Review by Bobfoc22

"A Fine System With Real Potential"

Controller - 8/10

The Xbox 360 controller is a vast improvement on its large, cumbersome Xbox counterpart. With new "shoulder buttons" replacing the black and white buttons, it is now much more convenient for gamers wishing to fully utilise the controller. There is also a central "Xbox 360 button", which allows gamers to access the dashboard from any situation, be it playing a game, watching a film or listening to music. Another great addition is the wireless feature, with a range of up to 30 ft.

Graphics - 10/10

The Xbox 360 visuals are truly beautiful, with much promise being shown in the launch titles. While playing the Xbox 360 on an ordinary, low-definition television is impressive, it is only when you hook the system up to an HDTV that it is clear that the next generation of gaming has arrived. Such graphics are truly incredible, and it is reasonable to assume that future Xbox 360 with only improve in this department. It is an exciting time for Microsoft fans.

Sound - 9/10

With 5.1 surround sound in Xbox 360 games, the sound is every bit as good as would have been expected. When the system is attached to a digital surround sound system, every gunshot, screaming of brakes and crowd roar will sound so much better. On top of this, it is possible to connect musical output devices, such as Ipods, PSP and most MP3 players to the USB hub, allowing for playback of custom music. On the subject of custom soundtracks, Microsoft has not left them out for their new system. On the contrary, custom soundtracks are supported for every single game. Fantastic.

Games - 8/10

On the subject of Xbox 360 games, the range available can be viewed as good or bad, depending on your point of view. There are many enjoyable, worthy titles, such as Perfect Dark Zero, Project Gotham Racing 3, Condemned and Call of Duty 2. Unfortunately, some titles, mainly the sports games, seem like lazy ports of games from other consoles, but with improved graphics coming at the expense of gameplay and features. Also, it is worth mentioning that an HDTV is necessary to unleash the full potential og these games. However, a strong list of forthcoming releases are sure to whet the appetites of many owners, with games such as Elder Scrolls IV, Halo 3 and Fable 2 currently in development.

Hardware - 8/10

The Xbox 360 boasts numerous peripherals and essential pieces of hardware. Whether or not buyers receive many of these is determined by which pack is purchased. With the Premium System, the console comes with a 20 GB Hard Drive, essential for backwards compatibility and Xbox Live, an Xbox Live headset, and wireless controller, whereas the Core System comes with none of these. Except for the Hard Drive, however, none of these make a huge difference to the console, although they are certainly worth looking at.

Online - 9/10

One of the main features of the console, Xbox Live continues to be strong in delivering solid online gaming experience. With a new marketplace, gamers can now easily download a large array of features, from demos and game trailers to gamer icons. On the negative side, Live does cost a considerable amount, and there have been reported cases of poor connections and speed online, a problem which Microsoft must address in the near future.

System Performance - 8/10

The 360, on the whole, runs smoothly and without hassle. There have been many cases, however, where the console has been known to freeze or overheat, and many complaints have been made regarding the noise levels emitted by the console. Although these are of notable concern, this is, in all likelihood, the vast minority, with most consoles running perfectly acceptably.

Pros:

-Superb graphics
-Great online service
-Wireless controllers
-Large hard drive for all game save requirements
-A solid line-up of launch titles
-Exciting range of future titles
-USB hub, allowing connection to most portable multimedia devices
-Great range of multimedia software

Cons:

-Has been known to freeze and display error messages
-Few titles available as of yet, with many titles still in development
-Quite noisy for a next-gen console
-Live has a few technical issues


Overall, the Xbox 360 is a console well worth considering. With a future which looks increasingly bright, this is a console which looks as though it can be a key figure in the next-generation console war.


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 02/13/06


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