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Minecraft for the Xbox 360 is now out. With it it brings couch co-op and simple online play, but lacks some of the PC versions finer touches. Let’s get our First Opinion on it now.

EDIT: Now updated with my split screen multiplayer Opinion.

Minecraft Xbox 360 Edition

Minecraft Xbox 360 Edition is a cumbersome name, for starters. Is it even the official name? Is it Minecraft 360? Minecraft Xbox? Minecraft X360? Minecraft Xbox Live Arcade Edition? Is it just Minecraft? Whatever Mojang calls it, it’s going to be MC360 for the purposes of this article.

The first big point with MC360 is that it isn’t the current PC version. It’s based on the nearly year old Beta 1.6.6 version, so there are a number of features and mechanic changes missing. There’s no sprint, for one, which irritates me. The other big point is that the map is limited. For those who play online (like for example, on our own MaMinecraft server) may be used to finite worlds, but it’s still a bit of  a downer. The map isn’t tiny at 1,000×1000 blocks (smaller then MaMinecraft’s 2,500×2,500 actually) so it’s still fun to explore.

I actually haven’t made a new vanilla Minecraft world in almost a year thanks to our server so starting over with nothing was depressing. My diamond armor and tools! My castle! My stored backup gear! All gone. You obviously can’t import a PC world so you will be starting all over. There’s also no texture packs or custom skins so you’re stuck with the default graphics. That’s not really a bad thing since they’re pretty iconic.

All in all it’s pretty much just Minecraft on an Xbox 360 to be honest. The local multiplayer promises to be a nice touch so that’s the next thing to try. I’ll update this Opinion once I get Omega (Floata on MaMinecraft) here to try it out.

Split screen play in MC360 is pretty good fun, provided you have a decent sized HD display. Split screen doesn’t even work on SD sets and the size is a factor due to the squishing of icons and writing by the screen splitting. On my 26 incher, Omega and I both got headaches trying to see the screen, and that was just two players while the game supports up to four. The problem lied with the tiny icons and their accompanying text. Telling gravel from stone from wood can be pretty hard, and forget reading how many you have in a stack on a small set. This is kind of funny because I feel the single player UI is way too big.

We were initially dropped onto a snowy hillside to start our world. I dug us a hole in a wall near coal while he gathered wood and sand. Once inside we waited out the first night digging away. We ventured out the next morning and got slightly seperated. Omega quickly started calling for help and I found him with two creepers on his tail. I killed one, but with the icy lake our cave opened up to partially melted due to our torches, I kept falling into the water instead of retreating and the second one blew up the entire face of our cave. I then set about fixing while Omega returned to digging.

The split screen aspect is nice because it promotes a very social kind of experience. As a multiplayer title in general, the improved name tags (larger and brightly colored compared to PC) make finding each other easier, as the does the map everyone starts with. If I had to hazard a complaint at this point (aside from the issues seeing the screen brought on by the TV’s size) it would be that pvp is permenantly enabled, so you can hit each other on accident very easily.

I’ll have my review up soon, so look forward to that.