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Minecraft XBLA – DLC Packs Review

With this week marking the 2nd Birthday of Minecraft on the Xbox 360, it’s about high time we talk about the mass amount of downloadable content packs that 4J Studios have released for the game. When it was initially announced that there will be DLC for the game, a lot of people were very worried with this fact. The PC Version has had skins and textures, even completely new features within mods such as Galacticraft and Tekkit for free. This meant that, whatever the content would be, people would be wary of it. Soon enough, we found out what the DLC would be, with the first few skin packs that were released to allow you for further customization of your character.

Now, 2 years later, we have three main types of DLC. Skin Packs, the most recent of which is the Marvel Spider-man Skin Pack, Texture Packs, including the Natural, Candy, Halloween packs and more, and finally the Mash-Up packs, which contain not only new skins and textures based on popular franchises, but sound assets too. The two mash-up packs currently available being Skyrim and Mass Effect, with a Halo pack seemingly on the way soon, as tweeted by Halo Waypoint.

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Personally, the Texture Packs are what I’ve been cramming for ever since the initial release. This isn’t to say that I dislike the look of vanilla Minecraft, quite the opposite actually, but Texture Packs allow for things to look slightly better, or even just different if you don’t like the texture of something extremely specific. This is one of the bonuses of each of the different Texture Packs currently on offer for Minecraft XBLA.

I personally use the Natural Texture Pack the most, as I feel that it’s aesthetic is a lot nicer than that of the original, giving it a bit more of a natural look (of course) and having some things such as ores looking a bit more plentiful and obvious when down in the mines. Depending on my world, however, I will try out other packs if I’m feeling in the mood. The Plastic Texture Pack makes everything very smooth and colorful, so if I’m building something that I feel would suit this, I’ll pop on that texture pack. If I’m feeling like living in a fantasy world, I’ll grab the Fantasy Texture Pack, which has extremely intricate details on doors and other things.

Then you have the packs that are clearly used for fun, the main ones being the Halloween Texture Pack, released for free last year on Halloween and the Candy Texture Pack which had recently been released. In Halloween, everything looks spooky. Water is murky, there are bones everywhere and everything looks like it’s straight out of the Halloween Decoration isle in a supermarket, mixed with some fantasy elements too. Whereas the candy thing makes everything looks like sweets. It’s very, VERY pink. Sickly sweet, as is the point of the pack, this one is probably liked well by kids, or someone wanting to make a gingerbread house.

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Every Texture Pack available here is completely unique, meaning that if there’s something specific you’re looking for, you might be able to find it here. If not, it might not be that long you have to wait for the exact textures you want. There’s even a City Texture Pack that would be fantastic for Creative Mode creating a huge sprawling city that looks much better than with the standard textures that are contained within Minecraft. The best thing about these are the price. Each Texture Pack costs less than £1, meaning that they’re not in any way expensive, and every time items and updates are added to the game, each texture pack is updated as well, so you’ll never have missing textures or things that look a bit odd when you’re using your favorite pack. It’s a fantastic system, and I’m a huge fan of the way 4J have done this.

The Skin Packs themselves have some fantastic skins, including some that aren’t possible on the PC version of the game, due to transparent parts of the skins. The results in things like tiny Super Meat Boys without the Steve Model’s Head, Octopuses and many more. The variety here is fantastic, and there’s plenty to have a look at and try out with the free downloads before you buy the pack which contains the one you want the most. The Marvel Spider-man Skin Pack in particular brings back memories of the 90’s Cartoon, and has almost every character you could possibly want. I personally picked Carnage, because he’s one of my favorite villains due to how insane he is.

The Mash-Up Packs are pretty unique as well. The fact that they contain the music from the games makes for an extremely surreal experience, especially when using the Skyrim Pack. These Mash-Up packs come with worlds that have been based on locations in each game. While it’s the start of Mass Effect 3 for the Mass Effect Pack, it’s almost the entire starting area of Skyrim. Running through Riverwood in it’s uniquely blocky aesthetic with the music from Skyrim playing behind you is an odd experience, but in an extremely good way.

Overall, The DLC for Minecraft on the consoles has been spectacular. 4J have done a lot of good work here, and continue to do so by teasing what might be coming next, keeping people excited to see what they can come up with. All of this, and it’s not even the next-gen versions yet, so who knows what they can come up with when those are released and they can focus purely on updates and content for us to enjoy for years to come.

Written by: Chris

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