Minecraft PS Vita just released a couple of days ago and many have been tempted into buying a PS Vita just for the game, as it offers a true way to express your creativity on the go without attracting the looks that a box of Lego might. The reason that a full on hand held console version of the game is significant (besides the control scheme) over the iOS and android releases than can be played on any phone or tablet is that it runs a better version of the game.
This better version of the game is equivalent to even the current generation console version, but since it is developed by a separate studio, 4JStudios, how does it compare to the PC version of the game? We know it is of course inferior, but is it so much so that you should entirely disregard it? That’s what we’ll be examining today, but comparing the two games in graphical quality, actual gameplay value (including features) the multiplayer, the support through updates, and finally the community behind the game.
So, lets start with the first category which is also the thing you are likely to notice first with any game, and that is graphical quality. The PC in this regard is very customization, allowing you to run in 4k if your set up allows it, however in reality most run the game at 1080p with render distances of around 16-20 chunks (around 300 blocks of viewing distance). On the other hand the PS Vita runs at the screens resolution of 540p, which while it is theoretically half the pixels, the much smaller screen means the pixel density more than makes up for the resolution.
Now, for the second half which is the way things actually look and the distances you can see in front of you as a result. The items all look exactly the same and can even be customized with texture packs, which is a nice bonus. However it doesn’t make up for the fact is a quarter of the maximum the PC has to offer at just 8 chunks or so. This will still result in a view of the game which looks fine from the ground, but which really sees limitations when you start to build into the air, or when running really fast in creative.
Next up, the gameplay of Minecraft PS Vita and the feature it excludes. The biggest of these is that it runs the console version of the game, which is currently 5 major updates behind the current PC version. If you read our post about the first update for the PS Vita you’ll know it’ll be a big one, but while its on its way a lot of very notable features are missing, like horses, the wither boss and even a whole bunch of scenery options.
As well as just the lack of a few features like that, the PS Vita version has a limited world, meaning there are edges. This is a stark contrast the the PC version and its essentially limitless world. The world size is currently limited to 864×864 blocks because of a shortage of RAM, but fortunately this means the rest of the game runs just fine, at a very smooth 60 frames per second.
So, what about what of the most fun aspects of Minecraft, playing with friends? One of the most interesting parts of the handheld console is its ability to connect with others on the fly, and if your friends all play Minecraft and all have PS Vita’s (a group not many belong to) then you can invite them to your Minecraft world with no hassle, and play some survival together. This is great and is one of the strong points of the console, and since you can also transfer your worlds to and from your PS3 you can play multiplayer there too!
The big downside here though is that on the PC you can have hundreds of thousands of players in the same world, playing mini games, mods to the game and lots of other strange and exciting game modes like that, whereas on the PS Vita you are limited to just 8 players, and only survival. You can of course see the difference there.
What about the support and updates the game will be seeing to slowly improve? As mentioned before the console developers (4jstudios) develop the game, and although they meet technical goals fairly well the support they provide Minecraft console versions is mixed to say the least. While new feature updates are guaranteed to get the console version up to date with the PC, they won’t necessarily add too much in the way of exclusive vita features. So all round support is good, but the console certification process means even a very quick bug fix will take weeks to hit your PS Vita, as opposed to a few hours on the PC.
We’ll finish up with the community that both games bring with them. The PC, as an established main platform for one of the biggest games of all time of course has a massive head start here, with thousands of mods for the game, alongside a similar number of texture packs, and millions of active players playing all sorts of different game modes. On the other hand, the PS Vita is launching with less than 10 texture pack options, no mod support and will probably make less than a few million sales over its life time, even after you consider that it’s free with a copy of the PS3 version.
So, is Minecraft PS Vita worth it when compared with the PC version of the game? Well of course you can tell by now the PC has a lot of strong advantages, but they’ll never truly beat the ability to play the game on the go with your PS Vita friends. Even though the updates are slower and the community is smaller, it’s a very focussed look at the classic survival that drew us all in at first, and if thats appealing to you at all, you’ll love playing the vita version of the game wherever you go.