Ever since Minecraft’s release on the PC there have been games on Xbox Live that have tried to capture the same kind of magic. But those games can step aside, because Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition is out and it’s taking the online world by storm.
In its first day on Xbox Live, Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition made record sales, currently Minecraft is the most purchased arcade game on its release date. That’s no small accomplishment, and its very well deserved. With Minecraft finally out for Xbox 360, many of our writers became “distracted” as they tried out the game. I myself became very distracted by the game, even though I have it for PC as well.
Minecraft on the Xbox takes some getting used to, the controls might not immediately stick with you, but after half an hour or so you’ll get into the swing of things. In order to speed things up, and make things a bit easier for players, Minecraft for the 360 has tutorials teaching you about different gameplay mechanics. This includes explaining the purposes and affects of each block, how to mine or place items, and even help you with crafting. Of the things that Minecraft for the 360 has improved upon, crafting is the most notable. In the PC version you would have to place blocks in the appropriate formation to craft an item, but on the 360 version things are much more streamlined and accessible. Your crafting menu is split into different tabs for different blocks or consumables that can be made, the first tab is construction blocks which include wooden planks, sandstone, and bricks. The crafting menu will tell you if you have the necessary blocks for the item, and crafting it becomes a simple button click away. This makes things a lot easier for new players, rather than the PC version where you would have to sit on the Minecraft Wiki looking up how to construct different items.
The accessibility is only one of the aspects of Minecraft 360′s charm. For the first time ever, Minecraft has split screen, opening up a whole new level of play for its fans. Instead of everyone needing their own PC to play, all you need is one console and you can have up to four people playing alongside each other on the same screen. Online games can support up to 8 people, which makes for an intimate gathering. Unlike the PC, creating a server on Xbox Live means launching an online game. There’s no need for monthly payments for servers, or the amount of upkeep that people have to put into the PC build. However, the limit of 8 people per game limits what can be accomplished, removing the chance of massive faction servers on the Xbox, or having dedicated servers that are running 24-7.
The Xbox 360 Edition of Minecraft is an older build of the game, using a beta build of the game’s engine. This means that certain blocks and mobs are yet to make an appearance, although Microsoft has stated their plans to update the game regularly in order to get it up to speed with the PC version. The next update will bring pistons into the game, opening up new options for the legions of Minecraft fans playing on the console. Some of the features yet to be incorporated in the Xbox version include Endermen, sprinting, enchantment tables, texture packs, player skins, and most importantly, cats (Ocelots). Minecraft of the 360 has a limited map size, capped at 1024 x 1024 blocks, which is the approximate size of a usable map in-game. It is currently unknown if the map size will be increased in the future via patches.
The game currently suffers from a few bugs and glitches, some of which we hope will be resolved immediately. The most obvious glitch has to do with sleeping, in which monsters will spawn in your house once you’ve gone to sleep. It doesn’t matter if your house is completely lit or not, the monsters will still spawn, making it impossible for you to sleep through the dangerous night and into the morning hours. There are a few ways to fix this from having smaller rooms to keeping you bed away from the wall but its still very annoying. It has also been discovered that you need an HD TV in order to play split screen, this might be not a glitch, but it does limit playability for those who do not have access to an HD TV. 4J Studios, who created the port to the 360, is aware of the fact that split screen is possible only on a resolution of 720 or 1080.
Graphically, Minecraft looks as Minecraft should. It looks and feels like Minecraft, which in the end is the most important thing. At its core it is the same game, just easier for the new players who don’t understand everything about the world of ‘Craft. It takes the simplistic nature of Minecraft and makes the game much more accessible to new players. With patches that will bring Minecraft on the 360 up to date with the PC version, it will be interesting to see what kind of amazing maps and creations will be built on the console side.
- Streamlined crafting
- Split screen play
- It’s Minecraft, on the Xbox
- It’s a much older build of Minecraft
- Can’t sleep through the night without shrinking your room or moving your bed
- Only 8 players to an online game