Review by Scarface

"Clearly flawed for a next-generation console."

INTRODUCTION:

The Xbox 360 was supposed to be the pride of Microsoft. Featuring stunning visuals, terrific sound, and wireless controllers, it was supposed to be the horse that would have gained a long lead over the rival competitors' Sony PlayStation 3, and Wii, due to it being released nearly a year earlier than the competition.

However, due to an extremely poorly planned launch, (The units being mass-produced only 80 days before launch) the 360 began it's life in a violent way, with shortages throughout the United States and an extreme price-inflation on units on websites such as eBay. Some were being sold for nearly $3,000 U.S. dollars. These problems were not even the half of it, as the console itself caused so many problems that it was even being mentioned on the news. I was one of the luckier ones who met their local Best Buy with relatively short lines during launch day, but after thoroughly experiencing all this console has to offer, I just felt that others should think twice before purchasing one.

(A note before I begin the review: A problem that many Xbox 360 owners faced was that the unit was overheating; the games would stop working, the controllers would be unresponsive, in some cases even carpets were singed. I was one of the luckier ones (a minority; 56% of 360 owners reported one of these problems) who didn't face this problem, and Microsoft supposedly fixed this afterawards. However, I recommend that should you buy this console, you should buy an accessory called an Intercooler, which is an attachable fan that should fix up all issues.

GRAPHICS: 8/10

Yes, I love cutting-edge graphics as much as the next guy. The 360 offers no less, but there is a catch. You cannot experience the 360's full graphical potential without an High-Definition Television (HDTV).

As soon as I found this out, I was thoroughly disappointed. After shelling out nearly 500$ for the game console and a game, I didn't have the additional funds to buy a freaking HDTV. However, as luck would have it, I got a bonus that week at my job, and HDTVs were on sale throughout America because of the Xbox 360's release. So I trudged back to Best Buy and bought one. After finally setting up all the component cables and whatnot, I was finally ready to fully experience and enjoy the Xbox 360.

I was not disappointed; the graphics are a technological marvel, pure eye-candy. But somehow, I felt that there was something missing. Everyone expected a step forward in graphics as compared to the Xbox, but there's nothing special. The Wii is supposed to be fully interactive, the PS3 is supposed to have a revolutionary new disc format, but the Xbox 360 features none of these. However, it's early head start may give it a lead in price and a broader selection of games than the competition (both to be released in about a month from the time of this review).

Anyway, the graphics are excellent for the 360, but without a HDTV, they look like the normal Xbox. So the graphics get an 8.

DESIGN: 10/10

The 360 has a smooth, sleek, and sexy design. It even has the option of different faceplates you can buy to your liking and style. However, it's heavy, and cannot be placed directly on a carpet due to the risk of overheating. This may be the only point the 360 has over the competition; the Wii looks like a colorful DVD player, and the PS3 is supposedly huge.

GAME LIBRARY/LAUNCH GAMES: 4/10

I really cannot give this category a higher rating. The launch games were, to say the least, terrible. There was nothing in there that the casual gamer could easily recognize. The games released in the time after that weren't great either. I really hope something close to a "best game on 360" is released soon, because from what I've heard, the Wii and PS3 both have amazing launch games.

Another feature that really brings the 360 down is the limited backwards compatibility. The Xbox 360 cannot play all Xbox games. Supposedly it was capable of playing most popular titles, however this has been proven to be false. Even games such as Scarface: The World is Yours is incompatible. Sucks, doesn't it?

OTHER FEATURES: NA/10

Yes, it has a DVD player. I really don't believe someone will actually change their decision about buying one whether or not that feature is included or not.

COST: 1/10

$500 for the game console with a hard drive included (you can't save your games if you don't have a hard drive), games are around $60 - 70. In a word, it's terrible. But you can't expect a dirt-cheap next-gen system. But this category gets a bad score because of the added cost of an HDTV, which is next to necessary to fully enjoy the 360.

ACCESSORIES: 6/10

The wireless controllers are cool, but mine actually stopped responding once, and another time a game froze when I moved the joystick. Faceplates are pretty cool, although I would like to see a website where you can design your own custom one.

CONCLUSION:

I firmly believe that you should wait a few months after BOTH PS3 and Wii are released, research about them (hopefully I'll have reviews on both of those as well), and THEN make your decision. For now, I wouldn't recommend buying this unless the PS3/Wii are a flop or MUCH better games are released.

FINAL SCORE:

6/10. Clearly flawed.


Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 10/23/06


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