After two years of watching silently on the sidelines, I've come to my senses and realized that the Xbox 360 is the essential console to own this generation. As game after awesome game began to drop for the system, the evidence weighed against my prejudices. I now own what I've pejoratively referred to in the past as the "Halo machine". Thanks to Dale North's hot tip I was able to snag an Xbox Premium off of Amazon last week for close to $300.00.
I have some leftover champagne from my interview with Jorge Garcia a few weeks ago, so tonight I'll be drinking a glass in honor of Dale and his fortuitous timing. You're all invited to join me in the celebration. You'll have to excuse me if my words are a little slurred; that's just the enthusiasm talking. There is one person however, who isn't invited to my party, and that's my blue-faced, ashamed little console in the corner, the Wii. He's holding his breath until I agree to play with him again.
The 360's been a houseguest for only a few days but the Wii's already been demoted from its component cable hookups. The 360's overwhelmingly convenient and comprehensive interface, coupled with the depth and polish its games feature, has made my beloved Wii look like a chintzy toy from the back end of a supermarket.
I've loved my Wii so far, and the line up for the end of this year looks phenomenal, but I can't help but feel a little . . . taken advantage of? For $50 more, the 360 gives me true next-gen graphics, downloadable demos for practically every freakin' game released for the system, online multiplayer for arcade games, original titles created exclusively for download, precise and customizable matching for Bomberman showdowns, video or voice chat with friends while I simultaneously listen to MP3s from my iPod, all in the background of a free game of Geometry Wars.
If this were a breakdancing battle, this would be the part where Nintendo falls on its ass as it tries to bust out its super helicopter spin. Wait, don't leave guys! Let me show you my free Everybody Votes Channel. . . Guys? Is anyone still here?
Sorry, Wii. We all went to the other room to watch MTV's The State, the fucking coolest show ever, as of yet still unreleased on DVD, but somehow amazingly available for download for $2.00 on an Xbox.
I'm still breaking this little puppy in, but my experience with Microsoft's little-box-that-could has been nothing but superlative so far.
Colette recommended that I check out the demo for Eternal Sonata. This game has a truly beautiful color palette and an engaging and inventive battle system. One of the things that makes the Paper Mario games so fun is the sense of involvement in every battle. Eternal Sonata has incorporated this idea of an active battle system but has added its own unique spin. From what I can tell, there seems to be a theme of Darkness and Light, in which your position on the playing field influences the types of commands you are able to pull off. If you are standing under the shadows of trees, your character has dark themed magic attacks available to them. If you're under sunlight, you've got another set of moves to choose from. You'll constantly find yourself strategically positioning your characters in real time to execute the most advantagous spells. You can also guard against enemy attacks if you execute perfectly timed button presses. This gives the battles a real sense of urgency and keeps the player actually "playing" the game during every second of screen time. Props for the great recommendation, and I'm definitely looking forward to this one.
The Bioshock demo was also downloaded by moi and I won't waste your time rehashing how mind-asploding this was. All I can say is, we're lucky to be alive and playing games at a time like this.
My first foray into Xbox Live was brought about my brother, walnutthewise, who generously gave me a free month of Gold. If you don't know my brother yet, he's a long time reader of Destructoid who just recently started a brilliant philosophical series in the C-blogs on the topics of free will and transhumanism vis a vis video games. He's a super cool guy who bought me a DS for Christmas. Word is bond. Respeck.
Both of us are jonesing for some cool Xbox live friends and Destructoid is without a doubt the place to meet other super cool people. Walnut tried fishing for some pals on the Destructoid forums, but we fear that the thread might be gasping for its last breaths. If you want to kick it on Xbox with a pair of wild and crazy guys, please add us.
My gamertag is "Silent Tristero" and his is "Wise Walnut". Catch ya on the flipside.