Minecraft: Xbox One Edition Review
How many times do we have to tell you that Minecraft is bloody brilliant? It’s come to a point where it seems fairly redundant to keep banging the Minecraft drum; everyone has played it and while the block-building game doesn’t appeal to all of those that have, there’s a sense that – by now – there isn’t much more to be said of Mojang’s unexpected phenomenon. Except, of course, in this very particular situation. Minecraft won’t ever represent a truly ‘next-gen’ experience, but that doesn’t mean that the Xbox One equivalent doesn’t come bundled with a heap of upgrades that make it worth your time.
Take, for example, the increased world sizes. At 36 times larger than its Xbox 360 sibling, this version of Minecraft probably seems impossibly spacious. It’s unlikely that many of you noticed the restrictions on world size on the previous version, but that’s irrelevant – that restriction is gone. ‘36 times’ no doubt feels like a ridiculous statement, but in truth (especially if you play in multiplayer) it’s pretty important. There’s more space to spread out than ever before, and if you’re a fan of using the Nether to quickly travel large distances then this will be one of the biggest improvements of all. Though truth be told there is a criticism here: though it’s possible to import an Xbox 360 world into this fancy new version, as of yet there isn’t a way to actually increase its size. So you’ll get all the updated features and graphics, but that world that you’ve put countless hours into is, sadly, going to be restrained by its old-gen trappings. If you are considering the Xbox One version, know that you’re probably better off starting again.
Then there’s the visual side of it. Laugh all you like, but there are graphical improvements here. Most noticeable is the enhanced line of sight; now you’ll be able to peer off into a much greater distance than before, which might seem like an insignificant thing but, truthfully, it makes Minecraft’s world feel all the more realised.
Then there’s the frame rate or, more specifically, the game’s speedier loading. The odd stutter and freeze would happen on Xbox 360, but with the faster memory of the Xbox One the world data can be brought in much quicker – in most cases becoming unnoticeable. There’s the higher resolution, too, which is of course a wonderful improvement and can be spotted by the most ardent of pixel-counters, but the rest of us normal gamers will find little to celebrate here; simply the fact that it’ll now be native to the resolution of your TV is just an added bonus and little else.
But really that’s all there is to it for improvements across the generations, and for some that could be disappointing. There’s a stronger foundation to build from – pun intended – so if you find yourself returning to Minecraft every so often then this will be necessary to keep you future-proofed. Let’s face it, the Xbox 360 version had so many updates and patches throughout its lifetime, we can only assume the Xbox One equivalent will have just as many – if even just to keep it in line with the PC version. Since you can upgrade your existing copy for a cheaper cost, too, there’s really no reason to not opt-in for this new-gen improvement. And, hey, there are another 50 Achievements and 1000G to hunt down too, if you’re so inclined, focusing on all new features and additions that weren’t there as part of the original XBLA release.
That alone should be tempting. And in fact it’s actually quite a nice little bonus to have. Gamerscore doesn’t maintain the same level of enthusiasm it did in the heady days of the Xbox 360’s launch, but it’s enough that it’ll draw in some more Minecraft fans to get hunting once more. It’s a decent set of Achievements too, tailoring your experience and getting you to tick off each of the brand new features for this upgraded version – a good way of saying ‘Look, this is what you’ve missed while you’ve been away’.
Of course this is targeting those that have already played Minecraft, when there are a fair amount of you out there that stilll haven’t. If you’re one of them, know that this is the smoothest, most-rounded release of the game yet. It’s not really any different – but then it would be hugely unfair to expect that to be the case anyway. Patches and updates are already being planned: expanded multiplayer, dedicated servers and even upgrading Xbox 360 world saves have all been mentioned by 4J Studios. It is, still, the most important videogame release in a long while; now it’s just ready for you to place blocks with a whole new, more powerful machine. Whether you’re a newcomer or a veteran crafter, Minecraft: Xbox One Edition is the version you need.