The Xbox 360 (sometimes shortened to X360) has been praised all around, and not without fault; put simply, it’s a great machine.
The Xbox 360 has great graphical capability, processing power, and quite the fan base. Being owned and manufactured by Microsoft, it may be the best funded next-gen system, in the PR department (advertisements and the like).
When the Xbox (original) was first released, many consumers were skeptical, seeing as it was made by a computer company, and people just tended to separate computers from video game consoles on a large scale. Since then, the trust in Microsoft to create a genuinely great console has undoubtedly expanded.
The Xbox 360 has made people take a second look at what a good gaming experience is. With the blade user interface (soon to be replaced with a more user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing and functional dashboard), there is so much that you can do, and also so much that Microsoft’s Xbox team can do, in adding to it and expanding on what they have. But this is just the tip of the iceberg… Look further into the system and you’ll find some things that were never even considered to be included in a gaming console before – Things other than games.
With the Xbox Live Marketplace, you can download movies (rental or purchase), TV shows, themes for your dashboard, icons for your gamercard, and even games (this is including original Xbox games that you can fully download to your console and “Xbox Live Arcade” games which are cheap little games that can keep you occupied for some time, and they’re also integrated into the whole user experience, with achievements and the like). This really adds onto the entire entertainment experience, making your gaming console for more than just gaming. Plus, you can buy a pretty large hard drive for your console to store all that extra media. Oh, and the demos… You know how you walk into your local game store, hop onto a console, and play a demo of a game? Well, you can download all those demos for free in the Xbox Live Marketplace, as well. This is one of my favourite features, seeing as it really opens you up to new games, and some of the demos can be played over and over again for a free, fun gaming experience.
The Xbox 360 is mostly praised for it’s wide selection of games. I can’t find a way to confirm this, but to me, it does seem true. The selection is very wide, and a lot of the games are “Only On Xbox 360” games, which plays a large role in the sales of the console itself.
With the Xbox 360, you’ll find games of all genres in good numbers, to please gamers of casual status to gamers of hardcore status (self-endowed, most likely). When it comes to game availability and genre coverage, this seems to be the champion, retaining consistent third-party support.
The console itself is competently stylish. It’s easy on the eyes, but not anything to gawk at.
The layout of the buttons and inputs on the front of the console is very efficient and ergonomic, which is very important, and while I wouldn’t shake a finger at how the back of the console is designed, it’s nothing special (not a knock at the console, though; there’s not much room for intuitive design here, nor does it really effect the console at all).
The games all support 1080p, which is fantastic. So, if you’ve got a spectacular TV, you won’t be disappointed with the way your games look while you play them… Believe me, you’ll actually be pretty consumed. Even with a standard TV, the games still look amazing, and you’ll appreciate little details that some game developers pay mind to.
When it comes to price, the Xbox 360 goes across the scale. (Please note – The following figures are based on the time of writing. There is a good chance that they will change in the near future.) You can find refurbished or used consoles as low as $150, a new console with no hard drive for $200, a console with a 60GB hard drive for $300, or the Xbox 360 Elite (black finish with a 120GB hard drive) for $400. It really all depends on how much you want to spend… Or even what you feel is necessary. If you like the convenience of the 120GB hard drive, but prefer the white finish on the console (as I do), then you can just go for one of the choices other than Elite and purchase the hard drive separately.
The peripherals for this console are great, giving you options such as a steering wheel, wired/wireless controllers (also compatible as PC gamepads, with adapter for wireless, which is very cool if you’re a PC gamer as well as a console gamer), wired/wireless headsets, and so on. You’ll find the way you like to play. Since I’ve gotten my 360, I personally dislike playing with a wired controller on it. The wireless controller gives you so much freedom and ease of use… It’s very nice. Although, there is the fact that you have to change batteries (although the rechargeable battery pack for the controller will fix this right on up, for a price).
The gameplay is generally very smooth. I’ve only ran into the game freezing a few times, and clearing the cache of the console fixed that up each time, so it’s really not much of an issue.
Of course, there are instances where you’ll be playing a game, move to a new area, and it will take a few seconds for the textures to load, which can really be a pain and seem to slow things down, but it’s a small price to pay.
All-in-all, the Xbox 360 is a fantastic choice for most gamers… Of course, it appeals more to hardcore gamers, but there are selections for those who choose not to participate in games that require constant attention and very quick jabs of the thumbs on the analog sticks.
* Console Power & Functionality: 9/10
* Console Game Variety, Game Quality & Game Prices: 9/10
* Console Additional Features: 8/10
* Console Aesthetics: 7/10
* Console Price/Value: 9/10
* Total Score: 84%