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Monday, December 05, 2005

Different pictures of Xbox 360

Different pictures of Xbox 360

"Aside from the sleek graphics, games for new Microsoft system unfortunately break little ground

It’s hard to get too excited about the Xbox 360.

You can tell right away that the game system is powerful. Certainly, no other console has needed a power supply the size of a starter log, and video-game quarterbacks have never looked so three-dimensional.

But the next generation of games, which began with the release of the new Xbox, is supposed to offer more than just pretty pictures. At this point, the 360 doesn’t.

Microsoft Corp. has done a lot of things right with its heavily hyped entertainment box. Power brick aside, the sleek white console breaks new aesthetic ground for the electronics junk that sits under a TV.

The Dashboard menu interface makes the 360 feel like more than just a gaming machine, allowing for easy cycling between games, other media and the online Xbox Live service.

After a quick download to my personal computer, I could play music and view photos from the computer on the 360. My digital camera connected successfully, but my Nomad Jukebox Zen MP3 player did not.

I was able to test only a handful of Xbox 360 titles, all Electronic Arts games, but the system’s graphics potential is clear. Cars in “Need for Speed: Most Wanted” are brilliantly clear; the jagged edges that plague the original Xbox version of the game are gone. In two other games, “Madden 2006” and “NBA Live 2006,” you no longer can tell that players are made up of polygons. Their skin is smooth; they move much more like actual people.

The problem is, the visual luster wears off after about five minutes, and you realize these are otherwise the same games as on PlayStation 2 and Xbox." [more]

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