Review by davey2crazy

Reviewed: 12/09/05

Not gunning for the future, but holding it's own right now.

After spending a lot of time (and by a lot of time, I mean basically all my free time) with my roommates box, I have come to a conclusion that the Xbox 360 is the system to get now, but not the system to have for the future.

Games: So far, 8/10

One of the highest scoring launch lineups ever, but there's not a killer app in the bunch. I would have liked to seen a game that completely reeked of next-gen, but I guess we'll have to wait on that one. No worries, though. The good games outweigh the bad, but there are some major disappointments in the lot, including Madden 06, which blew my mind as to how EA could put out such a bare-bones product. CoD2, Condemned, NBA2k6 and even PDZ look and play well. Jaggies aren't to be found unless you truly look for them on HD. I'm sure this can be ironed out in the future.

Graphics: 7.5/10

While there are high spots (PDZ looks great on 50" CRT HDTV), the general makeup of the launch could easily be done on high end PC's. That's not a fanboy statement, either. That's just how it is. However, since about 75% of all launch games are on other platforms, the 360 doesn't really have a chance to show it's true power. Gears of War looks good, but is it really what the next gen will be? Not to say..."That's it?", but I'm sure many were expecting a bigger leap.

Design: 9/10

Smooth. Hefty if you're carrying it around. The power brick is ugly. The controllers fit VERY well in your hands and the buttons are very responsive. The bumpers are a great addition. The lack of pressure sensitive face buttons kind of worries me, though. There are times where I "kinda" want to jump, but not fully jump. Ah well, just being nitpicky, I guess.

Hardware: 7/10, 8/10 if kinks are fixed.

The disc scratching thing has GOT to go. If you move the console from veritcal to horizontal, or vice versa, your disc will be scratched. Period. There's also some issues about games freezing. (Even though this is a small percentage, it still sucks.) Backwards compatibility is limited, leaving some of the best selling Xbox 1 games out, and also requiring a HD to play them. The 360 is not taking any chances and sticking with a generation-old format: Dual Layer DVD. Whether you like to admit it or not, this may be the 360's downfall.
Multiple discs per game? Please. This isn't the PSX. And, since there's no full Hard drive support (since not all 360's are sold with one), that means that games will either

a) HAVE to require a Harddrive to run
b) require major compression (lower rez textures, lower quality sound, smaller maps)
c) run on multiple discs, which is unacceptable for this day in age.

Online: 9.5/10

Yes, Xbox Live is back, and it reigns supreme over the competition. They've instituted a free version, which allows John Doe Freeloader to get content without paying a red cent. Downloadable demos are going to be HUGE. You want to try a game before you buy it? Don't pay 8 bucks at Blockbuster. Download it free! Games are lagless for the most part, aside from CoD2.

The main complaint here is the "gamerpoints". You have to pay real money to get true premium content, such as new avatars or skins. Why not use achievement points for this? I mean, is your gamerscore COMPLETELY useless? Obviously so. I feel that using your gamerscore to buy items would have been much more appealing, because it would actually reward you for playing games, rather than just it being a bragging right.

Other: 8/10

*Customization is available at a price, including faceplates, skins, themes, custom tracks for games, avatars, profiles, etc.

*Financial support is there. Gates/Allard will not let their baby die, no matter what the competition brings to the table. They will buy whomever/whatever it takes to compete.

*The close future looks bright for the 360, in the sense that there are some awesome games in the works, cool peripherals planned, and expandable HD's if you want.

Main points:

+Well done launch lineup of games
+Excellent, excellent online
+Controller is A+
+Console is beautiful
- Glitches in the system
- Not really aiming for the future in some respects
- Absolutely horrid handling of USA launch, still expensive, even compared to PS3 (which, according to PS3 president, will launch for 300 to 400 dollars US)
- Loud, overheats easily, and the brick is an eyesore.

So, to sum it up, if you want the power of a current high end PC and then some for 20% of the cost, the 360 is for you. If you're looking for the next gen leap that blows you away, then you may want to wait a few years and try before you buy.

Overall NOW: 7
Overall possibility when appropriate items are fixed: 8.5

Rating:   3.5 - Good

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