Xbox 360: One Year Later

It’s been about a year since I bought my Xbox 360. So was it worth it?! Was it a mistake?! Maybe. On the one hand I haven’t bought very many retail games for it. The problem is I was never going to go out and buy a bunch of $60 games to play on it so everything I have is either used or a cheaper Greatest Hits re-release. Here are the retail games I’ve purchased:

Perfect Dark Zero (about $7 used): It sucked. I barely played it at all before selling it. Thanks for nothing, Rare.

Kameo – Elements of Power (about $6 used): I played it longer than Perfect Dark but it was just boring so ditched it. Thanks for nothing, Rare.

NCAA Football 2007 ($5 used): I just bought it to have a semi-recent football game. Really not that different from PS2 football games except for improved graphics. Still, for $5 it was worth it. I played a season or two, no big deal.

Gears of War ($25 or $30 used): I guess this was my attempt at playing one of the monster hits for 360.  I probably should have just waited until it was even cheaper because one of the big draws with this game is online multiplayer, which I’m unlikely to use.  The single player story portion of the game IS VERY GOOD but could have been longer.  The gameplay is like Resident Evil 4 but with a fuck you up Contra sensibility.

then I went many months without buying anything new for the 360 until . . .

BioShock ($30 new – greatest hits type price): I played the demo for this one and rushed out to buy a copy.  Oops.  I still haven’t actually played the game.

The Orange Box ($25 used): The game that someone or other called ‘the geatest value in video game history’.  It contains a port of the PC hit Half Life 2, plus the expansions Half Life 2 Episode 1 and Half Life 2 Episode 2 and a shooter/puzzle game called Portal AND a crazy team-based fps called Team Fortress 2.  I loaded Team Fortress 2 and saw that it was online multiplayer only and I got pissed.  So haven’t played any of the games yet.  Oops.

Grand Theft Auto IV ($30 used – Christmas present): Great game.  Wrote about it elsewhere.

Xbox Live Arcade Games – 360 has a lot of games that you can download.  I actually think this is an awesome service, as it allows smaller companies to make simple, old-fashioned or even super innovatively risky games that sell for cheap.  And contrary to what I may have written in the blog earlier, you do NOT have to have a paid Xbox Live account to buy download games.

Prince of Persia Classic ($10): A great game.  It’s a remake of the original PoP but with 3D graphics and a look inspired by the reboot series from 2003.  Glad I bought it.

Pac-Man Championship Edition ($10): Another great game.  It could have been conceived in the early 1980s but it wasn’t so there!  It’s a lot deeper than the classic Pac-Man but really just as simple and intuitive to play.  Six different modes, all of them quality.

Bionic Commando Rearmed ($15): Billed as a remake of the NES Bionic Commando, it’s more of a reimagining.  Many of the levels are different, the bosses are different, etc.  It’s a great game.  GLAD I BOUGHT IT.

Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix ($15): This has been a huge hit on XBLive Arcade but I haven’t gotten into it yet.  For one thing, the 360 controller sucks for this game.  Another issue is the ‘upgrades’.  Basically, all the sprites and backgrounds have been redrawn but not for the better.  Yes, they’re clearer but the new art was provided by the losers at Udon comics, an American company that makes Street Fighter comics.  The animation isn’t improved at all.  If someone in the background only has 2 frames in their movement in the original, they only have 2 here.  Lame.

Demos

It may seem like my 360 purchase was ill-advised and it probably was.  However, in spite of the small number of games I’ve actually bought and played through for the system, I’ve played a lot of demos.  The great thing about XBox Live is that huge amount of demos available.  I remember when I was a kid there were so many NES games I just wanted to try, whether they were good or bad.  Well, you can do that sort of thing now with Live.  Some of the demos are pretty long and probably give you as much of the game as you actually want to play.  For instance, the Dead Rising demo appears to be untimed and allows you to run around brawling with zombies to your heart’s content until you’re either killed or wander into a restricted area.  Last night I played the demo for Watchmen game.  It was no great shakes but now I know for sure.  It even let me play for over 20 minutes before I triggered some cutscene that ended it.  Soon I will check out the Resident Evil 5 demo.  Lots of demos!  Is cool.

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