Review by Fraghappy

"Wow, Microsoft makes something good for a change"

I'll admit right off the bat that I don't like Microsoft. Windows is a slow OS with tons of bugs, and little Billy Gates is a dirty rotten thief. But, despite all of these opinions, I must say, they do know how to make a console. The system's only true flaw is Microsoft's inability to get enough great games licensed, but the XBox is certainly a good system to own nonetheless. But hey, you can play great exclusives like Halo and Deus Ex 2, or even play some multiplatform games on a system with superior graphics capabilities, but hey, I guess it's up to you.

First, I'll point out Sony's big mistake: not revamping the Playstation controller. The PS1 controller was light, easy to use, and generally all-around a better piece of equipment than the competitor's. But, like many things, the best has to keep evolving to stay the best, and Sony stupidly kept the old controller design. So, along comes Microsoft who decides to beat Sony at it's own game, and comes out with a controller than is not only much better laid out, but one that fits better in your hands (something it seems many companies have had trouble with). By having different sizes of controllers, XBox allows older gamers to have controllers big enough to fit their hands, while the younger folks can still get controllers sized right for them. They also introduced the back triggers, something that has proved useful in many FPS's like Halo.

Of course, in terms of processor speed and memory, the XBox does have an unfair advantage since it came out last of the new generation consoles. If you look at the specs alone, 64 MB of RAM and a 730 MHz processor, it doesn't seem that impressive, because people tend to compare that to what their computer has. But people don't realize, consoles don't have to run over-sized, slow, memory-dependent OSes like, say, Windows XP on their consoles, not to mention the fact that computers are designed to allow for dozens of programs to be run at once, and your XBox is only going to need to run one. Also, in comparison to its competitors, it outsmokes the 300 MHz/32 MB Sony Playstation 2 and the 400 MHz/24 MB Nintendo Gamecube.

Not sold yet? Well, there is also a handy little feature on the XBox called a ‘hard drive,' something that has been in found in computers in decades, but for some reason, never in consoles. Of course, memory cards are easily ‘tradeable,' but they store very minuscule amounts of memory, forcing many gamers to buy hundreds of dollars of accessories in order to support their gaming habits. So, the XBox has a whopping 10 GB hard drive to store not only your game saves, but music as well. Yes, you heard me right, music. You can pop CDs into the XBox, and rip the music onto your hard drive. Some games have a ‘custom soundtrack' feature that even allows you to listen to your tunes in the middle of a game. This is perhaps one of the biggest perks of having the GTA games for the XBox.

Now, I'm not saying that the XBox is perfect. You have to buy special software and a remote to watch DVDs, and it's not the most portable console in the world, but these are trifle problems that don't even mar the surface of this wonderful console's reputation. Also, I'm not a ‘fanboy,' as I'm a proud owner of a Playstation 2, a console worth buying as well, it's just if you are looking to jump into the newest generation of consoles, it seems actually paying your dues to Microsoft can be worthwhile for a change. However, it seems that Microsoft's success might be short-lived, since with the next generation of consoles just over the horizon, there seems to be an apparent lack of cell processors and a hard drive in their next console, titled cleverly, ‘XBox Next.'


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 05/20/04


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