Review: Xbox One S Minecraft Edition

An Xbox One S controller in front of the Minecraft launch screen.

We’ve been enjoying using our new Xbox One S Minecraft Edition for just over a week now. So it’s high time for a proper review! Let’s start with what you get in the box…

The contents of the Xbox One S Minecraft Edition.

What’s in the box?

Inside the Xbox One S Minecraft Edition box are:

  • A 500gb Xbox One S console
  • A wireless controller (including batteries)
  • Download codes for Minecraft Favourites Pack, Minecraft Builder’s Pack and Minecraft for Windows 10
  • An HDMI cable
  • A power lead

Setup

Getting set up was nice and easy. It was simply a matter of plugging everything in, connecting the console to our home WiFi network and installing the latest system updates. These took a little while so, if you’re giving one as a Christmas gift for the kids, watch the video at the bottom of this post. It will make Christmas morning a lot more straightforward!

Installing the bundled games was also simple. All I needed to do was provide the bundled download codes when prompted. These appear on the A5 flyers that come in the box.

The home screen of the Xbox One S Minecraft Edition.

Xbox One S

We’ve still only really scratched the proverbial surface of what’s on offer with the Xbox One S as there’s so much to enjoy. Things have changed a lot since the original Xbox launched 15 years ago and they are now excellent entertainment systems as well as gaming consoles. This makes them ideal for the whole family.

In addition to being a platform for a huge range of kid-friendly games, the Xbox One S is the only console with 4K Blu-ray, 4K video, streaming and HRD. This makes it great for enjoying a massive library of films and shows via services like Netflix and Amazon Video.

A screenshot of Minecraft being played.

Minecraft

None of us had ever played Minecraft before, but I had heard great things. Having had a chance to play it now, I can see what all the hype is about. For the unversed, the aim is to mine resources and craft them into things to help your character survive. Hence the name!

A key part of the game is the need to build safe havens from a variety of enemies that come out at night. These include zombies, Harryhausen-like skeletons with bows and arrows and large spiders. These may sound a little scary but, due to the kid-friendly way in which Minecraft has been designed, they’re really not.

It reminds me, in a way, of a classic PC game I loved growing up, Civilization. Although that was a 2D game – showing my age there – and this is 3D, there are a fair few similarities. In both titles you explore new worlds and terrains, defend yourself against enemies, trade with allies and, of course, build all kinds of things. Also in common with my old favourite, Minecraft is brilliantly educational and I’m really happy that Dylan and Xander have it at their disposal.

Backward compatibility

An added bonus is that selected Xbox 360 games can be played on Xbox One. Digital versions should show up automatically once you sign in with your gamer tag while Xbox 360 discs can be used to install the games on the new console. There’s a growing number of fantastic titles among them.

Verdict

We’re delighted with our new console. As expected, it has a lot more welly than the Xbox 360. It has also significantly improved on what was already a user-friendly interface. I think Dylan and Xander will benefit greatly from playing Minecraft too.

If you’re planning on giving an Xbox One S Minecraft Edition – or, indeed, any edition – as a gift, make sure you set it up first. The video below is full of useful advice for getting everything ready, including updates and parental controls.

Disclosure: this is a collaborative post.

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