Review by Darkdoom21

"Next Gen, a pleasent experience."

Next Gen has arrived! The Xbox 360 took the lead early by releasing in November 2005. I was skeptical about getting one, not only because I previously owned both a Nintendo Gamecube and Playstation 2, and refused to get an Xbox...due to "fanboism". This time, I took a chance and bought one. To my surprise, the system is, if you can get by all the fanboism going around, a pretty neat and interesting piece of machinery.

Hardware 7/10: The reason I scored this section with a 7 out of 10, is because the rumors flying around of defective units is pretty scary. The number of people with broken machines for reasons, which can be debated, was a major factor in my decision to purchase this machine. I took a chance, and within days of purchasing it I noticed something strange. Despite having pretty fancy specs for a system, I was having video glitches, which I thought was the games fault. After investigating the situation more by renting the same games I bought and still had the error, I noticed my system starting to lock up within the period of the first 10-15 minutes of play. Frankly the system was unplayable anymore. Now the reason I haven't given the hardware score lower than a 7 out of ten is because I got mine at launch day, which defective units are always a thing to be expected. I later replaced my system, which I will get into later on, and so far so good.

Let's get on to the specs. Its power contains a 512mb unified system memory, custom symmetrical 3 core CPU, a custom ATI 500 mhz graphics processor and HD gaming. Needless to say, it's pretty impressive, though you wont be able to take advantage of these settings without an HD television. Which can be quite the investment. If you are like me and don't have the money to buy one, a nice computer monitor does the job well. I use a decent 200$ LCD screen and I love it. So worry not, the 2300$ HD televisions can wait!

The controller is marvelous. I have had no previous experience with the Xbox controller. The 360's controller feels great and looks great. With about 14 buttons, well placed, it makes for a perfect controller for tons of different genres of gaming. I am not big on criticizing controllers seeing as how I was a major fan of the Gamecube's and Playstation 2's. There are 3 different types of controllers, the regular one, and a controller compatible for your PC, and a wireless version of the regular one. Each going for a little bit less than cash than a game.

A few accessories are available for the system, some a must, other not so much. Faceplates in different styles are available, there is a wireless internet router, hard drive, memory cards, play and charge kits for your wireless controllers, and a couple of other stuff.

Entertainment 8/10: Windows Media compatibility, being able to store videos and music, and even able to play music while gaming is pretty cool. A recent patch through Xbox Live added tons of features to the entertainment section of the system. You can play DVD's, which is no surprise seeing as this is almost a must now in systems. Unfortunately, you have to buy certain accessories for HD viewing, and you have to buy the remote for it too. Which can be expensive

Fun-factor 9/10: I couldn't really decide what to name everything else into one section. I was debating whether to give this an 8 or 9 out of 10, and chose to give it a 9 just because this was my first Xbox Live experience, and I enjoyed it a lot. If you have previous experience, this section might be anywhere from a 7-8/10 for you. Achievements are simply awesome. A way to motivate you to collect these points for bragging rights. I would never replay games, but now that I have a reason to, I feel like the games I purchase actually were a better investment rather than just buying it and beating it once.

The Xbox Live marketplace is a really wonderful feature. The ability to download demos of most games helps me a ton. Most of the demos are pretty lengthy and give you a great idea on what to expect out of the games. The marketplace also has Xbox Live Arcade, which are old arcade games from back in the day, revamped and ready to be played again. To get the full version you must buy them with Microsoft points, which are basically points you purchase with cash/credit cards. Most of the games are pretty cheap, costing from like 3-5$ each. Movie trailers and fan made videos are available also.

Microsoft points are used to purchase themes and gamer pictures to personalize your Xbox. Used to buy Xbox Live Arcade games, and used to buy new game content released every so often. Games like Call of Duty 2, Oblivion and Ghost Recon are just a few who have content released on the marketplace.

Game Library 8/10: If you are a First Person Shooter fan, welcome to heaven, if you aren't you will have to get used to them or have a small library. I gave this an 8 because most people buying an Xbox 360 have to expect tons of Shooters, so when making this investment you have accepted this fact.

Some of them are great experiences, where some of them are failed attempts at grabbing your hard earned cash. It's a good thing the demos are out for download or else I would have wasted a good amount of money on some pointless games. The system has a ton of sports games, but so does the rest of the competition. With the new HD capability, most of these shooter games look awesome, with xbox live it just enhances the fun you'll have.

Overall 8/10: With its initial launch, and skeptic buyers, this system is still a pretty solid
system with backing of well-known game companies. The future of the 360 is looking bright and with a decent price, this system will appeal to most gamers. Though I would advise buying a extended warranty, if you have a problem free Xbox 360 you will have fun with this system one way or another, if you don't, at least you got yourself a new DVD player! Or you could always sell it with ease.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 07/10/06

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