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Xbox 360 Recap

EMorton
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Posted November 24, 2006 - By Eugene Morton


The Xbox 360 is all up in this bitch and it’s runnin’ sh-t!

It doesn't have any of the launch hype that the Wii and Playstation 3 are enjoying right now and I’m doubtful that anybody was ever shot while waiting in line for one, but it’s still a great system. This little recap will be a reminder to those who are already enjoying the console of what a great piece of hardware they have and a wakeup call to those who still haven’t gotten one. Listen up kids, even you hipsters who consider yourselves “in the know,” you just might learn something.


The Hardware:
Got a Playstation 3? Got a Wii? No? Well, unlike those other two consoles, you won’t have to wait for the 360. It’s been a round for a year and there are plenty available. All this time you’ve been lusting for unattainable cheerleaders and you’ve totally forgotten about the totally hot girl next door that’s had a crush on you for like a year. Wake up, stupid!

The HD-DVD player has landed. When you’re not enjoying some next gen graphics, enjoy the next gen video quality of HD-DVD. Put the controller down, pick up the remote up and get lost in picture quality that’s better looking than real life. Don’t think though, that the external player is only for 360 owners, PC users have reason to jump on the bandwagon as well. It may not be official, but guides are sprouting up on the internet that list the drivers necessary to make the drive compatible with Windows XP. If you have a free USB port and you’re running XP, you have the power to use the HD-DVD player on your PC. Just think, HD for the low, low retail price of $199.99. 
 
The Games:
Whether you want to Wage a Mob War in Liberty City, represent Grove Street or call the shots in Vice City, you’ll be able to do it right out of the gate with the next generation of Xbox hardware. I’m talking about exclusivity and the fact that it’s going away! Grand Theft Auto 4 is coming to the 360 the day it’s released as is Assassin’s Creed. These games were both Sony exclusives (or were supposed to be) for a long time, but no more. Thanks to some… missteps let’s call them, on Sony’s part, they’ve lost exclusivity agreements with some of the best game developers out there and Microsoft was quick to pounce. In addition, next gen games are expensive to develop for and it just doesn’t make sense to spend untold millions to develop for one platform. If it doesn’t make sense then it won’t make dollars. You can bet your swank Mario T-Shirt, your oh-so-soft Crash Bandicoot Plush Doll or your gnarly Halo action figures that the bulk of next gen games are going to come to all three, or at least two (and you know the two I mean) consoles.

Gears of War, the so called Halo killer (though I don’t know why they can’t just coexist peacefully-- many gamers enjoy them both thoroughly) has officially sold one million copies! That’s platinum baby, just like in the mouth of you’re Saint’s Row avatar (okay, last time I checked platinum grills weren’t an available in the Funky Fresh pack, but that’s not a bad idea, ‘eh THQ and Volition?). Pick that mofo up if you haven’t already and get to dicing up some locusts Texas Chainsaw Massacre style.

In the end, you’re impression of a system has to do with the quality of your gaming experience and here, if nowhere else, is where the next gen Xbox holds sway. Quite frankly, I loved my PS2. You might even say I was a PS2 fan boy (I didn’t own an original Xbox), but somewhere along the way things got really out of hand, quality-wise. I got fed up and disgusted seeing and playing games for the PS2 that slobbed more balls than that ball washer over on the fifteenth hole of the Pebble Beach Golf Links. Microsoft doesn’t have the same problem. Just before the system launched, when I started hearing stuff about a commitment to truly quality games, I couldn’t help but grimace. I just knew that it was more of the company line, more of the same untrue crap I’ve heard from game makers since I was a kid. However, we’re a year in, they’ve really lived up to a high standard and it looks like they’ll continue to do so on into ’07. 360 owners have so many killer apps like Crackdown, Alan Wake and Kane and Lynch: Dead Men to look forward to.

The Graphics:
Between the two graphics powerhouses, the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, the Xbox is currently winning the graphics war. I’ll cut Sony a break. They’re on their first generation of games (which don’t look that much more impressive than some of the better looking Playstation 2 games), but there was so much hype claiming that the PS3 would blow away the competition graphics wise that its hard not to feel totally underwhelmed by Sony’s current offering. Furthermore, if you take a game like Tony Hawk’s Project 8 and juxtapose both versions, the Xbox 360 version is just plain better. It’s got better controls, online play and is just better looking.

The Online Factor:
Admittedly, the Wii’s virtual console is great and having the chance to download and play some of the games, like Super Mario Bros., that made me fall in love with gaming in the first place gives me a warm sense of nostalgia, but not every game from every Nintendo system is available yet. Realistically, it’ll probably take some time before you get to play classics like, oh, I don’t know, Ducktales from the first NES! That’s Nintendo: Sony wishes it had as good an online scheme going. Sure there are a few downloadable demos, but there isn’t really much there, at least not yet. Honestly, the 360 has the richest offering, including Xbox Live Arcade (where you can download arcade classics), the ability to do online multiplayer and tons of other available content including videos, demos and trailers… and it just keeps getting better. The people at Microsoft really aren’t content to rest on their laurels and the gamers are reaping the benefit.

“You’ve got your console on my TV!” ‘No, you’ve got your TV in my console!’ Everybody likes TV and if you don’t then burn in the darkest level of Hades you son of goat whore, but now you can enjoy great TV and Movies (in standard and HD formats) on that wonderful, miracle machine known as the Xbox 360! Today, right now you can log on to the Xbox Live Marketplace and start downloading great shows like South Park. Go, do it!

If you've got the Xbox 360 the world is your oyster, if not, go get one!

Xbox 360 Recap
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