Library of Games
No Blu-Ray Playback
Pay to play online
What type of games do you like? Are you a shooter fan? Do you like party games? Think of your favorite genre. Chances are, the Xbox 360 has at least ten titles in your favorite style, no matter how obscure it is. What’s more, Microsoft has added their own motion controller to the mix. That’s you! With the Xbox Kinect, you are the controller. The question to answer here is if the Xbox 360 with Kinect 4GB bundle is right for you.
Following the popularity of the original Xbox, the Xbox 360 brings gaming to a completely new level. What once supported a 600mhz chip has been replaced with a 3.2 Ghz (3,200mhz) tri-core processor. The visuals have been upgraded from 480p to 720p. This means new games are prettier and faster than older Xbox titles.
Put in less technical terms, games have much better presentation. Where older titles may only have 10 or so characters on screen, 360 titles have over 200. The faded and washed colours of older titles is now replaced with vibrant images. Games pushing realism are much closer to photo reality than the blocky titles of previous consoles. The 720p resolution lets you see the pores on the skin of some game characters. This to say, there’s a huge presentation jump over previous consoles.
The controller is both hit and miss. The analog sticks are far more sensitive than previously. It comes down to preference when you consider the placement. Unlike the Playstation 2, the 360 features a raised analog stick on the left and a lowered one on the right. This asymmetrical approach feels awkward at first. When playing a first person shooter (FPS), it lends nicely as most of your movement is performed with the left stick.
This layout fails when playing fighting games or other titles requiring more precise directional movements. For this, the 360’s controller features a direction pad (positioned underneath the left analog stick). The direction pad seemed great at first, but the rounded edges make precision more difficult than the Playstation 2 controllers. For this reason, I don’t play many fighting games on the 360.
The top of the 360’s controllers features two triggers and two shoulder buttons. The triggers seem much easier to use than the Playstation 3’s triggers because of their larger size. With the increase in trigger size comes a larger controller and different angle at which you hold the controller. compared to the Playstation 2’s controller, I find the 360’s controller less comfortable.
Thankfully, the 360’s controllers are wireless. You can still play your game from the next room. The connection is high fidelity, which means that there’s minimal signal loss during critical moments in play. What I don’t like is the how you sync controllers. If there are multiple Xbox 360’s in a room, you must press the sync button on both the system and the controller to link the two. The Playstation 3 syncs by plugging the wireless controller into the system then turning it on. This is much simpler.
The second controller packaged with this system is the Kinect. Like other camera sensors, the Kinect measures the distance of the player from the camera and uses the video to translate into interactions with the system. Microsoft’s marketing states that Kinect makes you the controller. The Kinect is all great in theory, but in practice it begins to fall apart. While Sony used coloured wands for easy motion tracking, Microsoft used complex software. This software will for the most part recognize your movements. If the lighting is dim or someone is moving in the background, the Kinect will interpret that as part of the game. This often leads to very frustrating experiences where you want to throw the controller at the screen, but since you are the controller, it is more effort than it is worth.
Adding to the system’s current list of titles, the Xbox 360 is backwards compatible. This means most of the classic Xbox titles can be played on your updated console. Some titles require a 5MB (0.005 GB) patch, which is quickly downloaded on a 10MB connection. A few popular titles, such as Fable, are not supported.
What does 4GB of storage really get you? In this day and age, many games are downloaded. The average download size ranges from 1 to 3 GB in size. If you add your game saves to the mix, the hard drive storage offered in the 4GB package isn’t enough for the avid downloader. For this reason, the 4GB bundle is better for families or casual players who only purchase their games on disc.
It is only fitting that Microsoft attempt to make their system a multimedia powerhouse. Online services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime are available for the 360 owner. These are great for when you have internet access and want to watch the latest videos. While the 360 supports DVD playback, unlike the Playstation 3, it does not support Blu-Ray playback. You can store music on your 360 or stream it through your home network. This is great since many games will allow you to play your music in place of the in-game music.
All things considered, the Xbox 360 with Kinect 4GB Bundle is an okay offer. The Xbox 360 has an attractive library of titles. The Kinect brings very little to the package, and the 4GB storage is just too little for any serious gamer. Online play runs $50 per year, while other consoles don’t charge a dime.
If you are looking for a console to play against your friends, go where your friends are at. If that’s the 360, then it’s an okay console. If you are looking for a console that is the complete multimedia center, try the Playstation 3.
Do I recommend this Xbox 360 bundle? If there were more exclusive titles on Xbox that I wanted to play, then yes. As for the average person, the decision between Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 is all preference.