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Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition (Xbox 360) artwork

Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition (Xbox 360) review

"While Iíve played the game quite often from first obtaining it, I feel that there is still so much to do. My ambition from Minecraft doesnít extend to reaching any set goals. Rather, itís about looking forward to a journey that will take me beyond lava lakes and nether portals and into something far more withstanding Ė my own world. Made my way. "

In Minecraft you mine stuff. Seems simple enough, right? You make some tools Ė a shovel for digging up mounds of soil, a pickaxe to chip through the rocky belly of the earth Ė and then you basically go around searching for ores and precious stones so you can then craft better tools to allow you to repeat the process ad infinitum. You canít sell your wares, though, and there are only a limited amount of tools to make from the materials you dig up. Whereís the appeal in that? Sure, the boxy ďvoxelsĒ that comprise each world are aesthetically pleasing to behold in a retro-is-the-new-fad sort of way, and the idea of being able to dig wherever you want as you strive to build your personal treasure trove of riches is an appreciated sense of freedom from the linear predictability that is commonplace in so many console games; but at the end of the day, itís all just a whole lot of digging for no definitive purpose or payoff, míright?

Well, no, not really. Thereís more in Minecraft than just repetitive mining, and itís in those ďotherĒ areas of its creative sandbox existence that I find myself most eager to return to time after time. Being new to Minecraft, I didnít know what to do when I first started up a new game. I crafted a giant hole in the surface of my lamely labeled ďNew WorldĒ and tried to find some iron so I could make a sturdier pickaxe than the flimsy stone one I was employing. It wasnít long though before I had dug up a lot of crap: rocks, sand, dirt Ė you know, all the junk you donít want.

To a twit, these perceivably valueless blocks act as more of a nuisance than anything, taking up precious inventory space first on your blocky avatar and then in your wooden chests. But when you apply your mind and begin using them to build structures, youíll find that itís the building aspect of Minecraft that makes the game so enjoyable.

Since my big hole project, Iíve constructed multi-storied mansions, spherical greenhouses, ominous temples, and secretive underwater bases, to name a few. Like Lego Blocks before them, there is no limit to what you can do with the resources available to you. That is why Minecraft is the perfect game. On the PC it allows customization through numerous mods, an extensive archive of updates dating back to its initial launch in 2009, and a dutiful community that manages to find new ways of squeezing every last drop of creative juice from its metaphorical conceptual sponge. But this is a review of the 360 version, not for the PC. Surely it must falter by comparison, right?

Well, in some senses, yes, if only because the PC version allows greater customizability through mods, has more features because itís been out longer, and touts a glorious creative mode that lets any aspiring architect build whatever they want without having to do the legwork of actually acquiring the materials to do it. Also worth noting: the 360 versionís worlds are smaller Ė only 1024X1024 blocks in size in contrast to the never-ending ones on the PC. And it was only yesterday, Friday, July 13, 2012 that allowed for items like pistons to become available. It may seem inconceivable on what I am about to declare, but know now that Iím probably a little nuts anyway: it doesnít matter if the 360 version of Minecraft lacks some of the things that its older PC brother has. This version can stand on its own, and itís only a matter of time before it catches up what the PC has to offer. Thatís not my personal promise, rather thatís the promise of the company that made the game. Donít like it? Donít care!

Besides, there is so much to do in just one 1024x1024 world of Minecraft that it is startling to see how sneaky it can be at making hours of your time zip by without you even realizing it. Take this as evidence: I wanted to construct a domed basilica with a 50X50 base. Iím no mathematician, but that would mean I would need 196 blocks for the base outline. Thatís easy to set, assuming the ground is perfectly flat. Before I could lay the foundation, I had to smooth out a spiraling mountain and fill in part an ill-placed seabed. Two hours, it was done! I knew it took two hours, and that I should probably take a break, but the thought of laying my buildingís foundation was too tantalizing of a prospect to pass up. I started laying cobblestone block, and before I knew it, I was erecting walls and spiraling stairs and initiating the basilicaís glass dome. Then I ran out of glass and went to go dig up more sand so I could throw in an oven to craft it into what I wanted. But then I ran out of coal to put in the oven, so then I had to go back into my mine pit and look for some. By the time it was all said and done, I had spent another four hours and didnít even have a complete building shell to show for it.

Maybe that doesnít sound like your idea of a fun time. Perhaps you prefer blasting terrorists in the face with a FAMAS. Hey, I do, too, from time to time. In the event that mining or building can get boring, there are always foes to fight in-game. You can turn them on or off as you see fit, just as you can play online or off, again, as you deem appropriate. Whenever I find myself frustrated by not being to complete a building project because of material shortages, and then I go to acquire more said materials and canít find any because Iíve mined out the area, I just stop and marvel at what I have created. Then Iíll stumble upon a lode of coal or an elusive diamond, or Iíll figure out how to design my building a little more efficiently. At the end of the day, I canít say Iíve ever turned the game off in frustration because thereís really no way to lose. Thereís so much offered that you are really only limited to what you can imagine. Playing the game with other people only adds to the variability of what can be imagined.

While Iíve played the game quite often from first obtaining it, I feel that there is still so much to do. My ambition from Minecraft doesnít extend to reaching any set goals. Rather, itís about looking forward to a journey that will take me beyond lava lakes and nether portals and into something far more withstanding Ė my own world. Made my way.

Edit: On October 16, 2012, 4J Studios uploaded the latest update to Minecraft 360 to allow for a bevy of new options for playing the game. The most significant is now, finally, the gameís creative mode can be accessed and enjoyed. While I find it liberating to have an unlimited supply of building materials at my disposal, I think Iíll still stick to the gameís survival mode for any serious crafting since it is the more satisfying of the two modes. But even sugar can be good from time to time.


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Community review by Fiddlesticks (July 14, 2012)

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