Review by rdccdr801
"The winner of the console war... in the 9th round of a close decision."
Gaming has been a hobby of mine for years. It's a huge passion of mine, and I devote much of my free time to it. I grew up with a Nintendo, and watched as it seemingly transformed magically into the Nintendo 64, and later the Gamecube.... and then the PS2. Then, just as I was getting used to the bliss of being a PS2-Gamecube dual owner, I started hearing about the sequel to the Xbox. I was never a huge Microsoft fan, and I thought the 360 would actually be a flop. But currently, as I bite into some crow, I realize that it tastes a bit gamy. The 360 is the best console of the generation. When comparing it to the merits of the competition, the 360 doesn't win in a landslide. However, it isn't as "close", like I hinted at in the title.
Graphics: The graphics on the Xbox 360 are pretty great. Graphics never make or break a game to me, but in this generation, there really isn't any excuse to not have sharp visuals (yet I see games with PS2 style presentation quite frequently). I'll admit that it matters if you have an HDTV. I always thought that there wasn't a huge difference, and then I played Oblivion for the first time on the HD. It felt like a completely different game. Either way, the game lineup truly helps the graphics score. Don't like the art design in military style shooters? There are many sci-fi and futuristic one can play? Like animation? Games like Mirror's Edge and Catherine have unique graphics designs. Of course, I digress slightly away from the point. ATI did a good job with the graphics card, and developers are often able to easily utilize its power. 9/10
System Appearance: The Xbox 360 looks nice enough of your shelf, but the model is a little bulky. The Elite looks especially slick, with how shiny it looks. 8/10
Sound: I can't really complain about the sound on the Xbox 360. Most sounds are clear and sound like they should, whether one is playing on or offline. Not much more to say. 8/10
Online Capabilities: As everyone knows by now, Microsoft uses Xbox Live for online play on the 360. Live has its strong suits, for sure. It allows gamers to access apps like Netflix, if you pay the monthly fees. These features have their merits, and I use those features quite often. However, games have to pay 60 dollars a year just to play online. Considering that the PS3 has free internet, the price is completely unacceptable, especially during these tough economic times. I have Xbox Live and frequently use it, but during times that I'm too busy to play it, I'm paying 60 dollars a year for a "Netflix streamer". Once you're online, it doesn't become all sunshine and roses. I've experienced frequent issues with being able to connect to Live, whether I'm using a wired connection or a wireless router. Also, many games have issues with lag, though part of that is due to beautiful looking games having their frame rates slow down. The online is not a total disaster like it is on the Wii, but I dislike the notion of paying, especially for a less than perfect product. 6/10
Durability: The Xbox 360 is not a very durable system, which makes the boxing metaphor in the title take on a new meaning. If the 360 were a fighter, he would have a glass jaw. I'm on my third Xbox 360. I've seen the red rings, and I've seen my 100 dollar hard drive corrupt and erase my really good Fallout save. My friend's 360 had an entirely different problem - he couldn't get the disc tray to open consistently. The durability of the games and accessories is even more inexcusable. If someone accidentally bumps your 360 while a game is playing, the game gets so badly that it's now unplayable forever. This simple fact is a pet owner's worst nightmare. The charge cords are the worst. I've gone through three of those, and I swear that I don't leave the controller on it when it doesn't need to be charged. Even the battery pack charger is broken. And I promise, it's not me. I have a Nintendo 64 in my room, which I got in 1998. All of the games are in working order. Even one of my 3rd party controllers still works perfectly! 3/10
Controller: I like the 360 controller. It's comfortable, and the controls are intuitive for most games. However, Microsoft must have invested in Energizer stock before gaming out with the 360. They knew that the controllers would have bad battery life, and that people would need to keep battery packs around. Worst of all, Microsoft finds creative ways to make sure that the gamer suffers. The battery pack chargers only charge the rechargeable white or rechargeable black battery packs, but not both. And the charge cord works, until you accidentally pull on it too hard when you're playing Halo Reach and take a cheap death because of it. Also, I hate the sync system for the controllers. Nothing irritates me more than having to press the sync button after I've taken my controller to a friend's house. I'd rather look at those tiny black numbers on the bottom of a Wavebird Wireless controller to figure out which port its connected it, rather than do it Microsoft's way. Either way, I'll stop whining - the design of the controller is actually stellar. 7/10.
Game Lineup: The lineup of games has spectacular quality and variety. Some of the best titles include Skyrim, Oblivion, Fallout, Dark Souls, BioShock Dead Island, the Battlefield series, the Halo series, the Left for Dead series, the Call of Duty series. The GTA and NFS games will also please a large swath of gamers. Many of these games are complete titles, which offer addicting multiplayer, a epic single player adventure, or both. Sure, not of all of these games are exclusive to the 360, but it shows that 360 can pretty much offer one any type of game experience. The games lineup is the absolute saving grace of the 360. My impetus for selling the Wii and getting a 360 was to play the games that were available on the 360. The only complaint is how is the lineup is a bit titled towards Action RPGs and FPS. Although I'm a big fan of both genres, I sometimes crave some variety. 9.5/10
Miscellaneous: Newer models of the 360 have a touch interface. While it looks awesome, it's really easy to accidentally brush against the disc tray button and eject the disk. Microsoft lets gamers download music to the hard drive, and you can play the music while you play a game. I like that the feature is included, but I hate the actual interface for listening to music. It's like Windows Media Player.... from hell. The hard drive system irks me. The new models have you insert the hard drive inside the system. Not only it is inconvenient, it also prevents a friend from bringing data over from his older Xbox without him bringing a transfer cord too.
The description for a "7" on GameFAQs is "good, a few problems, but worth the time to play". That's exactly how I feel about the Xbox 360. Some of the features are flawed, but overall, it's worth it. The game lineup gives it the edge over the PS3, and the 360 doesn't belong on the same shelf as the execrable Wii.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 12/12/11
Game Release: Xbox 360 Hardware (US, 11/22/05)
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