by Leif Seifert
If you’ve played Minecraft on the computer, then you know what to expect from the game’s recent port to consoles: An unusually addicting game that’s a little too easy to sink dozens of hours into, as you, uh… build stuff? Despite lacking a clear focus or objective to complete, Minecraft is still one of the most creative, original, and fun games released over Xbox Live in recent memory, and considering some of its competition, that’s really saying something.
What The Game Does Right
All in all, the Minecraft experience remains intact, and true to form in its console debut. More than this however, the game also features some new gameplay mechanics that take an already enjoyable experience, and make it much better. These changes come predominantly in three forms. The first is the game’s new crafting system, which is significantly more streamlined and user-friendly, allowing for a more fluid experience that we can only hope will be bounced back to the PC version in the near future. The second improvement is the ability to play with friends over Xbox Live, which eliminates the hassle of trying to navigate servers, as was the case in the original game.
The final addition, and possibly the most significant one, is the ability to play the game locally via the four-player split-screen option. Though some might overlook this seemingly logical option, it’s hard to explain just how much the game improves when you and your friends are able to communicate directly, allowing for maximum creative potential (and an average of 30% more creeper fatalities)!
What The Game Does Wrong
While most of the game’s problems are currently unavoidable technical fixes that are necessary for the game to successfully run on the 360 hardware, these changes do negate some of the experience originally available on the PC version of the game. The world in which the player inhabits is no longer seemingly infinite, as very finite borders in the form of invisible walls exist, taking the game’s once grand scale and shrinking it down to a noticeably smaller one. Another downgrade from the original is the omission of some of the game’s more recently added features, such as the enchanting and leveling systems. While it may at first seem alarming, it is easily forgivable and ultimately does little to hurt the game’s overall experience, as is the case with the game’s now reduced map.
A more problematic issue with the game is the inability to co-own worlds with friends in multiplayer. What this means is that any world inhabited by more than one player requires the original creator of said world to be present in order for others to access it. This is really the one major downside of lacking a joint server, but it should be an easy enough fix in later updates of the game.
It’s Minecraft, it’s $20, and it’s on Xbox Live. Now, go get this game, because every second you spend reading this article is another second you aren’t getting to enjoy Minecraft on the 360.