Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition

On may 9th, the xbox 360 edition of Minecraft became available from the Xbox Live Market Place. Already, it has sold more than a million copies. I recently joined an online session with a friend to check out the new release. 

Unfortunately, the current version for the Xbox is slightly outdated. All of the awesome features that came with the 1.8 Adventure Update are currently absent, meaning that the terrain is less diverse and the whole look of the game is not quite as rich. With the latest PC version, we had new 'Mobs' (enemies) such as the Endermen, who only became hostile once direct eye contact had been made (the cusor passing over the body). We also had varied scenery such as NPC villages and abandoned mine shafts. Also, the lighting was improved upon with the adventure pack, particularly noticeable with placed torches and also dramatic sunsets. Overall, the game was really starting to feel epic in scope. Another concern is with the new bugs that have arisen. There are many glitches in the gameplay which result in lost items and even crashing. This is understandable, as this new version is sill classed as the beta release meaning bugs are expected at this stage.

the new platform does offer some advantages. One of the main improvements on gameplay is crafting. Instead of having to memorise crafting combinations or searching for them on the net, the interface is much more efficient. Incase you are unaware of what exactly crafting is, it is the ability to combine items to create new items. This is an essential part of the game as certain 'blocks' require different tools to be mined. When the player goes into crafting mode with the Xbox edition, they are given a menu containing items that can be crafted. If the player lacks the required items to combine, the menu highlights what the player needs to collect to create the new item. This makes crafting much easier, particular for the new Xbox users who are playing Minecraft for the first time. Another advantage is the multiplayer mode, Split-screen has now been enabled, and on top of this, players using split-screen mode can still connect with their friends online. The version also allows up to 8 to connect with each other. Another advantage I noticed immediately was how fast I was able to connect with my friend. When connecting with a PC, servers often start to lag and time out. Bigs aside, the whole experience was generally smoother and more responsive.

In conclusion, it will be interesting to see how the Xbox 360 edition of Minecraft progresses. Although much of the content is behind in comparison to the PC version, the Xbox platform in my view offers a generally much more refined online experience. The ability to drop in and out of sessions with players from your list of friends defeats the problem of hosting servers on the PC version and connecting through separate chat programmes. I personally am looking forward to the next upgrade. I have heard that the team do eventually plan to release the Adventure Update.

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