I’ll be the first to admit that I got on the Minecraft bandwagon late. Even after getting it as a gift, I didn’t fully understand what the draw was.
However, I think I’m starting to get it now. After playing it for about a week on 360, I keep coming back to it, not only to explore more caves, but just to perfect what I’ve built.
You probably know what Minecraft is by now, so I’m just going to give a brief overview for the people that may not know. The game has no story. You start out with nothing, but, by punching a tree, making items, etc., you can eventually have diamond armor, weapons, a mansion and more.
You need the weapons because of what lurks in the world. Creepers, spiders, zombies and skeleton archers are always ready to take you down, causing you to lose your stuff and start back at square one until you recover everything.
The game is mainly hindered by your imagination. Want to create a replica of something from a game? Go for it. Want to make an entire castle for friends to explore? The options there, you just have to make it first.
The game is pretty much an exact replica of the PC version, but there are a few differences players will notice. One of the biggest changes comes in the area of crafting. Players no longer have to remember what items go where when trying to make any kind of item. Instead, the game features a menu that shows what items are needed to make a bigger item and where they go. All you need to do is have the items on you and you’re good to go.
The 360 version also features four-player split-screen (and eight players online) and a tutorial mode. The split-screen play supports up to four players on an HD TV, while the tutorial mode helps introduce players to the various mechanics and blocks in the game. The tutorial especially is a good addition for players that never checked out the PC version to make sure they understand the basis of what can be done.
As the 360 version stands right now, it’s missing a few big areas that make the PC version so popular. For one, mods and extra skins are not available to download, and it doesn’t look like they’ll be available anytime soon. The mods are a big part of what makes the game fun, so seeing at least some of them not included at launch is disappointing.
The other feature missing is all the updates from version 1.6.6. This is the version that the 360 edition is based off of. So, the new mobs, experience, food system, villages and more still aren’t in the game. While they should be added later as free updates, people who were hoping to transition over to join friends on consoles will be disappointed.
Another disappointment is the absence of just a creator mode. I’ll admit that sometimes I change the game mode whenever I just want to build on the PC. However, the 360 doesn’t have that luxury yet, and it’s not known if it ever will.
All of this leads up to one big point I have, trying to release a game when a newer for of it is already out there is problematic. PC owners won’t want to get it unless their console friends convince them to get it. And, with a $20 entry point, paying that much for an earlier version may push gamers away.
Besides future updates putting newer versions in, Kinect functionality has also been promised later on down the road. Honestly, to keep players interested updates will probably have to come fairly regularly to give players more reasons to explore.
With a game like Minecraft, the amount of fun you have will be based on your imagination. If you want to play it like a standard game, once you find some diamond or collect all the Achievements you’ll never come back to it. However, if you want to keep upgrading your house or trying to go a bit deeper into the mines you’ll find plenty to do.
I’m also interested to see what the community does with worlds when it goes live. There is a lot of potential for fun worlds to be made and seen, but it depends on how many creative minds get their hands on it.
However, even the most creative people may have a problem coming back once they have everything they’ve built perfected. Like I stated earlier, the updates will have to keep coming fairly consistently to keep players wanting to keep coming back.
As I’m sure most readers know by now, the graphics are blocky. They aren’t really great to look at, but does give the game a certain overall atmosphere that’s nice. The music in the game is also a great accompaniment to making your stay in the world enjoyable as well.
Overall, Minecraft for 360 brings over most of what makes the game fun, but not all. Like the PC version, this is a good start, but it’s the updates that will keep players coming back to play it. I say give it a shot if you like creating, you won’t be disappointed once you see the hours slipping away.