Game Review: Minecraft [Xbox 360]
Minecraft is a sandbox in its purest sense, leaving you to fend for yourself in a wild and expansive land with nothing but your own thoughts to keep you company. That said, you might not be as alone as you think as you can invite up to 3 friends to join in on the fun. Having the freedom to do what you want gives you a true sense of adventure as you’ll soon find your creative minds working away at some sort of project, no matter how big or small.
While still very simplistic in design, Minecraft captures a type of innocent beauty, which is now all too foreign in today’s high-end gaming world. Unlike many top tier games that explode with button combinations and sequences etc, the nice people at Mojang have chiseled down Minecraft’s mechanics into a simple but finely tuned machine that offers up a surprisingly large number of ways to play the game.
From the quickest of glances at the title, you’ll swiftly understand that mining is the key to the game, which is why the landscape provides you with an array of resources to fuel your imagination. As soon as you’ve acquired your needed materials you’ll encounter the game’s intricate crafting system; boasting a vast number of items such as torches or armour and vital tools like a pickaxe or shovel which can be created to fit your every need.
If the ‘things to do, places to go’ notion keeps popping up all too often, things can soon feel a little daunting in the world of Minecraft. Luckily there are a few difficulty modes which tailor to many preferences. Much like the PC version’s ‘Survival Mode’, the Easy, Normal, and Hard modes reward you with an abundance of resources available throughout, whilst making the whole ‘survivor’ thing more of a reality as all manner of beastly creatures are ever on the lookout for a square meal… get it. When starting out, you’ll likely feel a little intimidated by the fact that bright light is your only hope of making it through the night, but hopefully if you’ve mustered up the courage to make it through a few of these, you’ll know that hard work pays, especially if you’ve made yourself some shiny armour and weapons… oh and an impenetrable fortress… it couldn’t be easier.
If you’re only in it for the sun, sea and… well, mines, Peaceful mode is the one for you. Being the most light hearted of the bunch, Peaceful mode removes any form of threat from the game, allowing you to happily mine away without having to develop a habit of looking over your shoulder every two minutes. This makes life a great deal easier to sculpt your empire but can also limit your overall experience as certain materials are either absent or nigh on impossible to obtain.
No matter how you play, having the ability to play either offline or online is still a major part of the game, allowing you the freedom to not only play the way you want, but to also approach the game in the fashion you find most fun. Although I wouldn’t ponder on this for too long as you could just as easily team up with three other players to war it out with the local wildlife or build an empire of gold as you would if you were on a solo mission.
The sheer amount of freedom that Minecraft throws at you is a true phenomenon these days, with finely crafted shooters and open-ended adventure games that blot out the sun, casting a daunting shadow over smaller simplistic titles such as this. However Minecraft’s lack of tightly crafted gameplay and design stands as one of its greatest strengths as you must literally create your own game out of the resources offered, allowing your freedom to literally run wild. That said, it can easily come across as a weakness for those who prefer the fine tuned gaming experience without any need of having finding your own fun.
While the PC version has has more features on offer such as huge online servers and mods etc the Xbox 360 version still holds much of the original experience, and who knows, Mojang may have some cool DLC ideas for the future.