Minecraft | Zombiegamer Review

Reviewed by Charl ‘PottyZA’ Potgieter.

Minecraft is a true sandbox game; you can build anything that you’re able to imagine. The newly released Xbox 360 edition is a port of a year old PC version of Minecraft, so don’t expect to see all of the features that you might have come to love from the PC version. Minecraft is a part of the Arcade Next promotion and includes 400GS’ worth of achievements (and in this case they are particularly easy).

Developer:  4J Studios
Publisher:  Microsoft
Platform:  Xbox Live Arcade
Price:  1600MSP
If we had to give it a numerical score:  8.5 out of 10

What I liked:

  • Addictive
  • Great graphical style
  • 4 player splitscreen multiplayer and 8 players online
  • You can build anything you like
  • Good soundtrack
  • Randomly generated worlds
  • Solid framerate of 60fps.

What I didn’t like:

  •  Multiplayer lag
  • Freezing issues (mainly while accessing leaderboards)
  • Based on a year old PC version of Minecraft
  • Expensive
  • Boring in singleplayer.

It would be fair to say that I have put a lot of time into the PC version of Minecraft and after this weekend, equally as much into the Xbox 360 version. It’s the same addictive gameplay that can be found in the PC version (minus a few features), but with better controls and accessibility. Minecraft plays great on an Xbox controller – the controls are fairly intuitive and the rock solid 60fps framerate makes it feel amazing.

The game is all about building anything you can imagine and mining all the resources you need to build your masterpiece in the process. Simply put, it’s all in the name – it’s about mining and crafting.  To help with making your tools and items, 4J Studios has designed an innovative Xbox-specific crafting interface which is very easy to use and saves you from having to check the official Minecraft wiki every 5 minutes to see how to craft that one specific item you need.

Minecraft has always been a game that is better with friends; the Xbox 360 edition makes it even easier to play it with your best buddies. The game supports 4 player splitscreen (local and online) and up to 8 players over Xbox Live. Playing Minecraft alone sucks… a lot. It is worth mentioning that splitscreen can only be played on an HDTV at 720P or 1080P, the interface is unreadable on a SDTV so the developers do not allow you to play at such a low resolution. Unfortunately, multiplayer over Live has terrible lag issues (which can be solved for a while by leaving your friend’s world and rejoining).

The game has a great “blocky” visual style. The world is easy to navigate and the game arguably controls better than its PC cousin. Minecraft can sometimes get a little frustrating, especially if you die by the hands of the suicidal explosive maniac ‘creepers’ that make you have to run back to fetch all your tools and resources  – survival is an important aspect of the Minecraft experience. You might want to show off your latest creations when you’re done, so the game allows you to easily share in game screenshots over Facebook with an accessible menu option. In fact, the above screenshot was of a world constructed by myself and a few friends.

The current version of Minecraft on the Xbox 360 is over a year old, so many of the features that appear in the PC version have not been implemented yet. 4J Studios have promised that they will be updating the 360 edition to bring it on par with the PC version. Creative mode will be making an appearance, as well as the “Adventure update” which adds RPG elements, hunger meters, randomly generated NPC villages, dungeons and fortresses (filled to the brim with enemies). Kinect features will also be added in a later update.

As it stands, I wouldn’t recommend Minecraft at 1600MSP – after the first few updates, definitely, but not yet. It will eventually be worth it when the adventure update is released (this should be within the next few months). Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great game and it’s incredibly addictive but the 1600 Microsoft point price tag is a little steep for what you’re getting. If you are, however, looking for a relaxing game to play with friends, then Minecraft might just be the answer.

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