Minecraft for PS3

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DaHeckIzDat
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Minecraft for PS3

Postby DaHeckIzDat » May 5th, 2015, 10:37 pm

Video Game Review: Minecraft for PS3 and 360

It’s rare that I’m as surprised by a game as I was by Minecraft. When it first came out on PC, I saw it and thought it looked boring, and couldn’t understand why it was so popular. Even when my friends started singing its praises, I couldn’t care less. All I saw was an endless collect-a-thon that didn’t even have a story to make it interesting. It wasn’t until I saw Peanutbuttergamer’s (my favorite YouTube gamer’s) Hardcore Minecraft series that I began to become interested. I’m not a PC gamer, though, so I still held off buying it— until it finally came out on PS3.

So yeah, I should probably point out that I’m reviewing the PS3 version of the game. This has more meaning to it than you might realize, as there are some major differences between the console and PC versions. The biggest one being that, while the randomly generated worlds of the PC version are literally endless, the console ones are not. In fact, they’re relatively small, even coming from someone who’s never played the PC original. It was never too big a deal, and I rarely noticed it except for when I was mining and suddenly wasn’t able to mine through a block that was easily within reach, but anyone expecting boundless adventure is probably going to be disappointed.

So, by this point you probably already know what Minecraft is about. You, a little square-headed dude, are dropped in the middle of a blocky world that is created differently with every new game. You begin with nothing but a map that fills in as you explore, which means you had better start punching down trees to build a house before the sun sets. When that happens, monsters like zombies, spiders, and exploding creepers come out to hunt you down. You’ll build a house, make tools, and then use those tools to make better tools. Before long, you’ll be ready to properly explore your new home, but the real exploration comes when you go underground. Exactly like you would expect from a game called “Minecraft,” mining is a major part of the gameplay. While the world itself isn’t that big from end to end, it’s impressive how far down you can go. The caves and mineshafts are randomly generated as well, which means you never know if there’s going to be diamond or a treasure chest, or lava once you smash one more block— and it’s freaking addicting. The reason I didn’t like the idea before was because I saw it as virtual Legos. Knock down things to build other things. A better description would be “survival simulator.” Like I said, you’re on your own to find resources and make tools, and there are plenty of things out there that want to kill you. You have to keep moving up, getting better tools, weapons, and armor if you want to survive in the world of Minecraft.

There’s a rudimentary quest to complete where you collect a certain set of objects to build a portal to the Nether (an alternate dimension that is also randomly generated with every new game) to collect more items, which you then craft together to make an item that will lead you to the big boss, the Ender Dragon. I never completed this, since the monsters and lava in the Nether will murder an unexperienced player in a matter of seconds, but that doesn’t matter since completing the quest is entirely optional.

But therein lies the problem: without any sort of story, you have no real drive to do any of this. It’s fun for a surprisingly long amount of time, but eventually you start to feel like you’re just going through the motions. Punch this, build that, make this to cut down that to make this to mine that to make this to mine that to make this to build that… that’s all there is to this game, when it comes down to it. It’s the sense of exploration and discovery in every new world that’s fun, but the world is the only thing that ever changed it. I found that once I’d gotten to a certain point in the game, I never really wanted to play anymore because I felt like I’d experienced most of what that particular map had to offer, and I’d put the game away and play something else with more diversity in what you can do. But here’s the kicker guys— eventually, sometimes longer than others, I picked it up again. Minecraft’s simplicity is both its weakest and its strongest point. If I’d had a hard day at work and didn’t want to strategize how to make Lightning kill Barthendalus, I’d pop in Minecraft and say “I’m just gonna expand my mine and see if I find anything cool!” Not to say it’s just a bad day game by any means, but if you ever just want to DO SOMETHING without dealing with rules or cutscenes, Minecraft is perfect.

The only other comparison I feel I need to make to the PC version is the controls. Obviously, playing on the PS3, you’re not going to be using a keyboard and mouse. That’s okay, though, because I found the first person controls worked perfectly with dual analogue sticks. PC purists might argue that a mouse gives you more precision, but as I’ve previously stated I’m not a PC gamer, so that doesn’t mean much to me.

The one thing I don’t like about Minecraft is how when you die, you lose everything you were carrying. You can go back and pick it up again, assuming you make that far with no armor or weapons, but it’s easy to get lost— especially if you died in a maze of mineshafts you’ve been building. A lot of people say that that just enhances the “survival” aspect of the game, and I actually agree. However, on the rare times I just wanted to explore without having to put it on safe mode, it would have been nice to have an option to keep my stuff when I get offed.

There’s also a creative mode that turns off all enemies and gives you unlimited resources and the ability to fly. People use this mode to create some really impressive things. Just do a Google search for it, and you’ll see what I mean. I never used this mode myself, because that didn’t interest me, but from what everyone else has said (and have made), I can probably assume that it works great. There’s also a way to bring up to eight friends into your worlds via online play, as well as four player split screen, but seeing as how none of my friends own the game I never got to try this part out either.

Minecraft is a strange little game. I didn’t expect to enjoy it, but now I love it! The novelty wears off within a few hours of doing the same thing over and over, but the simplicity and the randomness of the maps keep bringing me back. It’s one of the few games on the market that you can say you’ve had your own, personal adventure— something that even giants in the industry like Skyrim can’t say, since everyone gets the same map with the same NPCs and the same quests. Minecraft definitely isn’t for everyone, though. The best advice I can give you is that if the game sounds fun, you’ll probably have a blast. If it sounds stupid or boring, then save your money because there won’t be much there for you.

I give the console version of Minecraft an 8.5/10!

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ptdebate
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Re: Minecraft for PS3

Postby ptdebate » May 6th, 2015, 10:10 am

Another great review!

I've never gotten past the tutorial in Minecraft because I just felt it wasn't for me, but now I'm not so sure that's true. Some of what you said reminds me a lot of Monster Hunter, another game that burdens the player with assigning meaning and narrative to their experiences. I'm surprised that the world size is so limited on 7th-generation consoles, particularly the PS3. Minecraft is a very CPU-intensive game and that's where the PS3's strength is so perhaps the code just isn't as optimized as it could be.

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DaHeckIzDat
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Re: Minecraft for PS3

Postby DaHeckIzDat » May 6th, 2015, 11:40 am

ptdebate wrote:Another great review!

I've never gotten past the tutorial in Minecraft because I just felt it wasn't for me, but now I'm not so sure that's true. Some of what you said reminds me a lot of Monster Hunter, another game that burdens the player with assigning meaning and narrative to their experiences. I'm surprised that the world size is so limited on 7th-generation consoles, particularly the PS3. Minecraft is a very CPU-intensive game and that's where the PS3's strength is so perhaps the code just isn't as optimized as it could be.


From what I hear, the PS4 and XB1 versions have unlimited worlds. Not sure why it wasn't possible on PS3, but I'm not a game programmer so there's probably something I'm missing.

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Hardcore Sadism
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Re: Minecraft for PS3

Postby Hardcore Sadism » May 7th, 2015, 7:33 pm

DaHeckIzDat wrote:From what I hear, the PS4 and XB1 versions have unlimited worlds. Not sure why it wasn't possible on PS3, but I'm not a game programmer so there's probably something I'm missing.


A lack of dedicated servers, I think...

Tina
Posts: 41
Joined: July 2nd, 2015, 8:34 pm

Re: Minecraft for PS3

Postby Tina » July 5th, 2015, 10:16 am

Great review, count me in as one who doesn't get it. The four and thirteen year old both love it. We have the ps4 and Pc versions. I even had to buy little minecraft figures for the four year old. Its just as well I guess, no blood and guts, no language that I have to worry about. Sometimes though the four year old raises some eyebrows at the grocery store when he is telling the cashier to be aware of creepers and zombies.


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