Minecraft: PS3 Edition review – Like Lego, but way less painful to stand on
You might have heard of this one. In fact if you’re not already familiar with Minecraft, the sandbox survival sim that sold over 13 million copies, the low-res Java-based game that became instantly iconic, the title responsible for roughly 99% of all YouTube’s content… well, I don’t even know where to start. Do you know what year it is? Are you a time-traveller? I promise I won’t freak out.
Anyway, there’s this game that you should probably play, and it’s all about the creation and destruction of blocks. I know, right? Finally! But there’s more: these blocks form a procedurally generated world that your character inhabits with no explicit objective, but can be used to create almost anything you can think of. Seriously: people have created actual, working CPUs within Minecraft, and then programmed rudimentary games that run on those computers – a concept so meta that somewhere a philosophy student fell to the floor of Starbucks in a seizure just for me having typed it.
More on Minecraft: PS3 Edition
There are two games modes – Creative and Survival. In the former you’re given almost infinite resources right off the bat, along with the ability to fly, which makes it ideal for ambitious building projects. Since Minecraft’s first playable build arrived on PC in 2009, players have been creating incredible projects that make you call BS when you see them: a 1:1 scale replica of the Starship Enterprise, Notre-Dame Cathedral and Kings Landing from Game Of Thrones (to name but a few). If you’re a frustrated artist with a dusty uDraw tablet and an architectural inclination, Creative mode is your easel.
There really is no limit to what you can build in Minecraft, only what you can dream up.
Most people love Minecraft for the other mode. It’s here that you get to live out all your survivalist fantasies (alone or with others online), foraging for food to keep hunger at bay, building shelter with your bare hands to protect you from the horrors that emerge at night and gradually cultivating the landscape around you to make life more comfortable. When you start a new game, you’re thrown into an environmental biome (think The Crystal Maze’s zones, but blockier) and left to fend for yourself. There are just a few short hours before the sun sets and a legion of mobs (the hip lingo for Minecraft’s enemies) advances on your very position. It’s up to you to survive the onslaught.
In the PS3 Edition the guesswork’s gone, replaced by an effortless crafting system that lists all possible items and shows you the ingredients you need to make them. Progress!
How? By hitting blocks until they turn into smaller, spinning blocks that you can pick up, and craft into other things in your inventory. Wood and stone make a stone pickaxe, which mines iron ore, which makes steel armour, and so on. Back in the bad old days you just had to know the ingredients for a given item and the shape you needed to make in the crafting menu – three wool blocks above three wood makes a bed, for example. In this PS3 Edition the guesswork’s gone, replaced by an effortless crafting system that lists all possible items and shows you the ingredients you need to make them. Progress!
Your first Minecraft home won’t look like this. It’ll be a box. You’ll forget the door.
After you survive the first night, you grow braver and more ambitious. Soon you’ve built a comfortable two-up-two-down for yourself, mined down to the depths of the world to gather precious metals and minerals and planted sugar cane and wheat in your garden. Gradually the world around you changes – the zombies, spiders, and particularly nasty creepers (who explode when they get near to you, taking out big chunks of whatever they’re near) can’t get past the fence you planted around your estate. You stop feeling scared of your surroundings and start to feel that you’ve conquered them.
But you knew all this already. Unfortunately, I don’t get to be the one who tells you how wonderful – how deceptively powerful – this sandbox is. I’m the guy who has to say “Erm, the map’s a bit small, isn’t it?” Because, sadly, the PS3 Edition does make compromises on the original’s near-limitless size, and that affects your ability to feel lost in the wilderness in Survival mode and hampers the very grandest projects in Creative mode. However, that shouldn’t stop you from embarking on the blockiest Robinson Crusoe adventure videogaming has to offer. The game that changed games arrives on PlayStation in fine form with an improved crafting system, tarnished only slightly by a cramped map size. Until the full-fat PS4 Edition arrives, this’ll do nicely.