Xbox 360 First Impressions

In preparation for the impending release of Halo 3, I finally got around to picking up an Xbox 360 yesterday, after nearly two years of waiting. Best Buy has stock of some of the newer consoles with a built-in HDMI port, so I opted to get one of those, so I could hook it up to a DVI computer LCD if need be. After being bombarded with offers of expensive extended warranties, unnecessary accessories, and “nitrogen injected cables”, I got out of there with just the new console and a game. After unboxing it and playing for a while, these were some of my impressions:

Power

The power brick for this console is huge. It’s quite literally the size of a standard red masonry brick, only a little longer. Taking a slightly modified computer power cord for AC input, the adapter consumes just over 200 Watts of electricity when fully active. It has a big indicator LED to let you know when it’s working or failing (yikes), and at least one fan for cooling. This is one power-hungry system.

Cables & Wireless

Xbox 360 came with everything I needed to get it up and running, including a few extras like a wired headset and RF controller. Noting that the headphone jack on the controller is the same mini port on the audio unit from the original Xbox, I was pleased to discover that my Halo 2 headset attached and worked with no trouble (sans the volume control and mute button). Being able to remotely boot up the console from the couch with the Xbox button is the ultimate in advanced laziness technology. Count me in!

Performance and Games

The system is louder than an off-the-shelf original Xbox, but no louder than my modified version, so the noise isn’t too much of an issue, thankfully. Graphics performance is quite good from what I’ve seen: high polygon models, textures heaping with detail, and plenty of processing power to sustain high framerates will serve the 360 well for years to come. I was decidedly unimpressed with gameplay in Gears of War, and felt thrown into action with little instruction. Normally, I enjoy first-person-shooter games, but the lack of a constant targeting reticle, somewhat confusing controls, and weak plot will send me back to the store hoping to swap for BioShock or another title.

Overall, the Xbox 360 seems to be a fine console with plenty of horsepower and extras, but my (admittedly short) gameplay has not impressed me so far, save for the graphics. Here’s hoping Halo 3 will make it all come together… Only 16 days to go.

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Xbox 360 First Impressions

4 thoughts on “Xbox 360 First Impressions

  1. MangoTru7h says:

    I recently picked up a 360 for Halo3 as well. If you play on XBOX Live look me up. My gamer-tag is MangoTru7h.

    One thing Im hoping Microsoft implements on the 360 is Divx and Xvid support in the media player. I downloaded the optional media update to enable iPod support.

    I have heard rumors that in the fall update, Microsoft will be enabling divx and xvid. That would almost make it worth it to buy one of those 360 media connect programs for my mac.
    Imagine, the 360 could replace XBMC.

    Like

  2. Sam says:

    I typically eschew offers for product protection and insurance, but now that I’m on my 3rd XBOX, I bought the protection plan so I can have peace of mind for the next 2yrs. Anytime H3 freezes — I’m just walking two blocks to the BestBuy for a new machine.

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  3. I’m sick of xbox 360s dying everywhere. I mean I love the games to death, and in an industry that makes more money than hollywood you’d think they would have done something sooner to fix the problem. Still the extended warranty is a cool idea and I’m glad they’re standing behind it.

    Like

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