I recently acquired an Xbox 360 and I’ll spend the next couple of months (and probably years) catching up with those games I heard a lot about and never had a chance to play. Even after a couple of weeks with the console, I have some really strong opinions about it and this week, I decided to focus on some of the best things about the Xbox 360, but expect an article with some of the worst features in the coming weeks.
Xbox 360 as an entertainment center
Ever since Microsoft announced that you don’t need a Gold membership to download applications (such as Netflix, HBO Go or Crackle,) a lot of people started using the console to catch up with their favorite TV shows and films. Additionally, the Xbox 360 allows you to listen to music, watch videos, there’s YouTube support and the list goes on and on. If you want a cheap multimedia device that allows you to use some of your favorite apps, this is a great choice.
Although I recently got a 360 for the first time, I’ve been using its controller for years on the PC and I’ve always love it. The Xbox 360 controller is comfortable to use for long periods of time and adjusts to pretty much every genre.
The Xbox 360 I have didn’t come with Kinect, but I do see the benefit of having this peripheral, since searching for content using the controller is woefully inconvenient and takes a lot of time. If you find yourself using applications that have voice support, you should seriously consider spending some money on the Kinect sensor, since it works well enough.
Xbox Live Arcade
If you want to play indie games, you don’t need to go to Xbox Live Arcade anymore. But while it’s easy to forget the influence that Xbox Live Arcade had on indie games, this virtual haven is responsible for the popularity of the genre. Titles like Geometry Wars, Braid, Uno and Street Fighter II: Hyper Fighting to name a few.
Gears of War, Halo, Crackdown and Forza Motorsport are some of the names you probably recognize and the only way to experience these titles is on Xbox platforms. I’ll just stay away from Dragon Ball Z: For Kinect.
Although most people don’t care about playing Xbox Originals on the Xbox 360, the few people who do, are really passionate about this feature in particular. Personally, I never owned an original Xbox, so this is the perfect chance to check out those exclusive games that a lot of people love and I never played. Games like Fable, Halo, Forza and so on. It’s worth mentioning that the Xbox 360 supports original Xbox games through emulation and it isn’t perfect, so depending on the game you’re trying to play, you’ll run into some technical issues. Nevertheless, this is a concession that most people who care enough about the feature to try it won’t mind.
I know it took a lot of experimenting to get there, but the final revision of the UI is well done. It does have some problems, but for the most part it’s easy to find what you’re looking for, advertisements are unobtrusive and moving through tabs and tiles is fast enough.
It took a lot of time for Microsoft to get to this point, but the Xbox Live service works remarkably well. I think the worst part about Xbox Live is that you have to pay a large amount of money on a monthly basis, but this is something that I’ll discuss on another article.
If you want to get an Xbox 360 this late in its development cycle, you won’t have to shell out that much money. In fact, some of the people who are willing to wait for Black Friday or Christmas will probably be able to get the base package (Xbox 360 E without Kinect) for $99, which is a great deal.
Games in general
The Xbox 360 has a fantastic library of games. Unlike the original Xbox which became the console of choice when it came to first-person shooters and Western RPGs, the Xbox 360 covers a variety of genres and no matter which genre’s your favorite, I’m pretty sure you’ll find what you’re looking for here.