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Author Topic: Xbox 360 - First Impressions (It's Out)  (Read 1628 times)
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Hetz
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« on: November 14, 2005, 09:38:34 PM »

Got this from another forum. Lots of people have the system today:

I was lucky enough to win a Xbox 360 from the Pepsi/Doritos BeFirstToPlay contest in Canada. It just arrived today, 8 days ahead of launch date. And it came with Kameo!

First impressions: Holy. Friggin'. Crap.

Now that I have had some time to play with it on my projector at 90 inches with 5.1 sound, here are some impresions.

The Package and Hardware

The box is smaller than I thought it would be, but it's quite heavy. It's sturdy and everything is packed well. Half of it is the console tucked in nice and snug (hard drive is already attached), and the other half is all of the accessories individually bubble wrapped.

There's a quick start guide, warranty form, and two sets of AA batteries included as well (for the media remote and wireless controller).

The power supply (brick) I am sure you have all seen by now. It's rated at 203 watts according to the back, so that explains its size. The Xbox 360 sucks up a lot of juice to provide all that horsepower! The cords are thick and well shielded. Nothing feels cheap. The Component and A/V cable is also of high build quality. There is a switch on the connector to select TV or HDTV. TV defaults to 480i and 4:3 fullscreen ratio and HDTV defaults to 480p.

The controller feels similar to the S controller but it has been improved. I'd say it's virtually flawless and it should work well for both large and small hands. I have big ones and nothing felt strained. The rumble seems SLIGHTLY less powerful than the corded Xbox S controller. This must be because of it running on batteries and wanting to conserve power. It still does its job though.

Media remote is nice, didn't get much of a chance to play with it yet but it feels solid.

Headset is similar to the original XBL headset, just white. smile

Lastly, the console itself runs QUIET!! I can't even hear it from where I am sitting (about 10-12 feet away)

Hard Drive Content

There are a few high definition videos on the hard drive. One on the making of Xbox, a Warren Miller one, and a Titanic one. I only watched a few seconds of each so I can't comment on the content but the quality was great.

Hexic HD is the XBL Arcade game included. There is also 12 songs on the hard drive to get you started. Standard pop music really. Nothing too bad though, at least its not as bad as "EA Trax."

No Halo 3 trailer, sorry guys. slywink

The Dashboard

Sleek and sexy as we have all seen in the pictures. I don't really need to go into this that much. You use left and right on the left thumbstick to switch blades. The audio that accompanies all the interface movements is nice and not too overpowering. After playing around with it for 5 minutes it all felt natural and intuitive. I must say it's pretty handy being able to touch the Xbox Guide button no matter what you are doing and get instant access to your dashboard again.

Xbox Live

I wasn't able to sign in with my existing Xbox Live account. When I enter my passport information it says sign-ups are not available at this time. I am connecting to the service though, as it downloaded an update before I did anything. I am hearing other Pepsi winners are having the same issue. Must not be up and running this early (still 8 days before launch). I called Xbox Live Support and his best guess was that it would be up and running in time for Zero Hour on the 20th.

Arcade Games

I spent maybe 2 minutes with the included Hexic HD game, there were more pressing matters to attend to. It looks kind of like Tetris. Not really my thing...I am waiting for the classic arcade games.

Neon, the music visualizer

Then I fired it up and was blown away. I can't state this enough: The music visualizer is FREAKING AMAZING. You have no idea what you are in for! I spent a full half-hour just going through my music and being amazed by the visuals. Screenshots, or even the videos on the official Neon site do it no justice. It reacts to the music so well its scary, and you can influence it with your controllers analog sticks. Using the D-pad switches the different visualizers. This would be the ultimate thing to have playing at a party while the music is going. It's hypnotic. Sorry, no pics. My digicam just isn't good at taking them from a projector because I have to leave the shutter open for so long. It just ends up blurry even with a tripod.

I don't have Windows Media Center so I can't test the video streaming. The photos feature I haven't even touched yet.

Backwards compatibility

Since I cannot yet connect to Xbox Live, the only games I could test were Halo and Halo 2 as they are the only ones that are B.C. out of the box. I have also read that this is an old B.C. build for Halo and Halo 2 and once you get on Live you can download the new one.

B.C. games work like any other. Just pop them in and they run after being proceeded by a white Xbox screen to denote that it's an original Xbox game.

Yes, the games run in 720p, and YES they look a lot better than the originals on a HDTV. This build didn't seem to have anti-aliasing enabled but I am confident the downloadable one will have it (says so in Microsoft's site anyway). The frame rate was smoother than the original Xbox for both games. Playing these games in 720p is a real treat and it improves the visual quality quite a bit. It looks nothing like the screenshots on Bungie's site... it's much, much better. I am going to revisit the Halo:CE campaign soon because of this. The controls feel identical. Only difference is that the white and black buttons get mapped to the two new shoulder buttons.

I played the first level on both Halo and Halo 2 and found no issues whatsoever.

Kameo: Elements of Power

So after I went through all the "boring" stuff, I sat down and popped Kameo in. This would be the first time I would see a 360 game in action. I avoided the Kiosks as I wanted to be a Xbox 360 virgin when I got my own.

Holy. Mother. Of. God.

This is the best looking game my eyes have seen. Period. End of story. There is no way you can claim this game isn't next-gen. It is. It ran smooth as butter in 720p and there wasn't a single jaggy that I could find. Hello anti-aliasing! The textures are ultra high res, the various normal mapping, bump mapping, parallax mapping, etc. makes it all come to life. Character models are highly detailed. The environment are gorgeous, both up close and far away. It's just a delight to look at.

I am sorry I can't provide any pics. You can't freeze the game, so stuff is constantly moving and it just blurs when the shutter is open for so long.

Anyway, let me talk about the gameplay for a bit. It's heavenly. You start out with 4 warriors: Kameo, Major Ruin, Chilla and Pummel Weed. Each of them has two main abilities and several special abilities and these all can be used in combos across multiple warriors. The gameplay is simple and intuitive in its roots...you find your fingers doing all the work without even thinking, but below this lies a great deal of depth.

This is what sets Kameo apart from other "similar" games I have played. It's easy to play, FUN to play, but it takes great skill to be a true master at it.

On the first level, there are tips scattered throughout that you can walk onto and press A to read them. As you go on it teaches you more special moves and combos you can do. For example, in one area you need to use Chilla and Pummel Weed to get past a gate. Chilla throws a spear to open the gate slightly just giving enough room for Pummel Weed to slide underneath. Another example with Pummel Weed is double tapping forward on your left thumbstick followed by RT+LT at the same time gives you a powerful double punch.

I haven't spent enough time with the game though, so this will be short. I am still on the first level!!
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Sparhawk
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« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2005, 10:13:52 PM »

Here is a low res movie of the visualizer in action on Neon's website.

http://www.llamasoft.co.uk/media/neon/movies/neontundrabig.mov
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greeneggsnham
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« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2005, 10:17:02 PM »

Surprisingly, the fact that the music visualizer doesn't -suck-, and is in fact apparently very cool, is good news.

Too bad I don't have the $$$, or a preorder.

Bah.
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Harpua3
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« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2005, 10:18:03 PM »

I hate you all! :wink:  I`m not sure when I`ll even get one of these puppies :cry: . Hopefully soon enough!

 Great impressions though!
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Lockdown
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« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2005, 02:00:10 AM »

Thanks Hetz.  That was fun to read.  I guess the Hype-Machine can leave the launchpad and begin it's work from space now.  

Oh... and you forgot to include a picture of (or link to a picture of) your viewing screen.  That is important you know.   :wink:
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Calvin
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« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2005, 02:49:20 AM »

Coool!! Great impressions, makes we want one more!!
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Nth Power
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« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2005, 11:13:49 AM »

Stop, your going to make me regret not pre-ordering!

Seriously, I'm glad it sounds so good.  Too bad I probably won't get one until next year.  I'll just be drooling listening to everyone else gush.
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« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2005, 02:30:31 PM »

one...more...week...
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Dafones
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« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2005, 03:49:26 PM »

I can hardly pay for food, and you're tempting me, Hetz. Bastard!
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Mystic95Z
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« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2005, 07:00:05 PM »

Thanks alot focker  :evil:  I was nearly about to give my preorder spot to a friend.... Now you owe me ~$550  :wink:
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Scoop20906
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« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2005, 09:34:28 PM »

I have one question.

Can you record cable TV onto the hard drive like a DVR or Tivo?
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disarm
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« Reply #11 on: November 16, 2005, 10:00:47 PM »

Quote from: "Scoop20906"
I have one question.

Can you record cable TV onto the hard drive like a DVR or Tivo?

no...but if you have a WinXP Media Center Edition PC connected on the same network, the 360 is able to play videos recorded and stored there.
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« Reply #12 on: November 16, 2005, 10:23:14 PM »

I'm actually going the other way.  As it gets closer and closer I am considering passing up my preorder.  
1.  The first tier games I was hoping to play day one have all been pushed back for 3-6 months.
2.  The games left are becoming more and more lame the more I watch vids and read early impressions.  Perfect Dark Zero for instance.  After watching every video I can find I believe the A.I. to be some of the dumbest I have ever seen and the A.I. comments while in combat are even dumber.  I actually heard one say something like "oh, that was a good one" after one of his comrades was wasted by Joanna.  How friggin lame and what are the chances?!  Just stupid.  I also noticed that the enemies seems to just float around like their feet aren't even touching the ground when they walk, but worst of all on one vid where J.D. is peeking around a  corner there are two baddies just standing in a corner more or less waiting for her to show up so she can shoot them.  Ugh.  After FEAR, I can't go back that far in a.i.    Some of the others that are out are merely rentals at best because of length.  There may be one I would buy, PGR3, because of replay value, but that alone is not sufficient reason to buy this system.  Not by a long shot.
3.  I can only afford one system this go around and the thought of the PS3 coming out someday and me not being able to play a sequel to God of War or Shadow of the Colossus would be devastating since those games alone made the PS2 my system of choice for the last gen.

I could go on, but in the end if i don't pick it up some kiddo out there will be much happier this xmas.  I can sleep at night knowing that.   But all that being said, come Tuesday I may break and do it anyway.  I'm weak that way.  And here I am without a car since mine went to salvage this week and even considering a gaming system instead of buying another car.  Gaming has made me a total dumbass.
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