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Maraxos Realism HD Hi-Res Minecraft Texture Pack (32x, 64x, 128x, 256x)
There's a graphical pixel race going on in Minecraft at the moment. It seems as if everyone is fighting for more definition! More high resolution! More realism from a Minecraft texture pack! Well, we have a new contender, folks. This one's called the Maraxos HD Realism texture pack. It's so pretty that I took a screenshot of a stone wall and didn't feel as if it was redundant to do so.
There are some minor tiling issues in the cobblestone, but it looks so nice, slate bricks layered like pastry that you'll probably forgive the artist for the little hiccups here and there. Actual brick is nice enough, and so is mossy cobblestone, although it is so mossy that it doesn't tile very well with non mossy cobblestone. I've always liked blending mossy cobblestone in with normal cobblestone for an aged effect, but that won't work with Maraxos HD.
Metal doors have a nice brushed stainless steel effect that's quite nice. It's a sort of corporate effect. Wooden doors are equally refined, with a smooth, varnished styling. They wouldn't look out of place on a real world house. That's probably the benchmark for realism I suppose, so in doors at least, realism has been achieved! Windows are mostly transparent with thin black borders. I don't know how very realistic that is, but it is a practical way of minimizing the negative effects that glass borders have.
Outdoors, things are equally beautiful. Flowers grow in pretty bushes and dark, lush grass spreads across the land. Saplings look perhaps a little too fern / underbrush looking for my liking, though that only matters if you care about your saplings looking like saplings. One could equally say that this difference in sapling design contributes to diversity in Minecraft flora, which can only be a good thing. I quite like the style of wooden parts like fences, which take the same varnished effect from wooden doors and wooden planks and look very fresh and new.
The GUI is blue, which is not a choice I'd have made, it works fine I suppose, but it's also quite glaringly different from the rest of the texture pack and doesn't really seem to have a reason for being. A subtle change to the color to something a bit more earthy and crafty might be in order, in my humble opinion. Mobs are also all redone, though they're done in fairly generic HD texture pack style, so not too much to remark on there. They're perfectly serviceability and a definite improvement on the default textures.
I tried both the 256x and the 64x versions, using OptiFine. The 256 version represents the artist's original works, but was unstable on my poor excuse for a system. If you've got yourself 4G or more, you should be able to run 256x texture packs with (or without) OptiFine. It seems that with each subsequent update, systems with lower specs find it harder and harder to run HD texture packs.