After a lengthy porting period and what seems like an eternity worth of delays, Minecraft 360 Edition finally lands on Xbox Live Arcade. Does it live up to the hype of the PC version, or is doomed to be another lackluster port?After the initial announcement last summer, Mojang has been working tirelessly to find a fair way to port the indie smash hit Minecraft, to the Xbox 360 console and make it as true to the original as possible. As you can imagine, making a PC to console port as true as possible is no easy task and there is always something that does not make the cut or is lost in the porting process.
Believe it or not, Minecraft 360 Edition (MC360E for short) does a fairly good job of emulating what the PC version was all about, that is not to say it is a perfect port. Several features from the more recent version (1.6.6, heck even 1.2) are missing from the XBLA release. Several key features missing from MC360E include but are not limited to:
- A world size limit, so there will be defined edges instead of an endless procedurally-generated map.
- Cannot change difficulty mid-game.
- Can’t use mods, texture packs, or add player skins (8 skins included in game)
- Lack of sprint option.
- Several newer crafting/forging items and combinations are missing.
- Stamina system
- Free Roam Creation Mode is missing
On the other hand, the Xbox 360 version has some improvements and options that are not present in the PC version, such as:
- Nicely polished tutorials, particularly in-game ones.
- A new inventory/crafting UI that includes crafting recipes, so instead of a lot of trial and error to craft things it will tell you what you can make, what you need to make it, and how much of the ingredients you already have.
- 8 Player online Multiplayer
- Local 4 player split-screen multiplayer (requires HDTV, won’t work on SD)
- Eventual Kinect support.
Despite the difference, MC360E is a great way to play this indie extravaganza if you don’t have a PC that can run the game or have a PC at all. The music and sound effects are pretty much unchanged from the PC release and aren’t anything spectacular to write home about. I doubt many will have the soundtrack on their iPods or MP3 players any time soon. Not that the music is bad, it is just plain but conveys the feel of the game very well. As there is no main objective or any kind of story mode to follow, MC360E boils down to just one major thing, a HUGE TIME SINK for people. If you have ever played with Legos in your life and enjoyed it, or ever wanted to build your own world then MC360E is for you. There are threats to your life every so often, but it is nothing that will take away from the experience.
Even though MC360E just released this past Wednesday, I have already spent much more time playing it than I thought I had. All because the gameplay and simplicity of the game pulls you in and makes you loose all track of time or any type of plan you had for itself. MC360E is a bit pricey at 1600 msp ($20) but it is well worth it in my opinion. So go out there, download the game from the Xbox Live Market Place and prepare to throw your life away like you would an MMO.