When It's Cold at Night...I Cuddle with My Xbox
Xbox live, built in hard drive, a lot of good games
some genres not fully represented
The Bottom Line:
The Xbox is definitely geared toward the older crowd
The system is huge, but its beefy size is easily overlooked once you find out what's included. A built-in hard drive means you can rip your music CDs, store saved games, and download new content from Live enabled games. Then there are the four controller ports that provide multiplayer action. The machine is also capable of playing DVD movies, although a separately solid remote is needed for this feature. Lastly, you got the Ethernet port for online gaming.
The Xbox Controller S works well with most games. The thumbsticks feel pretty good, while the four primary face buttons are equally comfortable. However, the smaller sized white and black buttons become a problem in certain games. Some added slots on top of the controller allow you to connect your headset and optional memory cards. The bottom side of the controller provides two analog trigger buttons that are ideal for first-person shooters and racing games. But my favorite aspect is the cord length (about 10 feet).
Judging by the system's current library, one could easily come to the conclusion that the Xbox was made for the sole purposing of blowing stuff up. The system's most popular titles lean toward the action and first-person shooter side. The Halo series, Chronicles of Riddick, Doom 3, Rainbow Six, Crimson Skies, Unreal, Brothers in Arms, Max Payne, and Splinter Cell are just a few of the games that get the blood pumping and bullets flying.
Not everything in the Xbox world is so violent. EA Sports has been releasing its titles for the system, and Sega's been providing some topnotch sports games as well. The racing genre also has its fair share of highlights with Project Gotham Racing, Rallisport, and Forza Motorsport. What sucks about the Xbox is that you won't find high profile RPGs like Final Fantasy. Games like Fable, Jade Empire, and Knights of the Old Republic do pick up the slack though. Another area that sticks out for its lack of games is the platform genre.
When it comes to ports, I usually pick up the Xbox version. Take Splinter Cell for example. Not only do you get the best looking graphics, but you get added features like downloadable content. The Xbox's processing power also means that load times are shorter and gameplay is smoother. And for other games, being able to listen to my own music through the custom soundtrack feature is a big deal for me, especially when it comes to racing games and the Grand Theft Auto series.
The monthly fee to play online might bother some, but the Live service is impressive. Live enabled games allow you to see if any of your buddies are online while you're playing a different game. Then there's all the other goodies like downloadable content (new levels, vehicles, rosters), score boards, and of course the gaming itself. Additional components like the headset allows you to communicate with other players when you're in lobbies and playing games.
The Xbox is definitely geared toward the older crowd. Although some genres (RPG, Platform) are lacking some big names, the incorporation of Xbox Live and other multiplayer features really gives the Xbox an edge over the competition.