On my way home from work Friday, I stopped by a local game store had a few 360 consoles in stock. This just a short time after it was announced that shipments would be stepping up for the console. So, I bought myself a premium console and headed over to the Microsoft store and bought Kameo. I then headed home with a giddy little grin on my face. On the way home, I stopped at yet another game store and bought Ghost Recon and Fight Night.
When I got home, I started feverishly hooking the console up. I realized quickly that I didn’t have enough power outlets at my entertainment center to plug in the 360 so I started running around the house looking for a power strip to plug all of my other devices into (the 360 should not be plugged into a surge protector). Since we JUST moved to the Northwest all of our stuff is still mostly packed in boxes. I had paper and cardboard flying everywhere while looking for this strip! At last: I found one! “I’ll clean up the mess later,” I thought as I rushed back into the living room to finish the setup.
I turned the console on and changed the television to channel 3 and then 4 — an obvious habit I had from the last console I owned so many years ago (Nintendo — nope, not 64, not DS — just plain old Nintendo). I finally got everything set up right and then I saw it — the Xbox 360 console — right there on my TV. I could curl up to this thing at night for warmth — I’m sure of it.
I’ve already been playing so much longer than I ever expected. I’ve already got a list of friends hooked up in my console and have already played a few rounds (and lost many) of Fight Night. I love this game and I can already tell that I need to apply some time management skills to keep me productive. If you haven’t played Fight Night yet, let me explain. This game lets you build your own fighter. You can control his stats, his clothes, his skills and even his look. That’s right, when you build your fighter, you can control every aspect of his looks — cheek shape / size, skull shape/size, jaw shape/size, eye color/socket size, eye brows, facial hair, and more. You can then add tattoos to the boxer’s back, arms, and chest. The amount of customization is unreal. You can then start fighting and training your boxer up the ranks, all the while fighting great boxers like Ali, Frazier, Leonard, and more. As you are fighting, the level of control is amazing and the detail in the graphics is fantastic. I can lean back, block with one arm, two or even duck and cover. The conrol is 100% up to me — no preset motions that limit your ability to create your own fighting style. Jab left then Haymaker right. Jab high right, jab low and left, jab low left, uppercut right, parry, counter haymaker! It’s indescribable! I’m addicted already: not good yet, but addicted!
I then picked up Ghost Recon and tried playing that. It’s really amazing how cool this game is, but honestly — it’s a lot harder for me to play this than anything else. To explain, I’ve been a PC gamer for a while. I’ve played PC-based FPSes (First Person Shooters) since .. well Wolfenstein 3D. I then moved on to games like Doom (1 and 3), Enemy Territory, Quake (1, 2, 3 4), Call of Duty, and Half Life. I’ve played them as single player. I’ve played them as multiplayer. I played in clans. I created trick jump videos and even got bored and started doing trick jump videos backwards. Yes — I’m no stranger to FPS gaming. But playing on a console is so much more… contrived.. harder. In my opinion, the keyboard and mouse are the best controllers for an FPS. None-the-less, the game play itself is awesome. I also like that being shot actually hurts the character — and being shot in the right spot — even with one shot is fatal. This is contrary to a lot of older games that I played that just took your ‘health’ down with gun shots to the chest and head. In any case, once I’ve mastered Fight Night, I’m definitely going to give this game another shot with a controller. Note to XBOX 360 team — allow mouse and keyboard controller input for games!
Kameo was … different. I’m not used to playing games like this, and I honestly didn’t put much time into it. The game is very cool looking. Kameo can change shape into a rolling spikey looking creature that can spin at high velocity toward monsters. She can also transform into a plant-like creature that is great at sneaking up on things. She can take the shape of a blue ape-like creature that can bash monsters and stick them to his back and use those monsters as weapons. More shapes are available later. It’s very… umm… interesting. Kameo herself can fly short little hops over obstacles. This game appeals to my some but for me, I think I’ll stick to the other two for now.
The games themselves aren’t the only thing that are cool. I can connect my XBOX to my PC’s in the house and use MP3’s I have stored there as well as pictures and movies. The only thing I wish is that I could continue playing those MP3s while I played Fight Night. I prefer my music to EA sports selection!
This post was much longer than expected. But I couldn’t help but share my enthusiasm about this machine. For those that have stuck around a bit, I have some thoughts: If you buy one of these systems, consider buying the core system. You’ll save $100 that you can spend on a 20GB hard drive and a pair of headphones that feel good for you. The ones included in the premium system aren’t that great and are cheaply made, IMHO. Once again, I could just be spoiled from my previous online gaming headphones I use. Also, consider buying the wireless ethernet adapter, and some recharge kits for your controler(s). All of this will cost a bit more, but will make your gaming experience better, IMO. That’s all for now. Happy gaming!