Published on May 13th, 2012 | by Charlie
Review: Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition
Summary: Charlie takes a look at Minecraft XBLA Edition, is it any good? read the review to find out!
Minecraft for the Xbox 360 was announced back at E3 2011, and almost a year later, it’s here. Why did it take nearly a year to release such a simple port? Probably to mark the month when a man nicknamed “Notch” began creating such a gem of a game for the PC. Is Minecraft: Xbox 360 edition even a great port? I suppose it is.
Minecraft on the PC was pure genius; it was a simple concept that was soon turned into an addiction by gamers all around the world. The concept was: start up a world… and create (oh and also “survive” from the zombies, creepers, skeletons, spiders and so forth that come out at night). And throughout the 3 years that this game has been out, adventure maps have been made, whole cities based on fictional cities have been created, mods and texture packs have also been mad; but can you do all this in the Xbox 360 port? Not everything, no. What needs to be realized is that the Xbox 360 version seems to be behind that of it’s PC version; it’s been reported that Minecraft for the Xbox 360 has gone back to the routes of earlier patches from the PC version, so there’s no hunger update (thank god), no “creative mode”, no Endermen, and sadly, no pistons; so there’s a mixture of ups and downs as to what is and is not in the Xbox 360 version.
A couple of significant changes you may notice in this version is the crafting. In the PC version, a lot of the time you were trying to guess some recipes, where as in the Xbox 360, all the recipes are there for you; I’m unsure of this is a good or bad thing because it was always fun to try and guess recipes. But then I suppose Mojang and 4J Studios are trying to make this appeal to new players; most of us spent three years figuring out the game whilst it was being developed, whereas when releasing a new port to hopefully attract new fans, it’s essential.
With the limitations of the console, something big occurs in the port: world sizes are limited. When the world loads for the first time, you are given a map. As you explore, you can only ever go as far as the map shows you, or else you’ll run into an invisible wall (if you see what looks like an ocean in front of you, then if you try to swim it, that’s when you’ll hit the wall). This factor slightly shows the rustyness of a console. Despite the limitations, the game runs at a smooth 60 FPS, which is really nice.
With a new port comes a new feature. Leaderboards have been included in the game, and whilst they’re not really something you’ll look at often, it’s good that they’ve been included so you can compete with your friends to either mine a little more, travel a little further and kill a lot more than your friends. Most of the achievements have been brought through from the PC version, and in the first 30 minutes, you’ll probably unlock achievement after achievement after achievement, but then some later ones will require a little more effort than just mining some wood or opening your inventory (yes, those are just 2 real achievements in this game).
The PC version had a multiplayer which tended to be a pain to operate, and kind of still is. The Xbox 360 version completely fixes this and makes setting up multiplayer easier. Before you log into a world you created, you’re given the choice if you want to have online on or off. If left on, you can also select if you want your map open to all of your friends or if they have to be invited, which comes in pretty handy if you don’t want friends you don’t quite trust yet joining your map (they might destroy everything).
You might remember that back in the day, setting up a Minecraft server on the PC version could be a bit of a pain; you had to download this launcher, make sure you were connected, and you also had to worry if your PC could handle running the game and the server at the same time. Fortunately, everything is done for you on the Xbox 360 version. Just by choosing the “Online” option will allow whether people may join your server or not. You can also choose whether you’d like it to be open for anybody, a private game or by invitation only. And they always say that it’s better to play with friends than by yourself, and with a game like Minecraft, that is always true. And you can actually have up to 8 players playing on your world, so you can have a real party there. The game also includes 4 player split screen co-op, so if you have friends over and 3 other controllers, just pop on Minecraft and get building (I’d like to see gamers try and use 1 keyboard and 1 mouse for 4 players on the PC version if split screen existed on it).
There’s no doubt, however, that Minecraft could be improved. A lot. First off, why did they miss out so much in the game? They had 1 year to build this simple game, and I think what they’re trying to do is make the game in sync with the PC version so updates would be released as the PC updates were (so we might just be saying Hi to unwanted updates). This idea is rather stupid, and I’d rather they just take everything Minecraft players actually wanted from the PC version and put it in the Xbox 360 version, like Pistons, Endermen, being able to stack fences, gates, and most importantly, bigger worlds! Minecraft on Xbox 360 is quite far behind, and the special treatment I feel like it’s getting is rather silly; what’s the point in these free updates if one day you might “one day” run out of resources in a world?
And for the release of the game, the least they could have done was released a few texture packs; they’re simple to import onto your PC version, so why not the Xbox 360 version? Also if the developers want to make this game truly something, allow for the current crafting system to be turned off so that we can figure out recipes by ourselves if we want to. Also it’s quite a shame that we cannot change our characters texture model, so I really hope they add that in a future update. There’s also a few bugs in the game, for example one bug has you furiously trying to defeat an enemy, and the enemy turns red to show it’s been hit, but no damage is being done to it as well as no sound effect. Sometimes even your weapon will deplete. Then when you move out from a corner you might be hiding in, your weapon will soon replenish and the enemy will try to kill you again.
Minecraft for Xbox 360 is certainly a welcomed game, allowing those without a PC to build for months to come. But with small worlds, less items and the lack of a few notable features, it makes you wonder if “classic Minecraft” was actually any good any more.
Watch “Episode One” of my playthrough of the game below.
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