Review by Virtual_Erkan

"This time Microsoft made a masterpiece"

Year 2005, Microsoft's Xbox 360 was born and it was in the stores near the end of the year. Its early release and large variety of exclusive games made Xbox 360 unique. 3 CPU core, ATI custom graphic card 500 MHz, 3.2 GHz processor, HD format games on HD-DVD dics, 20 GB hard-disk, wireless vibrating controller and Xbox Live feature made itself completely unique.

The new design of the console is beautiful. You can position the console horizontally or vertically. You can change the skin of the console just removing the outer plates and replace it with the other instead of using stickers. You can wired or wireless controllers as you want to. You have left and right analog sticks, D-pad, X, Y, A, B buttons, left and bumpers and the coolest buttons are left and right triggers at front bottom part of the controller. In the middle you have guide button which is the icon of the console. Hold it for few seconds and it turns on the console. You can use the standard or HD output cables according to your TV format. It also supports 5.1 Dolby Surround feature for more realistic sound effects.

The main menu of Xbox 360 is sweet. You have 4 menu blades (now 5 since the latest updates). Just press left or right button to switch them: Xbox Live, Microsoft Marketplace, Games, Entertainment and System configuration. In Xbox Live section, sign up on the internet and play multiplayer games across the world with the other gamers. In Marketplace buy and download Xbox Arcade games, demos, musics, movies and themes. You can also use the web browser to surf the net or use IM to chat with your friends and read emails.

In the game section you can play original games from the discs or play Xbox Arcade games installed in your hard-disk or the memory unit. Xbox Arcade games are the classic games from arcades since 1980s or casual PC games with more enhanced graphics and sounds that are still enjoyable to play. More concerned for casual gamers. You can also check your achievements from the games that you have or haven't unlocked yet. Achievements are set of optional objectives (each game has its own achievements) that gives you Gamerscore if you unlock them such as: finish mission 1 or defeat 100 enemies or play 10 hours or even secret achievements that you don't get any clue how to unlock. Each game has 1000 Gamerscore points (some 900) and Arcade games with only 200 Gamerscore points. With the Gamerscore, you show your rank when you are online. If you have higher score, the more stronger players try to compete with you when you are playing multiplayer.

In the Entertainment section, you can listen to your music or watch movies. While you listen to your music, you can watch awesome visualizations with 3D and brightly colored polygons. Much better than WIndows Media Player's visualizations. If you have the wireless modem adapter, you can stream down your music from your local PC to your console and listen to them while you play any game without lagging the game. Or plug in your mp3 player through USB to port and listen your music.

In the System menu, you set up the clock, date, region where you live etc. You can also change the color or the background of your dashboard. You can absolutely change the theme of the menu and the wallpapers in each blade. You can download themes from the internet that varies from games to movies which. You can adjust the parent level control or adjust gameplay timer to limit the children playing excessive amount of time. You can check your saved games on your hard-disk too.

You can buy different types of accessories such as battery charger, memory unit (256, 512 etc.), headphones, keyboard, wireless adapter and skins. They do not cost a lot if you compare to other consoles.

Microsoft has loads of different exclusive games that is published by Microsoft. Xbox 360 supports 160 full HD games which is quite a lot. Games varies from children to adults with different genres such as action, racing, shooter, fighting etc. There are lots of games that supports multiplayer feature which you can play with your family and friends across the internet or split screen up to 4 players. There are lots of games that are chosen the game of the year and most of them were placed in 'Platinum' games section which sold a lot. You can also play the original Xbox games via the disc or buy and download it from the internet onto your hard-disk. The new design of the controllers are very comfortable and easy to handle it while playing games. There are many high quality games to play on Xbox 360 such as: Gears of War, Halo 3, Project Gotham Racing 4, Forza Motorsports 2, Dead or Alive 4, Mass Effect, Ace Combat 6, Lost Odyssey and many more.

Although it has some flaws. Xbox 360 is not region free. You have to buy games with the same region as your console or it will not play. Playing for a long time can cause overheating and show up The Three Ring of Death which many players faced the problem. You have to bring to Microsoft's Service to repair your console. It is a good idea to play games from dual-layer discs with HD format but still it is not strong as the Blue-ray discs which has higher storage capacity. Microsoft is planning to change the game discs and optic readers to Blue-ray next year. On Marketplace, most of the items are pretty expensive.

Overall, Xbox 360 is still a great next-gen console. Its high number of enjoyable features and exclusive games makes itself an outstanding console. If you have a Xbox, you must but Xbox 360. The Xbox Live feature satisfied lots of gamers. If you are also looking for a good media player, it is the right choice to buy Xbox 360. In the end if you want to play next-gen games, then this is the best choice.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 05/19/08

Game Release: Xbox 360 Hardware (US, 11/22/05)

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