Thursday, June 08, 2006


Xbox 360 First Impressions

I got my free Xbox 360 from GoGamer.Com last night. Xbox Live is awesome now. I didn’t have any games for it yet, but that didn’t matter because there was a ton of stuff to download and try via Xbox Live Arcade Marketplace. They had free demos of games, and they also had some cool arcade style games you could try for free or if you want to buy them you can just download the full game. Almost all the arcade games support multiplayer over Live. Live Arcade has classics like Joust, or Gauntlet, and newer puzzle-style games, and also a really cool shooter similar to Robotron 2089 called Geometry Wars.

I also had a buddy with a 360 that I hooked up with. The chat is awesome, you can sit there voice chatting with your buddy while playing games or just browsing the menus. You can also be downloading stuff while playing games (as long as they aren’t multiplayer online games otherwise it’s too laggy). It’s got a really slick interface and was a joy to use. You can even power on and power off the 360 using the wireless controller. The headset plugs right into your wireless controller, so you can talk and hear your buddy via the headset while playing. The only downside to the chat is that out-of-game chatting only works with one person at a time, you can’t set up like a group meeting room with all your friends chatting at once while doing different things. If you’re all in the same game then you can hear each other, but the system-wide chat is limited to one at a time. Hopefully they will improve this.

I should be getting some games this weekend, I made a deal with a guy to buy his Perfect Dark Zero and Kameo for $60. The post office tried to deliver yesterday but I guess they wanted a signature and we weren’t home. I might not get them until I can go up there Saturday. I played some of the demo for Tomb Raider Legends and it looked great, but my friend Ryan said it was really short, he spent like 10 hours to play everything and get all the points. I might end up renting that one.

Oh yeah, that reminds me… Gamer Points! You get a gamer profile on Xbox Live now that tracks your reputation and your gamer points. Each game you play you can win different “Achievements” that go on your profile record, and you can earn up to 1000 points per game. Some games make it hard to earn all the points, and some make it easier, it’s completely up to the game publishers, they can award up to 1000 points for their game, and they get to decide how to award the points to the players. But for example, I got 25 points by unlocking 3 achievements last night in the free game that comes with the 360 (a puzzle game, similar to Columns). You can view your friend’s achievements and see what games they’ve played. It’s pretty cool. The points aren’t really good for anything other than bragging rights, but it’s still kind of neat. Ryan had like 13,000 points or so. He plays a lot.

The reputation thing I think is some kind of tracker to help you weed out the idiots. I think if someone rates you as an idiot it lowers your rating and if they rate you as cool it raises it.

I’d say the 360 is a vast improvement over the original Xbox. Now if they can just come out with some great games that aren’t on the PC I’d be really happy. A lot of the games for it have PC versions, and generally I’ll take PC over console because my gaming PC is usually nicer than playing on console (although I was pretty impressed with how good the 360 looked at 720p HD). Two of the 360’s best games I already have on the PC (Call of Duty 2 and The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion). Looking forward to Gears of War later this year, that one looked great on the E3 coverage.

I’ll post more info later, when I have played some actual full retail games on it.

BTW, is giving away 4 more Xbox 360's in the month of June, so be sure and read the official rules about how to play!

If you have a 360 then look for "virtuadept" on Xbox Live!

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