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Xbox 360 Console

Product: Xbox 360 Console
Company: Microsoft
Website: Official Xbox 360 Site
Estimated Street Price: $399.99 279.99
Review By: Brian Kvalheim & Byron Hinson

Backward Compatibility

The backward compatibility section of the Xbox 360 is something many users have been interested to know about since the 360 was first announced and we heard of all the changes inside the box that included a new company doing the graphics card, we knew this would be a headache for Microsoft and it's clear from the launch of the 360 that is has been and still will be something that users won't be too happy about. Microsoft released a list of old Xbox games that would work on the 360 a couple of weeks before the United States launch, the list was around 200 titles strong, but the promise of going with the most popular titles didn't materialize and a number of the latest EA titles didn't appear on the list in the hope that buyers of the Xbox 360 will go out and purchase their launch games on the system, a nasty way of doing it..but that's EA. The Backward Compatibility list was even smaller here in the United Kingdom with around 150 titles working from launch and once more a massive percentage of them were not popular titles.

We have played a number of Xbox games on the 360 to see what kind of difference the console makes thanks the the upscaling to 720p/1080i and the addition of Anti-Aliasing. The first title I tried was Halo 2, the one most people will be playing. Before launch we were sent an Xbox 360 that had code for running just Halo and Halo 2, but the code was early and didn't have full compatible sound...thankfully just before the launch the full backward compatibility download came out on Live!, this is downloaded automatically when you insert an old Xbox title - it then checks to see if it can run on your 360, if it doesn't you get a message stating that you should check out the Xbox website for details...if it does work the game will load up just as it normally would do.

Halo 2 ran really well on the 360, there are improvements graphics wise thanks to the upscaling and removal of some of the jaggies, but nothing that will make your jaw drop, but it does the job of allowing you to play some Xbox titles that you still enjoy. That doesn't mean everything is perfect though as we had some Live! problems with the game with connections dropped and such like, but nothing major that would stop your enjoyment of the game.

Next up I tried Spyro the Dragon, a good game that again worked right away, but this title has shown a few problems despite being a game classed as backward compatible. Firstly when trying to save a game yourself, the screen will just go black...you then have to give it a few seconds before you can press the back button to return to the options screen and you then find out your game hasn't saved. Thankfully though there are automated save points in the game so this isn't too much of a problem. This is one of the titles we have also had a few crashes with too, where the game would just lock up and you would have to restart the Xbox 360 to get it going again. This isn't the so called Power Supply problem that others have been talking about, this is a backward compatibility problem.

I tried other titles like Revenge of the Sith and Jade Empire and they loaded fine too, graphically once again there is not much difference except that they look better on high definition televisions now. So overall it is a good start - but I am disappointed that more titles haven't been added to the list yet, I know it is only December and there are set to be new updates released each month, but the sooner the better as a lot of users will want this from a console they are paying a lot of money from and possibly trading in their old Xbox towards.

Launch Titles

For once I agree with Microsoft when they have stated that they have what they believe is the best ever set of launch titles for a games console. So what titles will really grab you by the balls and pull you in? Well firstly we have Project Gotham Racing 3, I know most people are probably fed up hearing about it, but it really is an excellent game with some of the best graphics you will see right now. The main game may be a little easy but playing over Xbox Live! against friends and other users is great and I haven't been in a game that has had any connection problems so far either.

Next we have Call of Duty 2, while people may call this a basic port of an already good looking PC game, you really have to see this in action on a high definition TV running at 60 frames a second to understand why its better than anything a PC can produce at the moment. Not only that though, its also an excellent game, if a bit linear. Other titles include Perfect Dark Zero which is good, but in my view nothing to write home about, it also suffers from some annoying V-Sync problems that no other game I have in my reviewers kit does.

Kameo is one title that I really have enjoyed, its a bit different to the rest of the launch titles and is a nice easy title to play in the evening, but once again it is a little easy to complete. If you want a more adult title then give Condemned a try, once again an easy to complete title but one that really does show off just what the Xbox 360 can do graphic wise. Games to avoid? Fifa Road to World Cup 2006 is dreadful.

 

Table Of Contents
1: Introduction
2: Setup
3: Windows Media Connect & The Media Center Extender
4: Guide Blades
5: Accessory Reviews
6: Backward Compatibility & Launch Titles
7: Conclusion

8: The Elite

Xbox 360 FAQ


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