Tuesday, March 14, 2006

A 3 month look at XBOX 360. Should you get one?

Xbox 360 has been really great for me so far and this month has made it even better.

Current games I own:
* Ghost Recon Advance Warfighter
Burnout Revenge
* Fight Night Round 3
Need for Speed Most Wanted
King Kong
Call of Duty 2
Dead or Alive 4
* Kameo
Ridge Racer 6
* Condemned
* Project Gotham Racing 3
* Perfect Dark Zero

* = finished single player

You know I've always considered myself primarily a PC gamer in the past. I pretty much buy all the consoles and loads of games but I always find myself coming back to the PC after a month or so with a new console. I only play the AAA titles that really interest me and then I'm usually right back on the computer for the majority of my gaming. I'm a big fan of FPS and I do prefer the mouse/keyboard control.

Having said that I think I've gamed on the PC all of about 1 hr total since I got my X360 back in December. Now granted that is partly due to the fact there hasn't been any killer PC titles released recently that interest me. The X360 has been getting some very top grade titles especially recently.

Don't let the Internet hype on faulty machines, etc scare you. It is all very greatly exaggerated. Just use common sense. Keep it in a well ventilated area (including power supply), don't move the console while a disc is spinning, etc. I personally know two other people who also have no issues at all (my other friends are still having issues finding the premium pack). Early lock up problems like viewing the gamer card in pgr3 while online were dashboard related bugs which have been now patched. The system isn't perfect but I wouldn't call it glitchy either. As far as fan noise goes I guess it is louder than current gen but I can't tell. I've got three 24/7 computers in the same room so I can't hear it over the pc's anyways :-)

I built my a64 with ati x800xl not 10 months ago (for quite a bit more cash too) and already my x360 looks better and plays at a better frame rate at an equivalent resolution than my pc.

I think the other big factor for me is getting that 40" LCD HDTV. Don't under estimate the impact of gaming at 1280X720 with 40" widescreen with a nice dd5.1 sound system. Trust me, it's hard to go back to even our nice 20" dell 2001fp. It makes a bigger difference than you think.

I've really enjoyed the games so far and the quality just keeps getting better with recent releases like fight night round 3, graw, burnout revenge, and very soon Oblivion and far cry (must buy!). further out you've got Gears of war! Then you also have the incredible live integration, live arcade (geowars! and sf2 and Texas holdem poker soon), playable demos (I would not have considered buying FNR3 if it wasn't for the excellent demo), and those darn addictive achievements/gamer score.

Also, don't forget the great media capabilities like streaming music and photos. Add HD video to the list if you've got a MCE PC. The x360 has become my center piece for providing hdtv content to my HDTV: games, dvd progressive scan movies, local broadcast HDTV tv shows recorded on my MCE and streamed over my network to the x360, and HD WMV files like the entire terminator 2 movie (only $10 at DeepDiscountDVD).

For me the decision was simple. I pretty much buy all the consoles. Now if you only plan to get one next gen console then the decision gets tougher. I would wait at least until march 15 when sony is suppose to make some big ps3 announcements. If the ps3 gets pushed back to xmas or even next year then I see no reason to wait. Get the x360 now. Enjoy nextgen gaming now because make no mistake it has arrived. By next year you will probably have the budget to get the ps3. Besides you can justify it by saying it's a "cheap" blu ray movie player oh and it also plays games :-)
If the ps3 is still going to hit the spring date (even if it is only in japan) then I would wait. At least you'll have a lot more hard facts to compare the two consoles and make a more informed decision.

So far I've felt it's been worth the $400. Also, check frys ad often (wed, fri)! You can almost get every major x360 release for $45-50. I got FNR3, GRAW and burnout revenge for $48 each. The Outfit which comes out this week is onsale for $50. You can even just buy it at best buy (which gets it a day earlier than frys usually) and just bring in the ad to price match. Gamestop sometimes runs a buy 2 get 1 free on used games. Also, check out gamefly.com for more used x360 games.

If you can't afford an HDTV and the x360 you might want to wait a bit. I finished a few games on the x360 before I got my hdtv and it looked and played great. But when I got the hdtv I felt like I got a new console all over again.

I highly recommend the X360 (premium only, tard pack is a rip off).

UPDATE: 3/15/06
Sony has just announched that they are delaying the ps3 world wide launch until november so might as well go pick up a X360 now.

- PS3 delayed until nov
- global launch in nov. only 1 million units and another million in the following month. SHORTAGES!
- lots of psp integration stuff, psone emulator on psp - you download and play the games off of memory stick
- full backwards compatibility with ps1 and ps2 and upscale to HD
- lol final dev kits aren't even out yet (not until june). Spring release HAH!
- PlayStation Network Platform - live like service. basic (can you say silver) service is free.
- 60 gb hd required, linux

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