X-Box 360 Review

X-Box One has been out for a year, therefor it is the perfect time for an X-Box 360 Review! Actually, I had never bought one before. I firmly believe that if I want a console, I would like to play games that aren’t better on the PC, and really the 360 has very few games that aren’t available on PC so I never really cared. I have more want for the PS3 and honestly was close to getting one but the price dropped low enough on the 360 that I finally caved and got it.

With that I wanted to share my thoughts on the console…

First, the Operating System. Windows 8 works extremely well on the TV. I have always felt that the OS was best suited for Media Centers and Tablets and seeing it in action on the 360 just furthers that belief. The problem is that it is an extremely limited version of the operating system, and not unexpectedly so. You can’t move things around, when you pin an item, it doesn’t go on your homescreen, instead it goes into a pin section which might as well be renamed favorites. I have also found it is very cumbersome to pin something as well. For instance, I go to videos and to the Twitch icon, and there is no place to pin it from there. Instead, I have to go to recently viewed and then pin it there.  How backwards is that? The real problem though is the rampant advertising. Every screen  has crap  tons of advertising. I would say 80% of the screen at any given time is an ad. there are about 6 screens  with between two and three actual apps and 6-8 advertisements on each screen. Realistically, you probably only needed two screens… Apps and Settings. And then gotten rid of the rest. This made me curious, am I spoiled coming from Nintendo which had a fairly customizable and ad-free operating system? So I checked out screens of the PS3’s menus… and they were ad-free too. Must be an American thing that says the product you own must be filled with ads… the gall that Microsoft also charges for their online service with all these ads is amazing.

I will say that the Xbox 360 has a good variety of apps available. Way more than Nintendo has on their system. The best example I have is Twitch, which isn’t on Nintendo platforms, but they also have apps for SyFy Network, CW, ESPN, and a bunch of other channels I have no interest in.

As a side note, I thought I’d talk about Microsoft’s Avatars… clearly a rip off of Nintendo’s Miis. They are somewhat cute though not nearly as iconic as what Nintendo did. I do like that you can change your clothes and pay for new outfits. As money grubbing as it is,  it is a feature I actually wish Nintendo had instituted with the Wii U. Even something like allowing Mii outfit changes thanks to amiibos would be appreicated but I don’t think will happen. Microsoft’s Avatars aren’t very widely used and are far more gimmick than it was on Nintendo’s platform though. Even though they offer more options, I’m far less likely to PAY for said options due to the lack of use. Ironically, I always felt Nintendo’s Miis were underused, but they are still actually used unlike Microsoft’s.

Anyway who cares about that? I got the newer X-Box One themed version of the system and I do really like  the new design. I think it is a much more sleek design than the older 360s. I think Microsoft did well on this design both for the 360 as well as the Xboned. I was hoping that the system was quieter than earlier versions, and the sad thing is that I think it is. But it is still a much noisier system than the Wii, the Wii U, or my PC. Microsoft has seemingly no understanding that this thing is in the living room. I did get the 4GB version of the system and bought a 500GB HD on the side. I do think the mechanism of installing the HD was super easy and pretty nice but the $40 I paid for it seemed a tad overpriced, usually  they run for $100… considering you can generally  get 2TB at $100 now adays… completely outrageous prices. If you are in the market for an HD, make sure to shop around!

I bought 7 games with the system and had 1 other game previously. The games I bought were SSX, Kameo, Diablo 3  Ultimate Evil Edition, Dark Souls, Enslaved, and Blue Dragon. The game I already owned was Lost Odyssey. I’ve played at least a little of most of them and the graphics are fine. Overall a bit worse than the Wii U generally can pull even in its first year titles and a bit better than the Wii could pull even in its end times. While loading the game initially is loud, the system does quiet down while playing. I heard a lot of Microsoft’s achievement system, and I do like the basis of it. But I kept getting achievements and I had no idea why… unlock a character in SSX that is rather cheap? Achievement! Ok that’s silly. I still like it as a concept though and I had heard that the system became abused by developers which seems to be true.

I will admit that one problem that i had getting into the X-Box 360 and why I was leaning towards PS3 was the severe lack of exclusive titles. I’ve been setting my sights on mostly the exclusives and already feel like I have many of them with games like Blue Dragon, Lost Odyssey and Kameo. Gears of War series, Fable series, Viva Pinata, and Banjo Kazooie are on my radar as well. But outside of that I really don’t know where to go for exclusives, most everything seems to be elsewhere. The next thing I’ve been looking at is what games are better on the 360 and the PS3? This is a good question. I feel like it is a difficult one to get good answers on because opinion is fairly subjective. I have been using Eurogamer as my source of comparisons and that put SSX and Dragon’s Dogma and a couple other games on my radar.

The X-box controller is essentially an evolution of the Gamecube controller. It has an offset right stick with buttons taking prime real estate instead. The buttons are backwards (XYAB instead of YXBA) and this is offputting for someone who is a long time Nintendo player and got used to the standard that was set decades ago. I also dislike the little dots they put on the stick pads. After a good half hour of play my thumbs begin to hurt just because they are rubbing up against those. I’ve never been a fan of the  external batteries, I know Microsoft initially used it as a good thing, but I think it makes the controller wonky. I like the feel of the lower two triggers, though I still miss the click of the gamecube at the end of the trigger pull.  I like the layout overall, but honestly neither layout really bothers me (the other being the classic PS layout of sticks taking the same position on both sides that Nintendo has now followed suit with).

I haven’t gotten the Kinect yet and still debating whether I will. I probably will just for collector’s aspect. But realistically, the best thing Microsoft put out for it in its 3 or 4 years of existence was a dancing mini-game that was part of a star wars game. Microsoft never knew what to do with the thing and then they wondered why no one wanted it on the xboned. Well to my knowledge they still haven’t found a use for it on the xboned,  in fact not even sure if there is a game out there that actually utilizes it outside of standard voice commands. As much grief as people give Nintendo for the Wii Remote and the Gamepad being gimmicks (and the gamepad so far I can’t disagree with), the Kinect is the definition of a gimmick.

Overall, for what I paid it wasn’t a terrible buy. Out of the 3 Microsoft consoles to date, the 360 is the only one I have any interest in as a collector. I am glad I got it for that purpose.