Well, the time is here. Microsoft finally sent us the Xbox 360 and we couldn’t wait to get our hands on it so we could report back to you what we discovered.
We hooked the console up to a 42" Sharp Aquos flatscreen that supports up to 1080p. All Xbox 360 games have resolutions of 720p or 1080i so we were hoping for some awesome graphics! Unfortunately, the console didn’t live up to what we had hoped in this area. The graphics were definitely better than the graphics for the Xbox, but they weren’t mind-blowing.
We were impressed with the controller which fit perfectly into our hands and was easy to play with. Microsoft has replaced it’s black and white buttons that were by the four colored buttons on the Xbox controller with one button on each side of the controller above the left and right triggers (similar to where the L1 and R1 are on the PlayStation controller). We liked the feel of these buttons labeled LB and RB. They made the controller easier to play with. Another awesome feature of the controller is a headset hook-up that allows you to plug your headset right into the wireless controller and use them both at the same time.
Our favorite part of the console was Xbox Live. The online capabilities have definitely given Microsoft an edge over the competition. Although they were already leaders in online capability, Xbox Live steps it up another notch. The Xbox Live Marketplace was a little disappointing. We didn’t think most of the options available were worth our time or money. This section could be improved by selling things like characters, tracks, and levels. Yet, who wants to pay for these things when you’ve already dished out hard earned money for the console, the game, and the Xbox Live membership? Of course, we did think it was sweet to be able to download free demos of games.
At any point during game play (and we really mean any point, even while the game is loading), you can push the Xbox guide button (that glowing green button in the center of the controller) to pause the game. At this point, a screen comes up that allows you to do many things. You may chat with friends, see who is online, change your themes, check your reputation and gamer profile, or look at all the games you have played and your achievements in the games. You can also choose any music on your hard drive to play during the game.
Gamers are able to set defaults for the games they play. You can choose the level of difficulty you want to always play at, primary and secondary colors, and controller sensitivity. You can choose to auto-aim and auto-center during action games. During racing games, you can set defaults for automatic or manual transmission, camera views, and whether you would like to use a trigger or a button for your brakes and accelerator.
Another positive thing was that the load time on games seems faster than the Xbox.
A downside to the console is it’s lack of backwards compatibility. If we don’t focus on the mere one hundred and fifty-six games that are backwards compatible in Europe or worse, the twelve games that are backwards compatible in Japan, we have over two hundred titles that will be backwards compatible at the North American launch. Microsoft promises that all these lists will continue to grow, but two hundred games still isn’t even half of the games for the Xbox. After Sony spoiled us with full backwards compatibility on the PlayStation 2, we expect better.
The launch games are mediocre, at best. For a game with only somewhat better graphics priced at $59.95, we aren’t racing to the store to pick up a game that we can already play on a system we already own. The Xbox 360 is only launching with five exclusive titles (six if you count Condemned: Criminal Origins which is set to come out on the PC but does not yet have a launch date). The exclusive titles are Amped 3, Kameo: Elements of Power, Perfect Dark Zero, Ridge Racer 6, and Project Gotham Racing 3.
Our conclusion is that Microsoft may have rushed their launch. It has only been four years since the Xbox was released. The life of a console could be much longer than that. Sony waited five years between the launch of the PlayStation and the PlayStation 2. It will be six years between the PlayStation 2 and the PlayStation 3. We feel that instead of shocking us with awesome graphics and a killer game line-up, Microsoft is bringing us from the Xbox to the Xbox 1.5.
Our closest comparison is to the introduction of the Sega 32X Upgrade for the Sega Genesis. The upgrade was supposed to make better graphics by moving from 16 bit to 32 bit. The graphics were better, but it didn’t warrant an entirely new console. At this time, we would like to give the Xbox 360 three stars out of five.
Now remember things could change. We have only had the console in our possession for twenty-five and a half hours thus far (no, we aren’t counting...). At this point, we don’t feel that the Xbox 360 had anything fantastic that makes us want to tell you to run to your nearest Best Buy and pitch a tent to be first in line on November 22. The Xbox 360 may be the console for you, but we would recommend that you wait and see what Sony and Nintendo have to offer.
Check back to Cheat Code Central as we will continue to lead the way with the best and newest cheat codes. We are the first to have Xbox 360 codes so check them out! We would also like to let you know that we aren’t going to take the weekend off. We plan to work hard all weekend playing our new Xbox 360 games so we can report to you what we think of them (and you thought you had it rough). Full reviews will be coming throughout the weekend and into next week along with a full review of the console. Stay tuned!