is much more story driven than its predecessor. That’s not to say it has a hugely in-depth plot running through it, but there is at least a storyline tying everything together.

The plot revolves around a social outcast named Archie. Having been banished he found ‘The Orb of Dominance’, an object that gave him magical powers but also corrupted his mind. Now known as the ‘Arch-Illager’, Archie is out for revenge against those who wronged him. The player takes up the role of a hero, on a quest to end his reign of terror by taking out supply lines before a final showdown.

It’s not much, but it’s enough to explain what is happening and the narration does a great job of setting the tone as you play through each area.

Save The Kingdom

The meat of the game tasks players with a rather slim variety of mission types, spread across a world map. Each location can be played at varying difficulty levels, with the rewards ramping up in proportion.

So, what might your hero have to do in order to save the kingdom from the Illagers? It could be destroying a coven’s potion factory and taking down their enchanted cauldron. Or perhaps eradicating a pack of skeletons, or finding a hidden tome within a sprawling dungeon. There are a few other variations, but looking at it objectively they all boil down to going from point A to point B, while wiping out anything that crosses your path. That’s not to say it isn’t fun, but it also isn’t very varied either.

If you’re looking for something a bit different there is also a Tower mode. Here you start out with basic equipment and have to try to climb 30 floors of mobs, with a few bosses sprinkled in for good measure.

At the end of each floor, you are given 5 items to choose from to improve your loadout. If none of them catch your eye you can instead choose an enchanting stone, which will allow you to upgrade weapons and armour instead. This mode appeals to the gambler in me, and I’ve found myself coming back to it time and time again to see what equipment combos I might end up with. As an added bonus, reaching the higher levels of the tower rewards you with decent equipment to use in the main campaign.

Mine-cro Transactions?

As I mentioned earlier, Minecraft Dungeons has an extensive loot collecting mechanic. It also has an in-game currency in the form of emeralds, which can be used to upgrade items or buy new equipment from the vendors in the hub world. So, with that in mind, you’d think Dungeons would be littered with micro-transactions… but you’d be wrong. Mojang stated upon release that they wouldn’t be introducing them, and so far they have stuck to their word.

There HAVE been expansions released, but they unlock new cosmetics and missions, rather than a paid-for advantage.

The closest thing to a micro-transaction in the game comes in the form of an ‘Adventurer’s Pass’. This unlocks additional free items when the player levels up, essentially doubling the freebies each time. Some of these items are useful, but it doesn’t create a huge advantage like paid-for loot boxes tend to do.

The Bottom Line…

Minecraft Dungeons is a long way removed from the original game, so much so that it has next to nothing in common.

Were it not for the familiar enemies and signature blocky style, it could easily get lost amongst the glut of other Dungeon Crawlers on the market. Thankfully this styling helps it stand out, and Minecraft Dungeons is a blast. Yes there are glitches, some of which are incredibly annoying, but they aren’t bad enough to put players off completely.

Much like the original game, more players = more fun. Dungeons even offers Couch Co-Op; a nice touch when the majority of games are moving toward online play exclusively.

In many ways Dungeons feels like the multiplayer games of earlier console generations. It combines mindless hacking and slashing with elements of teamwork, which is also perfect for families wanting to introduce the younger members to gaming.

Grab some snacks, some friends, the spare controllers and slash your way through hours of frantic fun! Oh, and as always, watch out for those Creepers!

Zatu Score

Rating

  • Graphics
  • Multiplayer
  • Story (Career Mode)
  • Originality

You might like

  • Easy to pick up and play
  • No Micro-transactions!
  • Lots of replayable content

Might not like

  • Missions tend to be very samey
  • Occasional glitches are frustrating