Impressions of a Newcomer: The Xbox 360

I caved today. After talking it over with my wife, we decided that we were tired of sharing Mass Effect on our computer. I needed an Xbox. So today, I headed to GameStop where a rather knowledgable sales associate walked me through the various SKU options they had in stock. I settled for a slim version of the Xbox 360 Arcade and bought used copies of Mass Effect 1 and 2.

Now yes, I know the Arcade is generally considered an inferior version of the Xbox 360, namely because it has very little memory to speak of, but for my purposes it seemed a good fit. As a whole, I’m not overly interested in most of the 360 library. Now calm down fanboys, I’m not saying the games are bad, I’m just saying that the Xbox 360s exclusives haven’t, for the most part, left an impresion with me. I may have to try Left 4 Dead and Alan Wake though. I love me some zombies and survival horror.

Since I’m only interested in a few games and would like to avoid spending more money on downloadable games, the built in 4GB should serve its purpose well.

So, having spent the better part of the evening playing my new 360, my impression is fairly positive. The 360 Slim is easily a more sexy console than my old, fat PS3. I like the size, I like look, hell, I even like the sound that power and eject buttons make.

The controller feels a bit awkward, something I’ll chalk up mainly to my never having used one before. I keep expecting the X button to be at the button a la the Dual Shock controller. It’s funny because that’s not a problem I had with the Wii’s classic controller, but then maybe that’s because I had used a SNES controller plenty of times in the past and it is largely modeled of that.

Beyond that my one real gripe is the backwards compatability. In addition to buying the Mass Effect games I tracked down a copy of Knights of the Old Republic for the original Xbox and was looking forward to giving that a go as well. For years I had read Xbox fans boast about the 360s backwards compatability. When I tried to pop KOTOR in for a first time play it informed me that I needed a hard drive to play old Xbox games. I was confused, I thought the slim Arcade had a small HD built in. Apparently the 4GB in memory I have doesn’t count, meaning I’ll need to upgrade with another HD (when they come out) if I ever want to turn to the dark side and obliterate the Jedi.

In the mean time I think I’m going to place a call into customer support to figure it all out for sure. If anyone has any advice please feel free to post it, or drop me a line at StewShearer@Hotmail.com.

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