Saturday, February 11, 2006

Xbox 360 - Where's the Power?

When you open up your shiny, brand-new, spotless-white Xbox 360 out of its box, you’re possibly going to expect something amazing. Unreal gameplay, top-notch visuals beyond compare, and some amazing launch games to go along with your brand new hardware. At least that’s what Microsoft VP, Peter Moore, wants you to think with a quote like this:

“Next-generation games will combine unprecedented audio and visual experiences, create worlds that are beyond real, and they’ll deliver story lines and gameplay so compelling that I’ll feel like a lucid dream”.

So far I’ve seen nothing on the Xbox 360 of that nature. In fact, all of the games I’ve played thus far have under whelmed me. Not only that, the visuals aren’t what I would expect from a brand new next-gen system, either.

If there’s anything Tomobu Itagaki, creator of the Dead or Alive games and head of Team Ninja, is known for, it’s creating games with graphics that make your jaw drop. So when I first tried his newest title, Dead or Alive 4, I was expecting a great gameplay experience and all, but mostly just incredibly visuals beyond anything else. I was disappointed on both counts.

Not only is the gameplay not much different from a formula that hasn’t changed much since 1999 (When Dead or Alive 2 hit the arcades in the U.S.), but the visuals weren’t that great either. This was all on HDTV as well

There have been countless other Xbox 360 games that have disappointed me in the visuals and gameplay departments – King Kong, Gun, Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland, etc. What these games also share in common is that they’re really not much different from the versions already on the original Xbox. They also cost a full ten bucks more to purchase.

The Playstation 2 was a huge jump in graphics compared to the Playstation. I just don’t see that big of an improvement with the Xbox 360. Not only that, I also haven’t spotted a true launch killer-app that truly shows what the hardware can do. SSX, Tekken Tag Tournament, and DOA 2: Hardcore showed what the Playstation 2 was capable of – where’s that 360 title that does the same?

Finally, I’m also not too excited about Rare playing a major role in the Xbox 360 – I’m not a big fan of Rare’s games, and last generation they haven’t released anything memorable. Their best title was an update of a four year old N64 game (Conker’s Bad Fur Day). Also, who really wants to play as a fairy in Kameo? Certainly not me….

The Xbox 360 isn’t the first console I thought was a disappointment within the first few months of release – I felt the same way about the Gamecube and even the original Xbox. The thing is, at least those consoles amazed me with their hardware (my jaw dropped when I first saw Dead or Alive 3 and Luigi’s Mansion in action). I really can’t say the same about the 360.


At 5:50 PM, Anonymous Wedge14 said...

I agree with you here. On about everything. I'm kinda interested to see how Halo 3 turns out. But at the same time could care less.

At 9:00 AM, Blogger gnome said...

Totally agree with the article...
And Halo 3 will 100% not be as impressive as HALO once was... It is number 3 after all...

At 10:43 AM, Blogger Ross said...

Yep, sequels wear thin over time. I liked GTA: San Andreas alot, but it didnt have that feeling I got from playing GTA III for the first time.

At 2:52 PM, Blogger gnome said...

You're absolutely right my friend... My point exactly.

At 10:22 PM, Blogger Ender said...

I'm sort of on the fence here. On the one hand, I do agree with your assessment of the 360. On the other hand, some of the games that I have seen have blown me away, graphic-wise. I saw some basketball game in EBgames on display, and it looked amazing. Now, I hate sports games, but it still LOOKED awesome.

Also, I'm looking ahead to what the 360 will be like in a year or so. I think that once the devs get learn the ropes of the system, the games will become amazing. However, as you said, the launch was pretty weak.

At 1:05 PM, Anonymous PsyClerk said...

The 360 launch games are typical of launch titles for any system. Maybe you had a different set of launch games for the PS2, but almost-not-a-game Fantavision, the mundane Super Bust-a-Move and the outright horrible Oni (from Bungie no less!) didn't exactly inspire awe. Tekken Tag had decent graphics, but it was essentially Tekken 3.5.

I say give it some time. If DOA4 and CoD2 are the best the 360 can muster by the end of this year, then I'll lead a march on Redmond.

Also keep in mind, we're fast approaching a point where I'm not sure we'll be able to see much more improvement, at least in the graphics department. Look at the graphics in some of what will be known as the last batch of games to hit this generation. RE4, Shadow of the Colossus, etc are gorgeous. Imagine what we'll see 3-4 years from now on the 360 and PS3.

At 12:51 AM, Anonymous Scrubking said...

Being a PC gamer there is nothing these next-gen consoles can do to wow me. However, it always takes time for developers to get the most out of a new system. Just look at Gran Turismo 4 - I'm sure no one would have thought a game like that could be made after seeing the PS2 launch titles.

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