CONFUSING REVIEWS: Microsoft’s XBOX 360: ONLINE Features

Posted on February 18, 2007. Filed under: confusing reviews, gaming, reviews, xbox 360 | Tags: , |

CONFUSING Reviews: Microsoft’s XBOX 360 – ONLINENot really a daze.

We’ve all asked our selves, “What Game system is right for me” every time a new one comes out but this generation it is a whole different story. This time you might be asking your self, “What games do I enjoy most,” “Which system has a better online component,” and of course, “How much money do I feel like spending today?” All of these questions are very hard to answer to some degree but hopefully this little piece I wrote up will help you decide, “What is right for me?”

Should I go Green?

At its heart the XBOX 360s’ online mode is a community of gamers playing games with each other but beyond the games there is a whole dimension of possibilities. There is match making, buddy lists, “reps,” achievements, ID cards, movies, games, demos, trailers, walk-through videos, audio chat, video chat, text messages, and much, much more.

One of the best features on the 360 is its’ online mode. Actually it’s better than great, it’s fantastic. This “XBOX Live” is probably just one of the reasons to get a 360.

Community
XBOX Live gives you a whole lot more than great, lag free online play it also gives you a way to interact with others in a whole new way; well at least on the console side of things. Some of the features include text, audio, video, private chat, and picture sending.

When you first log into your “Live” account your XBOX 360 tells you who is online and also tells your friends that you are online. This is great for games because you and a bud can just “Jump In” and plays games or just chat and talk. I’ve already made some new gaming buddies just playing Gears of War Online. Simplicity really makes gaming fun.
If you don’t have any friends well don’t fret. Adding friends is really simple. The guys at Microsoft made this easy because all you have to do is enter your friends Gamertag and all they have to do is except your invite; Plain and simple.

When it comes to communicating with your friends XBOX Live also makes everything pretty much really simple. There are a few problems however.
There are some problems with the microphone connections but other than that, there are no problems. Texting, a 21st century revolution, is kind of frustrating. It’s so frustrating that you will want to just go out and buy a microphone and send audio messages. The keyboard is worse than the PSPs on screen keyboard, in my opinion. Audio chat is fine and crisp but only allows 15 second messages. I have yet to use the “Vision” camera so I can’t give you full details on that.

However many problems you find with the chat you will always find an advantage that dwarfs it. The best thing about the chat is that it is “Live” so to speak, because your messages are sent and received instantly.

Chatting with your teammates during online play is a whole other story. It is fun, depending on the game, and you can hardly notice the problems while having fun on a lag free game.

Gaming
You’ve heard about the community aspects of the XBOX Live service but what about the gaming, the most important aspect?

PLEASE NOTE: You’re always going to receive different connections depending on the developer of your game and your internet connection so your experience may very.

With the 360 and Live you get a new experience. Microsoft has established new guidelines for online gaming with their XBOX 360. When ever you play with some one many things occur without you noticing. Your 360 remembers who you played with, what game, and what date. These things are very important for the following reason: you can rate the players you play with. Whenever you rate a player you can say to others to avoid them or you can tell others they are recommended. I like this idea because if the people you played with were unfair or bad sports you never have to play with them again because your 360 also remembers who you want to avoid. If you recommended a player you will always be able to play with them. This furthers the “community” aspect of “Live” as well.

Even if you’ve never played with a person on Live you can see if they are recommended by looking at their Gamertag as well.

Creating games is simple and easy. After you’ve amassed a buddy list you can invite your buddies to join a game you created from your 360 and your buddies don’t even have to be playing the same game. If they except they are taken directly into the game if it is in their disc tray or are asked to change discs if they are on another disc based game.

There are so many great things about the online gaming functionalities on the Xbox 360.

Downloadable Games and Media
So you’ve read about the COMMUNITY you can create on your XBOX and the joys you can have while playing games but I bet you’re asking, “What about the exclusive downloads?” XBOX 360 started it off and now they are leading in the content.

XBOX Live Arcade
One of the best downloadable areas Microsoft has an advantage in is their XBOX Live Arcade. It has many games that are really great to play. Sure many of them are just emulated games you’ve played before but you know you can’t resist playing PACMAN or Galaga or even DigDug.

These are just a few of the tens of games that are available for download and purchase. There are even some original titles like Geometry Wars, Assault Heroes, Small Arms, and more. These games you can download are really great ways to pass the time and most are only $10.00.

These games are not worth the price of the system but if one day you are bored and don’t have $60.00+ on hand but you do have $10.00 it’s great to know there are fun, entertaining games that are available on the fly.

Demos
Actually, scratch the part about only having $10.00. Heck even if you don’t have any money there are always free trials for the entire Arcade games and of new or upcoming full fledged XBOX 360 games. This is a really neat feature and it’s already led me into buying and not buying games that I thought about getting.

Just as the PSP demos helped me choose to buy LOCOROCO these demos and trials lured me into buying Geometry Wars and Assault Heroes.

Some of the full fledged demos include GRAW, GRAW 2, LOST PLANET, Kameo, Perfect Dark, Ridge Racer 6, PREY, Def Jam ICON, and NBA Street: Home Court, and MORE. There are demos for all genres and tastes. I love getting free stuff but with this feature the demos are already there and I don’t need to wait months for them. Microsoft is doing a good job with the demo area.

Other Media
I have yet to try this part of the LIVE service but here is a sneak peak at it.

Other things you can download on the 360 are TV Shows, Movies, Game Trailers, Walkthroughs, and More.

Some of the TV Shows include SOUTH PARK, STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE/TOS, RENO 911, MIND OF MENCIA, Chappelle’s Show, CSI, and more.

Some Movies you can download are STAR TREK, Pootie Tang, King Kong, and Superman: Returns, and More.

Download Times
Depending on your connection download times for all content is fairly moderate. Moderate: meaning not too fast or not too slow. The Arcade games download really fast because of their size while Demos of Full Fledged games take 30 to 120 minutes.

In Conclusion
If you like to communicate with friends easily, download great stuff, and play games online without any hassles the 360 is your choice. This guide may not cover everything but it covers the basics a gamer wants.

NOTE: Depending on your 360 of choice your experience may differ.

I hope this guide helps you choose the right system for you. Stay tuned because next week I will talk about the actual system [360] and its exclusive titles.

Read Also: CONFUSING Reviews: Microsoft’s XBOX 360: System Features

CONFUSING Reviews: Microsoft’s XBOX 360: How the Console Crumbles

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4 Responses to “CONFUSING REVIEWS: Microsoft’s XBOX 360: ONLINE Features”

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Interesting…. I do think you should look over the PSN as well….. a lot of arguing has been going on with that. Yes its not as good as XBox Live Gold but…. its FREE! lol. Very intersting though and definitly will keep in mind for when I get my 360.

If only I had a PS3 right now. I think I’ll do an overview of other sites ratings on it and post it here and as a blog. Same for the Wii. But if I get one i’ll make one as good as this one though; maybe better.

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