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By all rights Minecraft is not a game that should be in any way fun. It lacks a story and the graphics are…well they are blocks…lots and lots of blocks. However, many games have tried to achieve that pure addictive quality that keeps us locked in for hours on end by flashing bright shiny high polygon count graphics and a “compelling” story but end up being about as fun to play as hopscotch with polar bears at the zoo. The folks at Mahjong found an amazing hit when they released Minecraft on the PC. They discovered that if you give gamers the equivalent of a bunch of Legos, throw in an in depth crafting system and add monsters when the sun goes down then gamers all over the world will take it and craft things that make the rest of us feel bad about our entire lives and who we are as a society.
Minecraft on the PC was a serious challenge for beginners who often found themselves being killed due to the lack of any kind of tutorial. The game follows a day night cycle and the player was expected to know exactly what to do during their first day. If you didn’t, Minecraft would punish you with a variety of monsters including zombies, spiders and skeletons who fire arrows at you like a creepy dead cupid. The Xbox edition of Minecraft (like all PC games put on a console) takes the ruthless take that the PC gave new gamers and softens it for the more casual gamer. The game offers a 15-20 minute tutorial (based on how quick you pick up the basics) on everything you need to do to get started before throwing the demonic blocky monsters at you. However, even though the 360 version talks you through the basics, it is not willing to give you everything. It simply primes you. The player is the one who has to work for what they get. This includes everything from tools to glass.
As I stated above, the graphics are not Gears of War quality, but the blocky graphics have become so iconic to Minecraft we wouldn’t want them any other way. The game is 100% blocks with no curves in sight, but if you took a game with as big a fan base as Minecraft and tried to change the graphics you would have a very large group of very angry fan boys and that could very well be the worst thing on the planet earth including the nuclear holocaust.
The audio stays faithful to the pc version of Minecraft and takes the whole “if it isn’t broke” method. The music in Minecraft is simple enough to where you can enjoy it but not intrusive enough to where you really focus on it. It is usually just a pleasant set of tunes that are extremely peaceful for a game where you create various structures while trying to avoid death and dismemberment.
On the PC version of Minecraft, the multiplayer was so difficult to get set up that most gamers played alone. It involved creating a server which usually meant you needed to download another program designed to set up servers, getting all of your friends to download that program, synching everyone together, and getting everyone to use the same randomly created world file. Xbox Live alleviates this issue with ease. Setting up a multiplayer game is as easy as inviting a friend. This is something truly entertaining as working together over Live to create the blessed tower of safety made entirely out of diamonds (Minecraft Vets: You know you thought about it) is so much more satisfying when you put the last block in and sit back to admire your creation together before something explodes and destroys it.
Minecraft on the Xbox 360 was released based on a beta version of the PC game with a promise of free patches to bring it up to speed with the PC version. While certain features are currently missing from the Xbox edition – including the ability to sprint or have food stack into one inventory slot rather than multiple slots – can get annoying, once the patches come out the PC content and the 360 content will be almost indistinguishable.
|Overall Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition is a great game for the creative monster inside of you. With a large open world to explore and mine mixed with just the right amount of combat to keep you on your toes, Minecraft has a little something for everyone. At 1600 Microsoft points the game is well worth the space it takes up on a hard drive and with the free DLC patches to bring it up to speed it has lasting appeal.|