‘Minecraft: PS3 Edition’ (2013) review: The definition of a sandbox game

‘Minecraft: PS3 Edition’ an excellent port of popular PC game

So, you haven’t hear of “Minecraft,” the PC game taking the world by storm? No worry, my friends, because I’m hear to inform you that the popular sandbox game has been released for the PlayStation 3, so no matter what console/system you have (Xbox, PC, Mac), you now can indulge in the awesoemness that is Minecraft.

(Take a look at the reviewer jumping into the world of “Minecraft: PS3 Edition” by watching the YouTube video above.)

Released through the PlayStation Store on Dec. 17, “Minecraft: PS3 Edition” functions as a somewhat stripped-down version of the computer version without losing any of the appealing aspects. Your goal is still open-ended as “Minecraft,” being the ultimate example of a sandbox game, doesn’t so much have goals as much as it allows you to do what you see fit.

For those unfamiliar with the game, you start as a pixelated character (named Steve by the game’s creator, Markus “Notch” Persson, as a nod to generic names) with a set skin (character design). You do have the ability to change your skin from the get-go with several choices available to you in-game. You also can purchase skin packs with more variety.

The game comes in two modes: survival and creative. The basic premise of survival mode is, as you’ve guessed by now, to survive in a treacherous world where you have to fight enemies, craft items and survive the night. Several game modes offer a varying degree of challenge; ranging from peaceful (where hostile mobs don’t spawn, leaving you to do what you want) to hard (where every creature in every dark corner is out to murder you), you can pick the challenge right for you.

Again, there’s not really a plot or story or mission goal in Minecraft. If you want, you can travel to different worlds (such as the Nether or The End) and complete game objectives (such as defeating the Ender Dragon), but you by no means are forced to do so. Want to just hang out and take it day by day? Have at it. Feel like mining until you hit bedrock (the game’s bottom level)? Craft yourself some tools and start digging. You can create farms and homes and cities and loads more if you do desire. You also can arm yourself with diamond weaponry and armor and take on the toughest creatures in the game. The choice is yours.

Creative mode strips away the need to care about pesky things like your health, hunger or need to gather materials before you can craft with them. Your inventory is fully stocked with everything you need to create the masterpiece you desire.

The gameplay mechanics can give you a bit of headache if you’re used to playing the computer version because you have far fewer keys/buttons to choose from on PS3 controller. On your PC/Mac, you can attach every action to a separate key; in the PS3 and Xbox versions, you have just a few buttons/bumpers to use, so functions tend to be grouped together. It doesn’t take long to master the controls, though they do feel a bit clunky at first. (I had some difficulty remembering what commands were attached to what buttons, and it created some frustration while fighting hostile mobs.)

Popular mobs from the computer version are included here, including most animals (pigs, chickens, sheep, wolves, et cetera) and hostile ceatures (skeletons, creepers). There’s split-screen support for up to four players, online multiplayer (the limit is eight for that) and trophies to earn.

Though the game launched with several glitches, most were corrected through a patch released in response to them. Mojang, the company that created the original game, has said it will release more information about cross buy, remote play and the Playstation 4 version of Minecraft in 2014.

Developed by 4J Studios in collaboration with Mojang, “Minecraft: PS3 Edition” has the same open-world feel and atmosphere that made the computer version so addicting. It may take some time to get use to, but the payoff is worth the effort. For those who have been waiting for this release, your wait was not in vain.

Time to craft!

Four crafting stars out of five.

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Get your craft on with the release of "Minecraft: PS3 Edition." (Photo credit: 4J Studios)

Get your craft on with the release of “Minecraft: PS3 Edition.” (Photo credit: 4J Studios)

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