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Impressions From A Second Shipment 360 Owner

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the meant-to-imply-an-in-drawn-breath dept.

XBox (Games) 427

I try to look for the best in every situation. In the grand scheme of things, getting bumped from the first shipment of pre-ordered Xbox 360s to the second wasn't the end of the world. Indeed, it allowed me to focus on launch news and information, posting stories for the games page and absorbing the mood of early adopters. The reports that came back were mixed, with occasional technical difficulties and tepid gameplay marring the first next-gen launch. Overall though, gamers seemed to be pleased with their purchases. When my local game store called to let me know my console was in, I bit the bullet and swiped the plastic. Today I have for you a rundown on what it's like to go where others have gone before. Read on for my impressions of the Xbox 360 experience after a month of retail sales and a week of gameplay.While I don't feel the need to bore you with pictures of the packaging, the out-of-the-box experience is attractive and intuitive. It only took a few moments to set things up before I was working with the setup wizard. As per the copious recommendations across the internet, I made sure that the console's power brick was not on the carpet once the system was in place. The bottom of my entertainment center has wire shelving, and the free flow of air around the brick has so far allowed my 360 to be glitch-free. It is, unfortunately, as large as everyone says it is. Pulling the massive thing out of the box, I had a flash of a bad bumper-sticker: "My second console is my 360 power brick." The cables are all surprisingly lengthy, with a nice long piece of cat5 cable making the trip to my router with more slack than the one I was using for my Xbox. One important consideration: If you're fortunate enough to be using your console with an HDTV, make sure and flip the switch on the component cable before you start up the console. It's set by default to 'TV', and if you want to experience the HD signal right away you're going to want that switch flipped. With everything plugged in and set properly I hit the large central button on the controller, and the console whirred to life.

The setup wizard asked for little more than the time zone and my Passport account. The Live account I had with the Xbox was still in good standing, putting me into the 'gold' version of the Live system. This apparently allows me the opportunity to get to some additional content, and make use of the Trueskill ranking system we reported on a while back. The only annoying part of the setup was the grueling process of entering my email address and password. Selecting letters from an on-screen keyboard seems like a good idea until you start entering your 32-character-long email address. As a final touch I was asked my preferences for controls in FPS and Driving titles. I don't know why, but I like inverted look on console games. It just works better for me. By entering the setting on my Live account, every FPS I play on the 360 will use that setting by default.

Setup completed, I had my first look at the 360 'blade' system. The interface for the console is a series of screens arranged in an interlocking pattern of tabs, or blades. Flipping between the different screens is as easy as moving the thumbstick. It's a remarkably intuitive and clean interface, and really hits home the 'next-gen' feel of the console. First thing, I hopped into the Live Marketplace and purchased some Microsoft Points. As much as I was looking forward to playing Call of Duty 2 and King Kong, I'd heard such good things about the downloadable game experience that I wanted to check them out right away. I also wanted to snag the Penny Arcade Skins and gamer portraits. These games and downloadables were purchased with the Points, which are Microsoft's way of putting an additional step between users and their credit cards. Parents who don't want their kids racking up bills via Live can purchase pre-paid Point cards in stores, ala the time cards for a MMOG. You can also buy them directly through Live if you have a credit card on file. They sound like more of a deal than they are, unfortunately. Game downloads range from about 400 to about 800 Points, and right now Live is offering 1000 Points for $12.50 (or $.05 for four points). You can buy about three games then, give or take, for $25.00. A steal compared to most console titles, but not as inexpensive as you might like. Theme packs that re-skin your blades run about 150 Points, and packs of icons for your GamerTag are about 50 Points. There are exceptions, of course. The Penny Arcade icon packs each have several icons to choose from, and cost 200 Points. Expensive, but Mr. Period was worth the $2.50.

The downloadable games are wide-ranging in playstyle, and offer something for just about everyone. Classic titles like SmashTV, and Joust sit beside modern hits like Zuma and Bejeweled. There are also brand new and indie titles, like Geometry Wars Retro Evolved and Wik: Fable of Souls. The console also comes with a shiny puzzle game already unlocked for you, called Hexic. Hexic has you rotating groups of three colored blocks, seeking to make groups of same-colored shapes. It's not the most brilliant puzzler ever, but it is good looking and is something to kill time with if you're not interested in downloading anything. Which would be a shame, because all of the games in the Live Marketplace offer up free trials. The cost is the time to download, and the reward is the chance to recall just how badly you played the original Gauntlet. The Live title I've gotten the most enjoyment out of is Geometry Wars Retro Evolved. Originally a simplistic little extra on Project Gotham Racing 2, Geometry Wars has been reinvisioned for the Live Marketplace. It's a beautiful old-school shooter in the style of Asteroids, with a lot of attitude. There are over a dozen enemy types, several blaster styles, and loads of extremely challenging gameplay. I've accomplished the 'get 100,000 points' Achievement, but only just. Even then, as of this writing I'm number 16,618 on the Geometry Wars leaderboard. Judging by the leaders on the leaderboard, the game is not only challenging but addictive as well.

That Geometry Wars Achievement is one of the easier ones to obtain for that title, most of them centering on surviving for prolonged periods of time. They're somewhat simplistic, given the nature of the game, but every game has their own style of Achievement. Xbox Live Achievements are 'Kilroy was here' moments in games made for the Xbox 360. Every title is required to have some, and it varies from game to game how many there are and how hard it is to obtain them. Call of Duty 2, for example, hands you one for completing Basic Training but then denies you additional kudos until you've beaten large parts of the game. Kameo, on the other hand, gives you an Achievement every time you obtain another Elemental Warrior (which happens relatively frequently). They're viewable through your GamerTag, and are an interesting way to check in and see how far your friend has made it through a given title.

One of the benefits of waiting a month before purchasing my 360 was knowing what games to get and what titles I could safely avoid. With PDZ mostly snagging 8/10s, I decided to pick up Call of Duty 2 instead as my launch-title FPS. Jack Black and Peter Jackson was just too appealing to me to pass up (not to mention the big monkey), so I grabbed King Kong as well. Kameo's colorful visuals and morphing gameplay also seemed very appealing, and I chose that as my third launch title.

Call of Duty 2 (CoD 2) has earned its reputation as the cream of the 360 launch title crop. The game powerfully recaptures the thrill of the original title, placing you in the shoes of a grunt on the Russian, British, or American fronts of World War II. Gameplay is fast-paced and finely honed, with a control scheme that for the first time feels effortless to this PC gamer. The 360 controller, overall, has a wonderful feel to it. It's not even as large as the S-type Xbox controller, and the thumbsticks are incredibly responsive. I've always had some 'user-related issues' playing FPS titles on the console, but the 360 controller feels extremely natural in my hands. Call of Duty 2 makes use of every button on the controller, and the schema feels very intuitive once you've gone through basic training. The game not only plays well, but looks terrific too. I wasn't sure what exactly to expect when I first began playing a 360 title (as still images just don't do next-gen games justice), but I have been extremely impressed. CoD 2 lives, breathes, and clips along at 60 frames per second without blinking. The snowy enivrons of Russia, the ice crusted to the fringe of my commander's longcoat, and the billowing emissions of a smoke grenade all come together to form an immersive experience. If I had to choose a 'best of' element for Call of Duty 2, it would be the AI. German soldiers dive for cover, snipe from afar, and use suppression fire to support their troop movements. Your Russian squad-mates call out enemy positions in simple and understandable terms. They have your back if you run out of ammo, and keep the baddies under cover as you sprint towards your next objective. Call of Duty 2 is easily the finest launch title the 360 has to offer.

The 360 version of King Kong has been in the news recently because of some darkness issues. While it is indeed very dark, on an HD screen the light is more than sufficient to make out the creepy-crawlies coming in your direction. King Kong plays mostly like an action-adventure FPS, with you in the role of writer Jack Driscoll. Driscoll and a motley crew of movie-makers make their way through the creepy enivrons of Skull Island. Originally on the island just for the scenery, the game quickly becomes a race after the giant ape Kong who has stolen leading lady Ann. The primitive environment plays a role in the game's story and gameplay. While ammo is plentiful in some FPS titles, Kong has you relying on periodic supply drops from a low flying plane. Once you're out of ammo, you're reduced to using spears as weapons against the giant centipedes, dinosaurs, and flying harpy-things that plague your every step. Kong has a lot of atmosphere, and even on normal mode is fairly challenging. My biggest complaint with the title is the occasional puzzle element. Doors must be opened via a pair of rotating gate mechanisms, and at various points in the game you're required to find the handle for one or both of these mechanisms. Looking for a small handle in a large outdoor space with variable lighting is, regrettably, not very fun and serves mostly as a way to add time to the game. The 'best of' element is definitely the infrequent sequences where you get to play as Kong. The sheer power he displays, compared to the squishiness of Jack Driscoll, makes for a refreshing change of pace as you progress through the game. Kong is only so-so as FPS titles go, but when at its best it offers some beautiful vistas , scary moments, and "omgdinosaurz" gameplay.

Kameo has gotten a lot of mixed reviews since the 360 launched, and with good reason. On one hand, it has beautiful cartoony graphics. The world evokes a sense of wonder, and the characters that inhabit the various realms are all kind of goofy-looking. On the other hand, it's a violent game with a decent amount of gore. Splattering bugs and plant-monsters tosses a green goo at the screen, which slides down the inside of your television screen. One elemental warrior has a move that impales enemies on his back, and then uses them as thrown weapons. A forgettable plot doesn't help things, either. Kameo was living a fulfilling life as a princess when her sister went black hat and released the evil Troll King. They capture your family and strip you of your powers, and you're off on a crusade to get everything back. There are some amusing story elements that complicate things a bit, like a conniving seer with aspirations of power, but for the most part the game plays out exactly as you'd imagine. You move from place to place in the game world, collecting warriors and freeing your family members. Each Elemental Warrior offers up specific abilities that can be used to circumvent obstacles. The plant-boxer can dive into the ground to move under gates, the dragon-form can light torches with his breath weapon, and the rolling armadillo-guy Major Ruin can use his rush attack to leap chasms. Despite the predictable plot, there is fun to be had, here. Once you have a few warriors under your belt gameplay gets switched up relatively often, requiring you to recognize what form will work best fairly frequently. Combat itself is quick and mostly satisfying, and each warrior has a bevy of upgradable powers to play with. The problem really boils down to who exactly this game is for, though. The graphics say young player, the violence says teenager, and the spine-gratingly annoying 'helper' says functional imbecile. Even halfway through the game your hand is still being held with regard to power use and puzzle-solving, and it gets more than a little annoying sometimes. Kameo is interesting from a uniqueness point of view, but probably isn't worth it unless the art style and morphing premise really appeal to you. Regrettably, they are about all the game has to offer.

My experiences with the 360, even disappointing moments with Kameo, have been overwhelmingly positive. Even while falling to my death because of a wonky camera in Kameo or getting eaten for the fifth time by a giant centipede in King Kong, there's a level of polish to these launch titles that surprised me. I'm not sure I'd agree with J. Allard when he claimed the 360 has the 'best launch lineup ever', but at least the titles that I chose to purchase all have elements worth exploring. The console itself has also surprised me. A slick interface and effortless simple online components make this the first box I've really enjoyed just futzing with. The Marketplace is a powerful selling point, and the games up for offer are well worth looking into. They're constantly adding content as well, ensuring that stopping in at the Live component is almost always a worthwhile sidetrip from whatever game you're playing. Just since the console's launch they've added a Mission Impossible 3 trailer, a Billiards game, and a great PSA from Red vs. Blue. I have been pleasantly surprised by the entire 360 experience, and I might even go so far as to say that I got my money's worth when I purchased the system last week. In these frustrating times of hype and shady customer service, it's hard for me to offer up higher praise than that.

As a final note, you may be interested to know that my Xbox Live GamerTag is 'whoisdialogue'. If you're looking for someone to kick around in CoD multiplayer, I will probably be able to oblige any deep-seated fantasies you may have of shooting a Slashdot editor in the brainpan. See you online.

Update: 12/21 19:55 GMT by Z : Fixed per-point price, because math is hard. Thanks AC.

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But.. (4, Funny)

Landak (798221) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311307)

The question we all REALLY want to know the answer to is this: How does the xbox 360 power supply brick compare to your electric space heater?

Re:But.. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14311630)

Actually, what we really want to know is: why is Slashdot supporting Micro$oft with these stories?

Same thing... (2, Funny)

fury88 (905473) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311322)

Same thing happened to me. I put a deposit down back in may with EB when it was $20. I STILL missed the first cutoff by like 2 or 3. I finally got it last week and I am glad I did. My guess is the second shipment was better. My brother-in-law got his during first release and he had to send it back before I even got mine!!

Re:Same thing... (1)

fleck_99_99 (223900) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311831)

Dang. I didn't put my deposit in until October, and I'm estimating I'll see an XBox 360 in (roughly) April. Still, that's pretty disappointing performance. Reservation: October 2. Current position in list: roughly 1/3 down page 2. Current delivered orders: roughly 1/8 down page 1.

$0.80 a point? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14311326)

Live is offering 1000 Points for $12.50 (or $.80 a point)

Shouldn't that be $0.0125 a point, or 4 points for a nickel?

Re:$0.80 a point? (3, Funny)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311425)

Give me two Bees for a nickel.

Re:$0.80 a point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14311544)

B B

Re:$0.80 a point? (0, Offtopic)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311798)

I like that onion on your belt!

Re:$0.80 a point? (5, Funny)

Call Me Black Cloud (616282) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311446)

Shouldn't that be $0.0125 a point, or 4 points for a nickel?

Shhhhh!!!!! I've started selling him 2 points for $0.80 and he thinks he's getting a great deal. Don't blow this for me!

Re:$0.80 a point? (1)

Soybean47 (885009) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311548)

It works out to 80 points for $1, which I suspect offers some sort of insight into the mathematical error involved here.

Re:$0.80 a point? (1)

Cheapy (809643) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311570)

He simply had the math mixed up. What he did was points/dollars, rather than dollars/point. Thus, you can get 80 points per dollar.

Re:$0.80 a point? (1)

myenigmaself (602643) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311774)

It's 0.8 points per 1. That's where the .80 came from. Just gotta keep the units in line.

crashes? (2, Interesting)

mikkom (714956) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311341)

Does it still crash often? That is my worst fear if I would get the 360.

Re:crashes? (1)

cybrthng (22291) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311359)

Mine hasn't crashed nor have any of my friends.

Well, actually i did freeze in PGR 3 once but it was because my daughter was doing something she shouldn't have.

Re:crashes? (2, Insightful)

terrymr (316118) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311411)

Well, actually i did freeze in PGR 3 once but it was because my daughter was doing something she shouldn't have.

Sticking paperclips in the ports ? ... otherwise it shouldn't freeze

Re:crashes? (2, Funny)

cybrthng (22291) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311569)

no.. just beating the crap out of it.. it was on the side and it caused the disk to slip and freeze.

2 year olds are not good with consoles no matter what brand.

Re:crashes? (1)

eosp (885380) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311587)

I thought Windows at least, while not a console, was designed by 2 year olds!

Re:crashes? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14311395)

Crash? It's made by what company?

More importantly, why does anybody CARE?

Re:crashes? (1)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311796)

Seriously it's going to take longer than a month for hardware fixes to get in place, UNLESS they knew about the problems before they shipped! I doubt they could even get firmware patches in place in a month, it's not like patching a PC. Problems have to be found, ECOs issued, new hardware built & tested (if HW is faulty) and new flash devices created. That doesn't usually happen within a month, especially given that anything arriving this week was probably built 2-3 weeks ago.

If you want to be sure you don't get broken hardware wait about 6 months, make sure your store has been sold out. Listen for reports of people with new systems that don't have problems, then buy.

Couldn't they take a few pointers from XBMC (4, Insightful)

Sofalover (920271) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311343)

XBMC > XPMCE Streaming

What the fuck is this again? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14311346)


"Oooh, look at me, I got an X-box 360. I'm going to post the same shit that was posted by blog writers everywhere, only a month later. But I'm special and write for slashdot, so my shit doesn't stink."

Seriously, no one cares you got a fucking X-box. Shove it.

Re:What the fuck is this again? (0, Offtopic)

hiphophap (936982) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311595)

well i know someone who is planning on installing an xbox360 in their thunderbird... And what I then wonder is what happens when it rains?

Re:What the fuck is this again? (1)

nizo (81281) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311750)

Actually it should be safe since someone will probably steal it long before it gets rained on.

Amen (2, Informative)

cybrthng (22291) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311347)

I couldn't agree more. Gotta love my 360, Xboxlive and the total service package.

I'm used to large power supplies, my LCD tv has one thats the same size if not bigger, so welcome to the world of big bricks :)

Re:Amen (-1, Troll)

argoff (142580) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311695)

I couldn't agree more. Gotta love my 360,

I don't know if it's a nice product, but it seems to me that the people behind it are real thugs. IMHO, that alone should be reason enough not to buy it.

Tyrannosaurus Rex (3, Funny)

lampiaio (848018) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311362)

Is it only me or are those T-Rex arms out of proportion (too small/thin)? Here are some images for comparison: Google Images [google.com]

I know, Google Images shouldn't be a reference, but anyway...

Re:Tyrannosaurus Rex (1)

CountBrass (590228) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311526)

That's because it's not a T-Rex it's a V-Rex (no, seriously). I no, I have no idea what's the difference, well apart from the arms of course :-)

Re:Tyrannosaurus Rex (1)

GeorgeFrancisco (528162) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311693)

They do seem so yeah. I checked the Wiki entry [wikipedia.org] and it does appear to support our suspicion that they should be a little bigger/thicker.

Re:Tyrannosaurus Rex (1)

miller701 (525024) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311710)

A little bit. they look about the same size as the ones in the movie (or at least the trailer)

Offtopic? (0)

lampiaio (848018) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311797)

Thanks for the "-1, Offtopic", now I know one should not comment on the graphics of an XBOX360 game in an XBOX360-related story, especially when said graphics made the main story page. Comments should only concern "have the overheating power supply issue been fixed????!?!!11!?!??" and the such.

Yeah but.... (4, Funny)

nizo (81281) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311368)

If you're looking for someone to kick around in CoD multiplayer, I will probably be able to oblige any deep-seated fantasies you may have of shooting a Slashdot editor in the brainpan.

I still think sniping you through the office window would be easier than getting an Xbox 360 right now however.

Re:Yeah but.... (4, Informative)

cybrthng (22291) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311380)

Keep your eyes on CircuitCity.com. They have been releasing a few every day online. They had a batch go out about 9:00 a.m. this morning. Webmon is a pretty good tool to track the online sales. Follow up on fatwallet's 360 threads as well for all the how-to's you can handle on getting a 360.

Re:Yeah but.... (4, Funny)

Zonk (12082) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311585)

Dude, you are so why I work the frontpage shift with the blinds closed.

Now it all makes sense... (1)

tgd (2822) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311715)

The dupes happen when you're looking over your shoulder before clicking! ;-)

Re:Yeah but.... (1)

brainnolo (688900) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311696)

Strange, here in Italy i saw a lot of them sitting unsold on the store's shelves, even now that Christmas holiday are near.

Keyboard Input (4, Informative)

Shaheen (313) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311370)

Zonk said he hated entering in his email address and password with the Xbox 360 virtual keyboard. We understood this problem from Xbox and support USB keyboard input for the Xbox 360 virtual keyboard. Just plug in a USB keyboard at any time and use it while the virtual keyboard is displayed.

Disclaimer: Microsoft is my employer. This post is provided as-is with no warranty and confers no rights.

Re:Keyboard Input (1)

Sofalover (920271) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311406)

Do you care enough to support K & M in FPS's?

Re:Keyboard Input (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14311435)

Question should be phrased "Do you care enough to require that developers support keyboard and mouse in all FPS titles" ;)

Re:Keyboard Input (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14311517)

I like your webpage
"WARNING

The U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY is advising all Microsoft Windows users to stop using INTERNET EXPLORER due to a number of security issues with that Web Browser. They suggest using alternative browsers until such time as Microsoft fix their product. We suggest you download Get Firefox! or Opera. Click the links for more information on those excellent products."

Re:Keyboard Input (4, Insightful)

WankersRevenge (452399) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311567)

That sounds very user-friendly ... but of course, such usability is rendered moot when the interface doesn't inform the user about it.

Re:Keyboard Input (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14311628)

It's in the manual.

Re:Keyboard Input (1)

Gulthek (12570) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311789)

Yes. It is hard to remember to read the manual.

Must the user be hand-held every step of the way now? :-/

Re:Keyboard Input (2, Informative)

generic-man (33649) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311611)

I was really impressed with that when I set up the Xbox that the OGS folks bought on day 1 and lent to me for the winter break. I plugged in my wireless keyboard/mouse receiver to the front USB port and was able to type in all the details needed to register for Live. Very slick. Sometimes the arrow keys and ENTER button work as the D-Pad and A button, but sometimes they don't; that was my only beef with the keyboard support. In any case, kudos for supporting existing input devices out of the box.

Re:Keyboard Input (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14311779)

So is it a default option along with mouse for games like FPS, or do developers have to program support in and enable it?

Having the thing as a option developers can chose to support isn't going to kill compliants like mine.

Re:Keyboard Input-Microsoft's your employer? Yeah! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14311840)

Disclaimer: Microsoft is my employer. This post is provided as-is with no warranty and confers no rights.

Can you explain then how come then the website linked on your posts http://floach.pimpin.net/visigoth [pimpin.net] redirects to search411.com [search411.com] which very is advising people to use "The browser you can trust Firefox" & NOT Microsoft IE?

Hey? Explain that one to us Mr Microsoft man!!! Something is fishy here and I don't mean your mum who's still naked on my bed!

Good Writeup (5, Funny)

acvh (120205) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311384)

As a confirmed video game junkie I have mixed feelings toward the "next generation" consoles. I don't think that we've really maxed out the current generation yet, especially the xbox, but now we're moving on. The 360 is at a price point that makes it easier for me to Just Say No, at least for now.

I told my son that we're not getting a new console until at least one of us finishes all the games we own. That should keep us busy until the PS4 or xbox 720 hit.

one of us finishes all the games we own (1)

Darius Jedburgh (920018) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311457)

Is your real name Sisyphus [wikipedia.org] perhaps?

Re:one of us finishes all the games we own (1)

Zigg (64962) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311688)

Why do you say that? Do all the games you own erase their own save files just before you complete them?

Re:Good Writeup (1)

David Nabbit (924807) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311722)

I'll second that. Although I might need to pick up a DS before I finish all the games I already own. I'm also thinking of just getting rid of the games I probably won't play again.

Re:Good Writeup (2, Interesting)

rknop (240417) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311838)

As a confirmed video game junkie I have mixed feelings toward the "next generation" consoles. I don't think that we've really maxed out the current generation yet, especially the xbox, but now we're moving on. The 360 is at a price point that makes it easier for me to Just Say No, at least for now.

Heh. Yeah, I only got an Xbox after they were $150 and I spent a lot of time rationalizing that it was OK to buy a Microsoft thing. I eventually came up with the dissembling cognitive dissonance-resolver that I'd be happy if Microsoft were to take off as a games company and give up on Windows and all that other stuff that I find so threatening.

But the Xbox 360... well, I got my Xbox late, so there are lots of great games I haven't played yet... and, heck, I could probably enjoy my gaming experience for the next few months with nothing other than the only game I've played for the last month (GTA:SA). Yeah, lots of life left in that thing. I may get a 360 when it's price is low because it's in it's last year of "prime time" life.

I predict that at least for another year, we'll still see a few new games for the Xbox. There are a lot of them out there. Halo 3 and the next Morrowind, no, but I'll bite my patience and wait a few years to play those.

-Rob

$0.80 for 1 point??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14311429)

I think you need to check your math on that. $12.50/1000 = 0.0125. Thats less than $0.02 per point.

What I want for Christmas. (-1, Troll)

Ginza (940575) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311433)

Dear Santa, I have been very, very good this year!* Please bring me a real MMORPG that I can play on my shiney new XBOX 360. I want it to have realtime fighting sequences with challenging dungeons and quests. I also want it to have integrated PVP, that is skill based, so that I can ownz0r bitches. And I want it on my XBOX 360 so I get the seamless graphics that I love and the control I can use. Much love, little Timmy * relatively, I mean Jeffrey Dahmer is an asshole

Guy Wastes Money On Crappy Console. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14311437)

And then writes about it.

No one gives a fuck about the 360. The PS3 is only a few months away and the Revolution just a little bit longer than that.

Fantastic games coming out for both the DS and PSP. And the PS2 has incredible software like Shadow of the Collossus, RE4, and God of War out for it now.

I don't know what the hell Microsoft thinks they doing in the console market. Outside of hardcore Xbox owners, no one gives a damn about the 360 other as something to laugh at.

Re:Guy Wastes Money On Crappy Console. (1)

jasonditz (597385) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311751)

There's only one game I'm interested in seeing for the 360, and that's TES IV. If that's not a world-beater of a game, I'm waiting for my PS3 (getting the Rev at launch is a matter of course)

Sounds ok... (3, Interesting)

rwven (663186) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311439)

Sounds like it's halfway decent compared to what i initially expected. It's still too expensive for me though. I'll buy it in a couple years when you can get them for 200 bucks... I'm not that into console gaming. I'd rather take a ride down to the range and shoot for REAL. (or boot up my PC and get better controls and better graphics that i don't have to sit on the couch to see) :) The most i've ever spent on a console was 50 bucks for a refurb gamecube at eb games... Other than that, i bought a refurb dreamcast for 30 bucks from eb and my parents bought me a gamegear a long time ago... I'm sure the console will get better with age as more and more stuff becomes multithreaded. Supposedly not one of the games that's out for it now is multithreaded... I'd like to see what happens when games start coming out that ARE.

Did you play the game for long, or see the movie? (-1, Offtopic)

Cutriss (262920) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311454)

Jack Driscoll is the writer, not the actor.

What the hell? (0, Troll)

imag0 (605684) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311469)

Ok, so let me get it straight. Microsoft took a credit card machine, masked it as a game console and shoved it out the door.

I've boycotted Sony due to the CD debacle, and after reading this I'm sure I will not be picking up a 360 since I really don't like the idea of paying someone everytime I want to change something. Looks like my decision has been made for me. Here's hoping that the Nintendo Revolution does not suck all that bad.

Re:What the hell? (1)

Zonk (12082) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311551)

I have greatly enjoyed playing with the Marketplace, but the for-pay elements are not the only things on offer.

As I said, all the demos offer a free trial version, so you can try before you buy. They're usually fixed time, so you can only play for about half an hour or so before it quits. The themes and gamer pictures are usually for-pay, but there are a number of freebies as well. For example, right now you can download a Kameo Christmas-themed skin for your blades. It's not as attractive as some of the other options, but if you want to futz with your console's look you aren't always going to have to pay for it.

Re:What the hell? (-1, Troll)

Delphiki (646425) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311590)

I'm sure I will not be picking up a 360 since I really don't like the idea of paying someone everytime I want to change something. Looks like my decision has been made for me.

What the fuck are you talking about? Are you on the dope?

Re:What the hell? (3, Informative)

xtieburn (906792) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311619)

'paying someone everytime I want to change something'

Thats a bit of an exageration. I believe you just pay and you can get some new stuff but you dont have to pay to keep switching around things. Kind of like the important part of the look of the 360 is to be able to move it to anywhere in your lounge, thats obviously free, but if you really like you can also change its face plate for a price.

Its just an extra that wouldnt exist at all if it werent for the credit card and point stuff.

That said I am also waiting for the revolution to come out. 360 doesnt seem to bad though and it was a good review.

And what I want to know is... (3, Interesting)

ShatteredDream (636520) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311473)

Have the heat-related problems been resolved for the second shipment and if not, what is the timeframe for these problems to be fixed?

Re:And what I want to know is... (4, Informative)

Zonk (12082) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311514)

I honestly can't tell you. The "random crashing" that I've heard some people report, and the outright failures, haven't happened for me. Whether that's because I have a second shipment unit, or just luck, I can't say.

I will say, the power brick gets pretty hot. If it was just lying on the carpet, I may have the same heating problems others have reported. By putting it on the open wire mesh of my entertainment unit, I have a lot of air moving over it. So far I haven't had so much as a stutter or slowdown.

Gamertag (3, Funny)

diminico (762785) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311477)

I guess he'll find out how well the "Friends" blade area is designed after he gets a few thousand Friend Requests.

360? YAAAAAAWN!!!! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14311478)

360 has a setup wizard!? Too funny. Three signs the industry has completely gone down the toilet:
1) Systems/Games require setup before playing (Once my SNES was hooked up, I put in the game and I was playing. Setup? If the system and games are so complex that they need to be configured, I'm afraid someone missed the point of a gaming console to begin with)
2) Elaborate stories/movies prior/during gameplay. (Princess is kidnapped, Mario has to save her, no FMV video sequences needed for that!)
3) Microsoft releases a game console. (Just another market to try and monopolize eh Bill?)

Whither Marketplace? (5, Interesting)

thatguywhoiam (524290) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311480)

One thing I notice in a lot of the X360 reviews is a big exuberance for the Marketplace idea. Having tried it myself, I came away with two impressions: 1. it is very slick and well-designed, probably the nicest UI design MS has ever done; and 2. I wouldn't put my money in that thing in a million years. It sort of frightens me - Passport has always frightened me. And it is uninteresting on the whole, as far as content goes. Retro gaming is cool and all but I'd rather do that on a handheld. The little downloadable games are cute but familiar and overpriced, and paying for stuff like UI skins is quite daft, IMHO. Yeah I like Penny Arcade too but jeezus why does their content cost 4X as much? I do like the bits about player IDs and whatnot but - maybe its just me, but I like to hide behind my online personas when I go to game. I don't necessarily want to be monitored by my friends and whatnot. (Maybe there is a Hide option?)

So the question is, how much of a value is the X360 if I really couldn't care less about the Live Marketplace? Is it intrinsic to the value of the box or is it a nice add-on? I'm waiting to see what the PS3 can do either way, but if Marketplace is Xbox's 'edge' then its kind of boring. (I have no doubt I will be able to voice-chat and do multiplayer/internet on the Revolution and PS3.)

Re:Whither Marketplace? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14311534)

"One thing I notice in a lot of the X360 reviews is a big exuberance for the Marketplace idea. "

Because that is the type of stuff you talk about when you don't have major console developers putting AAA console selling IP on your system.

It's a lot like someone avoiding a question of how attractive a person is and instead mentions what a great personality they have.

'marketplace'
'custom soundtracks'
'downloadable content' ...
'great personality'

Re:Whither Marketplace? (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311795)

Is it just me or is there more "I'm waiting to see the others first" talk then ever before?

I'm waiting to see what the PS3 can do either way, but if Marketplace is Xbox's 'edge' then its kind of boring.

I plan to get a PS3 more so I can hack on it; though, I still think it will be a very high quality console.

I *gasp* Like the 360 I think.... (2, Informative)

ShyGuy91284 (701108) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311498)

I'm not a MS fanboy. I'm more of a linux/Mac fanboy, I should hate Microsoft. I don't like how they buy the best (rare, bungie) from the competition, and how they throw much money at getting their consoles popular (celebrities on the XB 360 revealing special on MTV). But from what I've read/heard, I like the XBox 360.... It seems to be much more then a console, and a big step in the direction of a true "set-top box" that I have always dreamed about. Games, PVR (Idk if you can schedule recordings on your WMC PC though), decent downloadable content, pretty good games.... In terms of what would make a new system good (I don't care if PS3 can do this that XBox 360 can't or vice-versa, they are the same generation, and fundamentally the same graphically), I think the XBox 360 did everything pretty good (other then the power brick overheating). In a similar way some of Nintendo's products or the Dreamcast brought on some pretty shocking default features, XBox seems to have a similar unique and good feature set. I don't have one yet, but I hope to get one soon enough.

Re:I *gasp* celebrities promoting products! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14311719)

Yeah, Microsoft sucks for paying celebrities to push their product... I mean, Apple would never do that, right? Ohhhh... wait a minute! U2 pushes Apple products and so do a boat-load of actors - all of whom are paid handsomely for their time... and let's not forget the product placement budget at Apple which must be quite large considering every single computer you see in movies is an Apple. You can be sure the producers aren't doing that for free. But yeah, you're right - it's just wrong of MS to use celebrity power to increase the popularity of their products.

If you are still looking (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14311503)

for a 360, try this site - GamerMill.com [gamermill.com] .

let me know when (1, Insightful)

wardk (3037) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311523)

it plays playstation 2 games. my kid has too many of those to even consider a switch in technology.

and I need to get an MS passport?

pass....

Re:let me know when (5, Funny)

llevity (776014) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311652)

it plays playstation 2 games. my kid has too many of those to even consider a switch in technology.

Yeah. It sucks how you have to throw away your PS2 when you buy an Xbox 360. I never understood why we aren't allowed to keep our old consoles so we can play our old games, while still having a new console to play new games on.

Oh. Wait.

paid advertiseing. (0, Offtopic)

Truekaiser (724672) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311527)

[sarcasm] nice to see paid advertiseing is still around [/sarcasm]

Is this real or an advertisement? (0, Troll)

hackstraw (262471) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311536)


I'm not trolling (this usually pads people from being modded as troll for some reason).

But the guy says "I bit the bullet and swiped the plastic." So it appears at first to be a fairly large and potentially risky purchase. I'm not sure of the timeframe here, but it appears as though in a short time this guy has bought every game available, has an HDTV, bought every accessory and online option. Detailed the price of everything. And this was posted by Zonk.

If I'm the only one who is skeptable, so be it mod me to -1 and this will be forgotten, but the sum of the parts don't seem to add up to be a review.

Also, who submitted this thing? Zonk himself? Or did it spontaneously generate from the meant-to-imply-an-in-drawn-breath department?

Re:Is this real or an advertisement? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14311594)

"Also, who submitted this thing? Zonk himself? "

He's gotta pay for that free 360...

Guess even after that barrage of 360 marketing stories over the past couple of months he still has a balance due.

No wonder people are fleeing this dump for http://www.digg.com/ [digg.com]

Re:Is this real or an advertisement? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14311703)

He's got three games, hardly everything that's currently out. Every accessory? the only accessory I saw mentioned was the included controller. Online component? As he mentioned he already had XBox Live from his old xbox, and anyway you'd be a fool not to get live for the 360. I'm going to assume he already had an HDTV, why would he have to have bought one since getting the 360? Furthermore, most reviews detail the price.

This is obviously a review written by Zonk. You are a paranoid idiot.

Re:Is this real or an advertisement? (2, Informative)

Cheapy (809643) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311768)

I'll go through this point by point.

If it was an advert, the math wouldn't have been wrong. Also, he wouldn't have mentioned the negatives, such as the 32-character e-mail address, and the power brick. Or even the King Kong lighting issues.

Regarding the "large and risky investment": I think that was the part that the whole "meant-to-imply-an-in-drawn-breath dept" was referring to.

Where did it say he bought all games available? As far as I can remember, he said he only bought 3 games: King Kong, Call of Duty 2, and Kameo. As well as a few of the Marketplace games.

When someone reviews something, they will do it with the best possible equipment. It isn't that much of a stretch to say that as a geek who reviews a lot of console games, he would have an HDTV.

Concerning the 'detailed math': He got it wrong at the first go.

On who posted it: Yes, Zonk wrote and submitted it. You can usually tell what parts are submitted by outside parties and which parts are added by the editors. The submitted parts are in italics.

In all fairness (4, Insightful)

argoff (142580) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311545)

This is entertainment, the people who were busted in LA for modding and copying XBOX stuff and are facing hard time, that is real life. IMHO, no amount of copying and moding over a game deserves hard time, there is a serious priority problem here, especially considering that it can be argued that they didn't do anything wrong at all. It's sorta hard to get in the spirit of new product launches with things like this going on.

Re:In all fairness (2, Informative)

wasexton (907707) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311780)

You are somewhat correct...and I would agree with you in saying that the modding of the boxes should not be illegal. However, they also put gigs of pirated games on the drive after modding and that makes it difficult for me to support their position.

Re:In all fairness (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311825)

"especially considering that it can be argued that they didn't do anything wrong at all."

I won't be losing any sleep over some idiots pirating 70 games at a time per console.

Re:In all fairness (2, Insightful)

2nd Post! (213333) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311826)

They arguably did do something wrong; whether the punishment was just is a different argument.

They copied 77 games onto harddrives; just because they didn't actually go into Target and take 77 cases from the shelves doesn't stop it from being some sort of theft.

Re:In all fairness (1)

LegendLength (231553) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311842)

IMHO, no amount of copying and moding over a game deserves hard time, there is a serious priority problem here, especially considering that it can be argued that they didn't do anything wrong at all.

Couldn't you make a similar argument about plain old fraud though? To me copying and selling a console or its software is effectively fraud.

Having said that I do not like the idea of jail for any non-violent crime whatsoever. Unfortunately, I would have trouble backing that up with a solid argument.

Console vs PC (0, Flamebait)

the computer guy nex (916959) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311565)

"Sounds like it's halfway decent compared to what i initially expected. It's still too expensive for me though. I'll buy it in a couple years when you can get them for 200 bucks... I'm not that into console gaming. I'd rather take a ride down to the range and shoot for REAL. (or boot up my PC and get better controls and better graphics that i don't have to sit on the couch to see)" I hope you aren't consistently upgrading your PC to meet the hardware demands of newer games.

You would be much better off buying a console like this. The 360, starting at 300$, will be more powerful than any 2000$ gaming PC can be for many years. The video card itself is mower powerful than anything on the PC market, plus each game utilizes all 3 3.2ghz processors.

Even if faster processors come out than these 3.2 ghz ones, no PC games ever use more than 1. You get so much power from these custom made 360 games targetting each processor core.

The 360 is an excellent system, and there is a reason why there were people waiting in line for 20 hours last Sunday a month after the actual launch.

Re:Console vs PC (1)

laffer1 (701823) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311711)

If it were really 300 hundred dollars, I'd have one now. If you consider the fact you would be a fool to buy the low end model, plus the cost of games, its quite expensive just for gaming. A 2000 dollar pc might not be as good as this unit now, but in 3 years it will be. I can use the 2000 dollar pc for other activities like software development, word processing, and it even allows me to use competing technologies and games. My pc can run iTunes, firefox, and run enemy territory.

You are correcct that the targeted smp support is very impressive. That is the key feature of the xbox 360 to me. However, with dual core cpus ending up in gamer's systems, we will see a change in this area. Blizzard, id, valve, and any other developer will need to support SMP in future engines to compete. This xbox might get us there sooner.

I don't think the video card is as good as you claim though. Microsoft bought it, so it must use current or soon to be current technologies.

Re:Console vs PC (3, Insightful)

Jarnis (266190) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311713)

Odd. My dual core is being used by at least half dozen games already. Say, City of Heroes for example.

And since all future big name title development will be based on capabilities of PS3 and/or Xbox360, its pretty easy to see the game engines being multithreaded. Multi core CPUs are 'free' extra performance as long as the engine is developed as multithreaded.

Consoles are fine for some game types, but as long as they don't have a keyboard (and good MMOs), there's always room for PCs. You also won't see complex strategy titles on consoles, and FPS without mouse aiming will just never work. Halo is just the exception that proves the point.

If I want to have a quick spin on arcade driving game, console is a great thing to have for that.

I'd never play a FPS or strategy game, or anything requiring typing on a console.

Different tool for a different job. Both have their place. However, if you can afford just one thing, PC is more of a multipurpose tool, and if you are going to buy a good PC for work/'production use', the required addon of a 300-400$ videocard on top of the otherwise pretty standard PC is no different than the price of a console system.

Disclaimer: I have one decked out game PC, one midrange game/utility PC, PS2 and half dozen older consoles. Never touched Xbox (not enough exclusive titles I couldn't play on PS2 or PC), undecided on XBox 360 and/or PS3 - I can wait until next autumn as Xbox360 currently has no must-have exclusive title. I can play CoD2 or King Kong also on my PC, and I like the 1600x1200 res better.

Re:Console vs PC (1)

Jarnis (266190) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311769)

Not to mention that PC CoD2 is over 20 euros cheaper than the overpriced XBox 360 version (I've seen PC version as low as 44.95 euros, while Xbox360 version suggested retail price is whopping 69.95 euros. Dunno if the 360 games are more sanely priced in the US. In europe they're 65-70 euros a pop - which in my humble opinion is beyond the pain threshold for most buyers)

I sincerely hope PS3 games won't be so horribly overpriced. 50 euros for normal title, 60 euros for exceptional uber hit is already pushing it, while every 360 title is over 60.

Re:Console vs PC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14311723)

Correct me if Im wrong but I thought I read somewhere that NONE of the launch titles for Xbox 360 were multi-threaded? I believe the upcoming ES4:Oblivion will be, though. But considering it will be released on PC at the same time, Id assume it will utilize multithreading on AMD X2s and 820d P4s.

Re:Console vs PC (3, Interesting)

garcia (6573) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311744)

The 360 is an excellent system, and there is a reason why there were people waiting in line for 20 hours last Sunday a month after the actual launch.

The system might be excellent but from what I've seen, the games that are *currently* out there just don't make it worthwhile to stand in line for hours on end (especially here in Minnesota where it's cold).

From what I have seen (based on the various displays in and around my home area), if it's not being displayed on a huge HD monitor, the graphics just aren't all that much different from what we've seen in the XBox 1 or the PS2. I personally don't know a single person with an HD monitor, nevermind one that's as large as those they display the 360 on in the stores. I know I will never have an HD monitor in my home so I'm not sure what benefit the 360 has for most people RIGHT now to stand in those long lines other than MS-funded and media-created hype.

Where others have gone before (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14311579)

Today I have for you a rundown on what it's like to go where others have gone before.

Was it good and how much did "it" cost?

All they asked for... (3, Insightful)

donnz (135658) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311591)

The setup wizard asked for little more than the time zone and my Passport account

I stopped reading (and purchasing) at this point...

Generic subject (2, Funny)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311599)

Kameo has gotten a lot of mixed reviews since the 360 launched, and with good reason. On one hand, it has beautiful cartoony graphics. The world evokes a sense of wonder, and the characters that inhabit the various realms are all kind of goofy-looking. On the other hand, it's a violent game with a decent amount of gore.

So where's the negative?

Visualizer (1)

IronChef (164482) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311639)

How is the music visualizer [llamasoft.co.uk] ?

I'm too lazy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14311645)

...to read the article. All I want to know is, did it score 8/10?

I keed, I keed...

Don't bother (0, Redundant)

dbucowboy (891058) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311681)

The 360 is nothing more than an Xbox that has been modded up to what the original Xbox should have been. Go ahead and waste your money on this piece if you want to, personally I'll wait for Google to release their game console next year. :)

Demand must be gone because I cant sell mine (1)

jaygatsby27 (894445) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311690)

I have a core system with a bunch of games and I can't sell it to save my life. The demand must have gone completely away.

Harry pottered (-1, Offtopic)

Himring (646324) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311707)

I took the liberty to "harry potter" a paragraph of this write-up (for those that don't know, "harry-pottered" is the art of replacing "wand" with "wang" in the books -- didn't do as well as harry potter, but, oh well):

Impressions of my second dildo:

While I don't feel the need to bore you with pictures of the packaging, the out-of-the-box experience is attractive and intuitive. It only took a few moments to set things up before I was working with the dildo . As per the copious recommendations across the internet, I made sure that the dildo was not on the carpet once it was in place. The bottom of the dildo has wire shelving, and the free flow of air around it has so far allowed the dildo to be glitch-free. It is, unfortunately, as large as everyone says it is. Pulling the massive thing out of the box, I had a flash of a bad bumper-sticker: "My second console is my dildo ." The dildo is surprisingly lengthy, with a nice long piece of it making the trip to my ass with more slack than the one I was using before . One important consideration: If you're fortunate enough to be using your dildo with a buttplug , make sure and flip the switch before you start it up . It's set by default to 'no buttplug', and if you want to experience the dildo right away with a buttplug you're going to want that switch flipped. With everything plugged in and set properly I hit the large central button on the dildo , and it whirred to life.

This was the stupidest thing I've done ... this afternoon....

Are you enjoying them on a free Samsung HDTV? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14311726)

Zonk, from what I can tell you never did acknowledge nor deny anything about getting a free HDTV from Microsoft when they gave them away [gamespot.com] to attendants [slashdot.org] at their 2005 Game Developer Conference keynotes.

How much was that poster paid ? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14311777)

Sure reads like a seeded post. I am sorry, but - - - just too 'Everything is GREAT !' to be true.

How did you take the screenshots? (1)

Caspian (99221) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311827)

(Or where did you steal them from?)

I guess we love Microsoft this week ... (0, Offtopic)

Buran (150348) | more than 8 years ago | (#14311839)

... so what's the deal with Sony and SCO at the moment?
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