XBox 360 Review
Should you drop 300 to 400 bucks for one, I'll let you know....
If you are one of those who have been looking at the XBox 360 and thinking that you may want to buy one, i'll give you a look into this beefy white console and let you know if you should buy it.
The XBox 360 is the first next gen console out for this time period. It has come out a full year before the PlayStation 3 and the Nintendo Wii (revolution). It has amazing HD graphics, wireless controller access, 20gb optional hard drive, online services, able to play DVDs and HD-DVDs (with its USB add-on HD-DVD drive), a good solid lineup of games, and one of my favorite things, is that you can turn it off and on by using the controller. So I gave you quick look into the system, let's break it down into a more detailed look.
The graphics on the XBox 360 are the best out there right now and even rivals the constanly upgrading PCs. The XBox 360 offers the ability to play each game on a regular TV and HD. It supports 720p and 1080i, on a HD set the lines are just so crisp and clean and everything looks so realistic. Although some games don't push the graphics as far as they can, a lot of them do. Although the graphics are almost flawless in HD, the same can't be said for TVs that don't support HD. When not using HD, the graphics actually seem blurry. In some cases you can't even read the text in the game because it is so blurred. This can be really annoying because sometimes its hard to see little things that you need to see, or you can't read something that is written. What gets really annoying is that when you're playing against other people that have an HD tv, it's hard to see them across the map and if they have HD, then they just destroy you because they can see a lot better. With that said, the graphics are amazing none the less, facial features don't look so fake as they usually do and with the ability to have more texture and polygons, little things like walls and grass looks just so more more life like. Also with the XBox 360's graphics, it has the ability to have real life physics in games. For example, if you knock someone down a hill in the game, they will tumble all the way down and react to every bump, rock, and any resistance in the earth just like real life. This adds a cool little feature because it can just be fun to play with and makes it look so more more movie like, and we all love movies. For graphics, I give the Xbox 360 a A- because they kick ass, but without HD, it can be a little frusterating.
Xbox Live is a service that Microsoft has that allows people to connect their Xbox 360 to the internet via a normal broadband wire, or wirelessly with a USB wireless card. The Xbox Live service is honestly the future of gaming. It allows people to download, patches, maps, add ons, movies, songs, pictures, demos, pretty much any type of multimedia. Although you have to pay for it, this is a great feature. Also this service allows for playing with people online on your Xbox 360. That means that you and your friends, Juan from Mexico, and Ping from Japan, can get together and play G.R.A.W. or just Uno. Speaking of Uno, Xbox live lets you download a bunch of small arcade games for a small price. They range from simple games such as Uno and Chess to other games like Smash TV for the Sega Genesis. This is a really nice feature because even if you don't have any new games, you can just download a bunch of trial versions of the games and play those. You can download Music Videos from different artist. Also you can download gamer themes and pictures which are basically little settings for your Xbox so when you are on the Dashboard (which i will get into later on), it may look different, sort of like how you can customize your desktop on your PC. In the future I am predicting that they will allow you to download full Xbox 360 games so that you don't even have to go to the store to get your game. You don't have to worry about beating the rush or stores running out of copies. The Xbox live service is just so huge and diverse I just don't see it stopping. For the Xbox Live service I give it a A.
The Xbox 360 also has a user interface called the Dashboard. The dashboard is where you can do everything you need to for your Xbox. Here you can change different settings, the time, how it starts up, choose what to play or watch and even talk to your friends. The dashboard has different "blades" which are just different areas of your Xbox. For instance, you have one for that is like your homepage, it has a message box, your friends list, access to the marketplace where you can download different things, Next is the Games blade, where you can look at different achievments you have done in different games, look at the list of games you have played, choose and play your game demos and videos, and also pick and play the arcade game you want to play. The next blade is the Media blade where you can organize all your music, watch videos, look at pictures, or sync your Xbox to your PC (if it has windows media center) and transfer files back and forth. You can also access a portable flash drive via a USB slot on the front of the Xbox if you want to listen to music, look at videos or pictures that you may have on your flash drive. The next and final blade is called the system blade. This is where you can change different console settings, set up family settings to stop the kids from looking at blood or whatever, organize your hard drive, set up your net work settings, look at the computers that are in sync with it, and also configure your Xbox Live Vision settings (which at the moment isn't available because the Xbox live camera isn't out yet, that will be a new hub). So that is the dashboard, it is basically like your desktop on your PC where you can do everything from there by using yoru controller. I give the Dashboard an A- because it can be sometimes confusing.
So with all these great features you still need good games, to make a good system, so here is the low down on the gaming. The games on the 360 are very solid. They have some hard hitters like Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter with its amazing graphics and awesome online play. Then there is the never ending Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion. This RPG was in development for i think they said for like 5 or so years. This is probably the best RPG out there. The envoirment is huge. There are tons of places to explore and a ton of quest. I have probably played for 70 something hours and have barely done any of the main quest. There is just so much to do its insane. Also your skills increase on how you play. If all you do is just run around and slice people up then your blade skill goes up. If you just shoot arrows from a distance then your marksman sill goes up. So that is very good because then you just play and it does the rest for you. The good thing about most of the 360 games is that most of them have a online multiplayer aspect. Thats probably the most fun because you get to play against friends and bea them for bragging rights. With that said, there still isnt a game out there that really sells the console. Unlike the original Xbox that had Halo and Halo 2, the 360 still yet has a game that really sells it. I think that Gears of War will be that game. It has graphics that look real, gameplay that looks very movie like, and I just came across a feature that when online and talking through the Mic, your player model moves the same as the words coming out. So if you scream then your player looks like he is screaming. It will be funny to see someone gunning down everyone and you just see their face puckered up as they whistle. For gaming I give it a solid B+ because although they have a good line up. There still isnt a game that sells the console.
So there you have it in a very small nutshell of what the 360 offers. I mostly talked about the main points of it, sure there is a lot more little things but thats what most gamers will look at. So if you are wondering if you want to buy one I suggest you doing so IF you are really into gaming because at a price of 400 dollars for the premium system (there is a 300 dollars core system that doesnt come with the 20gb hard drive, wireless controller and HD set up, this is a lame bundle, dont buy it), it is a lot of money to play games. If you are just a casual gamer and wants one but doesnt feel like spending that much then i suggest waiting till a little after the holidays because I have a feeling the price will drop to compete with the PS3 and the Wii coming out around then. If you want to just check one out before hand, head over to Wal-Mart or Best Buy, they usually have one or two set up for people to play with and get a feel for it. I give the Xbox 360 an A and I recommend any hardcore gamer to buy it. Check back soon for my hub on the new Xbox 360 video game that allows for people to talk to eachother on video.