Review by netman70

Reviewed: 03/02/12

The Xbox 360 S with Kinect is great but does it set the bar for this generation of gaming?

The Xbox 360 S (slim) system plus Kinect is quite possibly one of the best deals out there for a current generation gaming system. If you want to know why that is then keep reading. Not interested? There's a red x in the top right corner of your screen and a back arrow in the top left corner :)

System 10/10

Basically the Xbox 360 S is a reinvented Xbox 360 that was made to fix the problems of the original models and allows for Kinect support. Fixing the problems the old models had was a great idea and Microsoft did a great job; such as making the system noticeably quieter compared to the older ones. It looks very sleek, with a slightly new shape and a black color that's very pleasing to the eyes. Taking a page out of Sony’s book, Microsoft has opted for touch sensitive buttons on the front for the power and disc tray buttons. Also, it's about a quarter of the weight of the original systems, making life easier for those who like to travel with their Xbox a lot say to friends houses or even moving the system from one room to another. As for the Kinect, it is basically a little bar, much like the Wii sensor bar, that you place on a stand (provided with the system). It’s made up of a few cameras and a motion sensing infrared lights on the front that detects your movements and relays them to the system and onto the screen.

Graphics 8/10

There's not much to say in this area. It's just like the old models, which isn't a bad thing. The graphics aren't on the same level as the PS3 but they blow the Wii out of the water and through the stratosphere. The graphics are nice to look at and are not hard on the eyes at all. Some games to note on the graphical spectrum of the Xbox 360 would be Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Call of Duty Black Ops, and the Need For Speed series. All of these games feature amazing graphics.

Sound 9/10

Once again, not much to say. Just like the old models. Great but not an improvement either. The sound is crisp and clear and will not leave you wondering to yourself, "what the heck was that?!?".

Games 7/10

This is honestly the only thing that kept me from giving this system a 10/10, really. Now don't get me wrong, this system has a ton of great games, but it doesn’t have a lot of exclusive games or series. Many of its best games are on multiple platforms (generally shared with the PS3), and therefore can't be fully credited to the Xbox 360 alone. To name a few examples you have Call of Duty: Black Ops (multiple platform), the Halo series (360 exclusive), and Fallout: New Vegas (multiple platform). These are all great games but like I said, they cannot be fully credited to the Xbox 360 (except for the Halo series) which is why I gave this category a mere 7/10.

Kinect 10/10

I'm giving the Kinect hardware a 10/10 based mostly on the revolution that it presents to motion control gaming. This is what Nintendo set out to do back in 2006 with the Wii, full and complete motion control. The Wii wasn't as good as expected but, this is not a Wii review so I’ll save that for another time. The Kinect literally offers controller free gaming. Everything is done by you and only you (unless you’re playing with a friend, which is extremely easy to set up if you have the space). Menu interface is done with your hand, and the controls for the games themselves require various movements that the Kinect tracks. As an example, there’s a handball game where you use your hands, feet, torso, and even your head to try to keep the balls in play. This is huge, it's fun, and it's revolutionary. The majority of the Kinect games are stand alone and require the Kinect sensor to use. In that regard, owning a Kinect feels like owning a completely new console.

Accessories 8/10

There are quite a few accessories that you can buy for the xbox 360. The controllers are very nice and easy to use. The buttons are placed well, and all are simple to use effectively (except the D-pad but that’s not used too often at least). You can buy a charging dock that can charge two wireless controllers at once which comes in handy big time if you play with friends a lot. There are many kinds of headsets you can buy for talking to your friends while you play and some of them can even transmit game sound through the headphones.

Xbox Live 9/10

The infrastructure interface for the xbox 360 is amazing. That's all there is to it. It's so easy to talk to friends, play games with thousands of people around the world, download demos, and even download entire games straight to your system. A great perk of the xbox 360 S is that it has built in wi-fi which allows very easy connection to Xbox Live. I had mine set up in about five minutes after turning on my system.

Final Word

This is really a great system. The fixing of the red ring of death is a huge plus. This is something I forgot to hit on earlier in my review. Basically the Slim version of the 360 has a completely reinvented cooling system. This means pretty much no red ring of death at all! This is huge for Microsoft and probably the greatest thing that could happen to the Xbox 360. Also, it's much harder to ruin your games by moving the system while the game is spinning. You almost have to do it intentionally for it to happen. All in all a nearly perfect system in all regards.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Product Release: Xbox 360 Hardware with Kinect (US, 11/04/10)

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