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Posted by moonhead on Nov 21, 2007
Festive Console Buyers Round Up Part 1 The Xbox 360

Festive Console Buyers Round Up Part 1 The Xbox 360

Seeing as Christmas is almost upon us we here at Game4Anything thought it might be nice to do a round up of all the home consoles available and try help match you up with your ideal machine.

With the number of consoles now on the market it is not always a clear cut choice about which one to buy and never has the phrase “horses for courses” been more apt. We will round up each machine and point out the pros and cons and list a few must have games for each machine we shall start with the Xbox 360.

 

Microsoft’s beige box is the oldest of the now current generation of consoles. In the 2 years of its short life it has already evolved quite a bit, to the extent that it now comes in nearly as many flavours as a Chupa Chups lolly. There are now 3 different versions of the same machine, you have the Elite, Xbox 360 Premium and Xbox 360 Arcade. First up is what was originally called the “Premium” edition and is now just called the Xbox 360 console. It comes with a component A/V cable 20gb hard drive and wireless pad. The RRP for this version of the machine is £249.99 and is for all types of gamer and if you are seriously looking to buy the Xbox 360 this would be the version we would advise you to buy as it offers the full Xbox feature set.

 

Next up is the Elite, the high end version of the machine. You can have any colour you like as long as its matt black! Along with a matching set of black accessories. The big difference in this pack is the 120gb hard drive and the HDMI out and included cable (all recently manufactured machines now come HDMI enabled although without the requisite cable). The RRP for the Elite is £299.99 and is for the keen gamer with a bit of extra cash in his or her pocket and a good “Hi Def” set up. We would only advise this version for those that can afford it as there is no difference in the machines performance and you will really only need the extra hard disk space if you plan to make use of the Video Market Place for movie and tv downloads and the forthcoming IPTV service when Europe finally get either service.

 

Bringing up the rear is the Xbox 360 Arcade package. This version of the machine comes in the standard beige colour and is the replacement for the original core edition. This is the budget version of the machine and comes without a hard drive. It does however come with a wireless pad (gone are the wired pads from the Core system!) and 256mb memory card containing 5 popular Live Arcade games. This machine really is only aimed at casual gamers and those working on a budget. As it comes without the hard disk it does suffer slightly as some games available will not work without one. The RRP for this version of the machine is only £199.99.

So now we come to the pros and cons of the machine, let’s begin with the pros. First up is the number of games out for the console. As it has had a whole years head start over its competitors it has a vast catalogue of games available. Not only does it have plenty of titles out there but a large chunk of them are of high quality. Also the line up of games for this years festive season is probably the strongest for any console, ever.

Secondly no other console does on-line like the Xbox 360. Xbox Live is now 5 years old and it would seem that its competitors just cannot match it. With extra stuff like Gamerscore (achievement points), Live Market Place and video chat you have a on-line service that is truly in a league of its own. I know some people moan and groan you have to pay for it but it is only £39.99 a year (cheaper if you shop around). Which works out at about £3.30 a month and for that you generally get a free headset too!

Thirdly we have Live Arcade which is part of the on-line service but deserves a special mention all of its own. This service allows you to download all manner of casual and retro games that cost between £4.00 – £7.50. There is a huge range of titles available and there is more added on a weekly basis. These range from old arcade classics like Centipede and Pacman; to Retro games like Speedball 2 and Street Fighter 2 Turbo and even original titles like the most excellent Cloning Clyde and Geometry Wars Evolved. Most of the updated games have had a lick of paint to give them the Hi-Def treatment!

Once you add onto this list of already impressive features high definition gaming up to 1080p (Providing you have a high definition capable TV), true Dolby™ 5.1 surround sound and the superbly designed wireless pad and you have a console full of boundless gaming possibilities. As many would say, the gamers machine of choice.

Now for the cons, the Xbox 360 itself is not the most reliable games console ever built (this is possibly the biggest understatement ever written). The three red lights of death are a regular occurrence for most Xbox 360 gamers with a reported 33% failure rate. Microsoft, to their credit, have admitted the problem and have extended the machines warranty to 3 years for those consoles that die of the three red lights of death. They are also constantly at work restructuring and refining the manufacturing of the console and newer machines are reportedly more reliable, having replaced the cooling system making the machines not only more durable but also quieter. Second up is cost, the increased cost of gaming. These new bread of machines have upped the development costs significantly. Triple AAA titles on the last generation of consoles used to have a team of say 10 – 50 staff working on them on, this generation you are talking about 100+ people working on one game. These additional costs are obviously passed over onto us and in the main, games are costing up to £10 more than last generations games.

Thirdly, we have Microsoft’s decision to stick with a standard DVD drive over a Blu-Ray or HD DVD drive. This was done to keep costs down and has not caused any problems to date I just fear that as time wears on and games get bigger that MS and ultimately us the gamer may live to regret the decision. There have already been rumblings from a couple of developers voicing concerns over the capacity of standard DVD’s but we will just have to hope that compression gets better. You can buy a HD DVD add on for the Xbox 360 which retails at around £114.99 but this is for movie play back only, although there are also rumours of a new machine with HD DVD built in.

10 Of The Best Xbox 360 Games

1. Halo 3 – The Halo franchise is synonymous with the Xbox and all 3 games have been of the highest quality with number 3 being the pick of the bunch. You can read our very own Drew’s review right here if you want to find out more.

2. Oblivion – This free roaming RPG is still one of the best games to be found on the 360 or anywhere for that matter. Boasting one of the largest game worlds ever to be committed to disk and is a game of unparalleled scope and vision. Without a doubt the 360’s premier RPG

3. Gears Of War – This is the game that showed the world what the Xbox 360 could do graphically and still is one of the best looking games to be found on the machine. This story led co-op third person shooter is still one of the top games to be found on the beige box.

4. Bioshock – This game is the best story led FPS to be found anywhere on any machine. Full of invention and wonder this game is a stunner from the Art Deco underwater setting to the gene bending story, this really is gaming at its best. You can read our very own Drew’s review right here.

5. Project Gotham Racing 4 – Again the Gotham series is synonymous with the Xbox name and a sure fire sign of quality. Number 4 in the series does not disappoint adding bikes to the mix of street racing around real world city settings. Its blend of simulation and arcade handling make this a game for both serious petrol heads and newcomers alike.

6. Crackdown – This free roaming sandbox game is an absolute corker. Loads of people purchased this game just for the free pass key to the Halo 3 beta test earlier this year only to find out that they had also bought one of the best sandbox style of games ever made. You are a cybernetically enhanced cop tasked with cleaning up the streets. As you progress you get faster and stronger until by the end of the game you can jump 70 foot buildings and pick up and throw huge lorries. Brilliant.

7. Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 – The king of footy sims is back on the 360. This is the first version made for the next generation of consoles from the ground and up all that was missing from PES 6 is back. If you want to find out more you can read my review right here.

8. Virtua Tennis 3 – This is the best tennis game ever made; stunning to look at, easy to play and difficult to master. Sega’s game was the first on the Xbox 360 to play in full HD 1080p and it looks glorious. Thankfully it plays as well as it looks with a ton of fun tennis based mini games this is one of Xbox’s premier sports sims.

9. The Orange Box – This bumper pack of gaming goodness contains five quality games. They are Half Life 2, Half life 2 Episodes 1 and 2, Portal and Team Fortress 2. All 5 games are of the highest quality but for me Portal is the star of the show with its gravity defying puzzles. You can read my review of the Orange Box right here.

10. Call Of Duty 4 Modern Combat – The best example of a modern warfare FPS ever made. This game is an explosive thrill ride that does not let up from beginning to end. And another example of why the the Xbox 360 is the home of the quality FPS. If you want to find out more you can read my review right here.

Can I just finish this games list by saying before any one starts moaning this is not my top 10 list for the Xbox 360 but a list to try and show the variety and quality of games available. If you want to list your top 10 games for the machine do so as a comment below.

 

 

So to finish off the Xbox 360 is a well rounded machine with plenty of games, the best on-line service and has shown good solid sales so will be around for a little while longer yet. If you are a serious heavy duty mature gamer the Xbox 360 should be your machine of choice but if you are none of these you could still not go far wrong in buying this machine as it covers all bases in the variety games available for it.

Happy Christmas Shopping

Moonhead

 

 

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One Response to “Festive Console Buyers Round Up Part 1 The Xbox 360”

  1. ptz camera says:

    Great site, though I would love to see some more media! – Great post anyway, Cheers!

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