S&S Review: Minecraft (PS4)

Title: Minecraft
Format: PS4(reviewed), Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360, PC, iOS, Android, Vita
Release Date: September 2014
Publisher: Mojang 
Developer: Mojang
Price: $19.99
ESRB Rating: E

Minecraft has been out for a number of years now, but it has only recently launched on the new consoles, giving me the perfect opportunity to finally dive in and see why the game is such a phenomenon.

Story and Presentation:
There is no story in this game, the game is simply about exploring and discovery new areas, both above and below ground.  The game has always had a unique style about it, that really no other game has.  The blocky nature of the visuals may turn off some new players, but I found it charming.  Given the extra horsepower these new systems have, the game doesn't look any better, but it is a much more vast world.  The draw distances are fantastic, and no matter how much you travel, you can always see your creations miles away.  The gigantic worlds simply a joy to maneuver through.  From dry deserts to lush jungles, the worlds are always diverse and varied.  The setting looks stunning, too, thanks in part to the ultra smooth frame rate, and the sharp 1080p presentation.
Core Gameplay and Multiplayer:
All of the basic controls and gameplay modes from its last-gen predecessor remain unchanged, so everything should feel familiar to you if you played the last gen versions. Improved controls allow you to manage your inventory with the touch pad, but otherwise remain the same. The amount of usage that you get out of this extra feature will definitely depend on your personal preference, but I found that it was easier to move items around using the analogue sticks rather than the DualShock 4’s new touchpad. It’s the size of the world, however, that perhaps brings the biggest change. While they may not be infinite like they are on the PC or even in the Pocket Edition, the increased scope from the previous console version gives you significantly more freedom to explore new locations with even more secrets than on the main land.  The worlds are generated randomly, so your world will never be the same as your friends'.  Stumbling upon temples and villages add a new element to the game, but with the randomness of the world generator, you may not have either in your world.  This was the case with one of my first worlds, but when I decided to create a second, I managed to find two villages and a temple.  Should you encounter any enemies during your journey, you’ll find that the combat is extremely basic. While it can be quite rewarding early on, it quickly changes into an open slaughter, especially when you get the more rare gear. And you’ll be able to share those adventures with friends, as local co-op and online multiplayer are available – even if the ability to host worlds on dedicated servers is still missing from the console experience. This is where the game takes a step back as well, since your character's progression doesn't carry over from world to world, it's pretty demeaning to have your inventory and progression completely reset after hours of playing in your friends' worlds.  The other major absentee is mod support. While this feature is uncommon on closed consoles, it’s still a substantial addition that has contributed to a lot of the success of the PC version.
Final Thoughts:
Minecraft: PlayStation 4 Edition is a strong addition to your next-gen library, especially if you've never given the game a chance. You can hop on and play 10 or 15 minutes, or you can sit and play it for hours. There's a reason this game is as big as ever, it's wildly addictive, and it offers you limitless adventure.
  +Endless Adventures
+Vast Scope
+Fun Multiplayer...
-But Characters Don't Transfer from World to World
S&S Rating: 9/10


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