Review by LRodC

"A potentially good system with too many problems."

The Xbox 360 was my first 7th generation console around the time when Gears of War came out. Now when I got it, I originally thought that it would be like the Xbox, having crappy PS2 ports for most of their games, and Halo. I was pleasantly surprised at how good Gears of War was after playing it on Co-op, and thought it would be different this time. Little did I know, I was dead wrong at that assumption.

Now as we go into the Xbox 360, we see the menu. It's a nice sort of menu, with the certain icons streamlined in a certain organized manner. You'll see games in one tab, the XBL Arcade in the other tab, Promotions and stuff in another tab, etc. It works, although complicated compared to the much easier to go through channel and XMB on the other systems.

The controller is pretty good. It is wireless, and it takes two AA batteries like the Wii controller. It has two sets of shoulder buttons, one set of triggers, and bumpers. It also has two control sticks and four face buttons. One gripe I have is that the control sticks, like Dualshock's, don't have grooves for the diagonals, but that's just minor. Another gripe is that the control pad is awful. Don't download any 2D XBLA games, because this thing is pretty bad. You'll probably barely use it though. Overall, controller works. Just a few gripes I didn't like, and it's way better than the original Xbox Duke controller.

The graphics for this system are amazing. It outputs similar to what the PS3 and some high end PCs do, and you will rarely be disappointed by what this thing can put out. Some of these games look absolutely amazing, and will blow you away.

I thought that the online service, Xbox Live deserved a mention. It is by far the best feature about the 360. It is a great service, and rarely lets me down. It is very easy to get people together to play a game, and the things you can do with it are endless. A few problems though. This service isn't free like on other consoles. It costs $60 a year for Xbox Live Gold, which is required to play with other people. This can be annoying, because I personally don't go on the 360 a lot, so it can expire without you playing at all. I like the convenience of going on a console online whenever I feel like it, free. I have no idea why they have to charge for it. Some of the kids on the servers are extremely annoying, and in the end you will wish the voice chat feature never existed as you try and mute them all. Other than these, it works fantastic.

Now, here's where the bad part comes. So far, seems like a pretty good system, right? Hear me out. Just about 70% of the exclusive games on the 360 are first/third person shooters that rely on Xbox Live for you to keep playing the game, and games that aren't like this are also found also on PS3. Most of these games have very short or half assed single player campaigns, and have almost no variety whatsoever. Pretty much a bulk of the 360's library is made of guns and multiplayer. I really hate to say it, but this is what I consider to be the downfall of gaming. There is almost no variety on this system at all. There might be a few things here and there which are different, but most people will cash in on the success of shooters. Now you might tell me "But I don't mind shooters, so why is this bad?" Well it'll get a little boring when almost every game you play involves you being in a dark and gray environment shooting things. These are well made, but so redundant.

Another very bad thing about the 360 (at least for every model before the Slim) is the hardware. The hardware is probably the biggest problem about it. For starters, it can't output WiFi like the other two systems. This is an absolute pain if you want to connect your console to Live, which is what the system is almost made for. I had to move my router so I could connect my Ethernet cable to get it to work. Now why couldn't they just put WiVi in it like everyone else? Another thing is that the system outputs way too much heat when it's on, and it sounds like a freaking car engine when it gets put on, unlike the Wii which has a slight whirr, and the PS3 which is pretty quiet. The hardware is very shoddily put together, and it looks like it could break any second. It's like they completely rushed it in 5 seconds to get it out a year before everybody else. And finally, the Red Ring of Death. It happens randomly for no reason at all, and can render every Xbox 360 aside from probably the Slim, completely inoperable. The only choice you have is to either send it to MS (which their phone service is completely horrible) or try and repair it yourself, which can potentially void the warranty. This is probably the number one fear of any 360 owner.

Closing Comments: It's a good system in the end and has good games, but the game library has close to no variety, and the hardware has too many problems. It also has other annoying system quirks. In the end, the other consoles are better.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 01/05/11

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

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