- Minecraft fundementals are still scarily addictive
- Split-screen and online play
- Runs smoothly
- Out of date compared to the PC version
- Limited world size
- Lack of mods or personal touches.
To say Minecraft is popular would be the understatement of the century. What started out as a small indie release from a couple of Swedish guys has grown into one of the biggest games in the world. Although basic at first glance, it’s ludicrously in-depth if you let yourself become absorbed. Minecraft has sold like hot-cakes…hot-cakes covered in gold…and diamonds. Because we all know how much Minecraft players like their diamonds! Now, however, Minecraft has made the leap from PC to consoles and is available through Xbox Live’s Marketplace. Is it worth jumping ship?
First and foremost, there’s absolutely no denying that Minecraft is better on PC. As much as I’ve enjoyed playing it with a joypad and on my TV, what you get on Xbox 360 is not only more limited than the PC version, but incredibly out of date when compared to the PC version – almost a year old now. Whilst PC players are bouncing around creating potions, enchanting weapons and even travelling to “The End” to battle a fierce dragon, Xboxers are having to make do with what released in May 2011 for PC players. Now don’t get me wrong, the Xbox version of Minecraft is still fantastic, especially if you’re indulging for the first time, but if you’re a PC player who’s already comfortable and familiar with the title, you’ll be a bit disappointed.
If you’re not in the know, the concept of Minecraft is pretty simple. You’re dumped into a world made entirely of cubes and left to do whatever you fancy. Each different cube in the world has a different property and the aim of the game is to ultimately just get the materials you need and get building something amazing. Sure, if you’ve got no imagination whatsoever you’ll be all kinds of lost, but as you go from gathering basic wood with a cheap wooden axe to gathering everything you find with a diamond pickaxe, you can’t help but be absorbed.
Each block in the game not only can be placed to build things but often serves as an ingredient or component to be used in making something else. So chopping down a tree gives you wood blocks. The wood blocks can then be changed into wooden planks blocks and then they can be changed into sticks. Then the sticks can be combined with other materials like stone, iron, gold or diamonds to make tools. Those are just a few examples and when you look through the available recipes in-game, you’ll see that you can create anything from minecarts and tracks, to bread and cakes.
Unlike the PC version of Minecraft, the only option of play available on Xbox 360 is Survival mode. Unless you’re playing on peaceful difficulty, Survival places monsters in your world that will attempt to hinder your progress and ultimately kill you. Die and everything you’re carrying comes tumbling out of your pockets and you’re sent back to the spawn point or your bed if you built one. To combat this, you’re advised to create and equip armour which lets you take less damage from attacks, and to carry food which heals you. It’s here that an annoyance arises due to the 360 being an older version. In the PC version of Minecraft, you have two bars – one for health and one for hunger. If your hunger bar is full, your health slowly regenerates. What this means is that to stay alive, all you really need to do is scarf down a few pork chops every now and then and the health bar will stay maxed. On the 360 version though, food directly heals health and it ultimately means you’ll have to eat far too often. To make things worse, unlike in the updated PC version, each food item takes up a single square in your inventory so if you wanted to go exploring with food in tow, be prepared to sacrifice valuable storage space.
Perhaps the biggest annoyance that is present in the 360 edition of Minecraft is the limited world capacity you’re given. Whereas in the PC version of the game you’re allowed to explore as much as you want and the world just grows infinitely, the 360 version limits the world to one in-game map item’s size. Whilst it’s still more than large enough to get busy in, there does come a point where you just fancy a new world simply because you’ve filled your map and you’re only retracing your steps over old ground. It’s not a game breaker by any means, it just looks feeble next to the huge worlds its PC brethren is capable of generating.
Whether you invest in Minecraft on Xbox 360 ultimately boils down to whether you play it on PC or not. There is no denying the PC version’s superiority especially with the wealth of mods available but the 360 version is still worth checking out. On the plus side, you are able to take the game online with friends without faffing about with servers and you can even go split-screen if you fancy it. Overall though, PC wins by a milestone. Only invest if you really don’t want to play on your computer.