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Xbox 360 – First Two Weeks
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by Rob Williams on December 8, 2005 in Gaming

It’s been a little over two weeks since I’ve gotten my Xbox 360, and I’m here to give my experiences with the system so far. This console certainly has it’s issues, but do the pros make up for the cons?

Kameo, NFS & Ridge Racer


The launch line-up was promised to be one of the most amazing of any console launch ever. On launch day, you could select from 18 games. Of that 18, five are also available for the PC, including Quake IV, Call of Duty 2, Need for Speed: Most Wanted, King Kong and GUN. I tried to refrain from buying any games that were also available for PC, because I bought this system to play exclusive games. Besides racing, 8 of the launch titles were sports games including EA’s lineup and Amped 3. I’m not much of a console sports fan, so I also skipped over those.

The games I picked up were Kameo: Elements of Power, Need for Speed: Most Wanted, Ridge Racer 6, Tony Hawks: American Wasteland, Perfect Dark: Zero and Project Gotham Racing 3. I was really, really hoping that Dead or Alive 4 would make the launch, but it’s due out in the next few weeks, so that’s not so bad. I will give a quick rundown of my thoughts of the games I bought, because I put a fair amount of time into each of them.

Kameo: Elements of Power:

Supports 1 Player or 2 Player Co-Op, as well as Live Leaderboards – HDTV 720p

I am a huge Rare fan and have loved most of their games. My first major encounter with them was on the Super Nintendo with Donkey Kong Country, which I got immensely addicted to. The last platformer I played by them was Donkey Kong 64 for the N64, which was amazing as well. They definitely stuck to their roots in Kameo, and developed a very colorful and fun world. The lead character in the game is a cute fairy called Kameo, of course. She has the ability to morph into many different creatures in order to take bad guys out and progress through the game.

I have yet to play this game as much as I’d like, but what I have played so far I have enjoyed. The world is just amazing, full of color and interesting objects; It really throws you into an incredible fantasy world. One thing I found difficult was getting used to the control scheme. I couldn’t seem to control Kameo as fluidly as I had hoped. I am sure with a few more hours of gameplay, it will remedy that issue. Being the only platformer at launch, your choices are limited if that’s the type of gameplay you want to experience. Either way, you will not be disappointed with this game, and it’s appropriate for all family members. I really want to see many more games like this on the system in the future.

Need for Speed: Most Wanted

Supports 1 or 2 Players and Online Multiplayer of up to 4 People and includes Live Leaderboards – HDTV 480p/720p/1080i

Even though this game was available on other consoles, Need for Speed is one of my favorite series so I wanted to play it on the newest tech. If you have played the previous games such as Hot Pursuit or Porsche Unleashed, then you already know what to expect. They have taken the open area method of getting around from Underground 1 and 2, so you get around to races and shops by driving to them. The basic premise of the game is that you lost a car race to Razer, because of engine failure. He takes your car, and you have to own everyone in the Blacklist in order to regain the top spot.

Sadly, EA has brought back the ‘rubberband AI’ that was seen in Underground 1. This means, that no matter how well you race, the competition will always be very near to you. Also, if they are far ahead of you, you have a great chance of catching up because their car slows down to allow you to do so. They fixed most of the rubberband effect in Underground 2, so I am upset to see it return in this installment.

This installment is one of the most difficult in the series, and I do not say that lightly. The sad thing is.. the races are easy… it’s the police that are difficult. When you get into cop chases, it’s quite difficult to get rid of them. It’s not much of an issue earlier in the game, but as you progress it will get much harder. It sounds funny to say this, but the game is unfair in many ways. I have been on 15 minute cop chases, only to be busted only because I was going slow. I don’t see how it’s possible for an officer to bust me as I’m going 50MPH, but the game must be right! Without a doubt, some of these chases really stressed me out, so you need lots of patience.

The game features an online multiplayer as well, which works quite well. The only beef I have here are the online rankings. If you have a lot of time on your hands, you can progress up the ranking ladder quite easily, because you gain points as you win races. If someone you race is on the Blacklist and you beat them, you get a nice bonus chunk of points. The problem I find is, that it’s primarily based on number of races played and not the percentage of races won. I was personally #1 for about 4 or 5 days, until someone stormed right past me and took my spot. The quickest way for me to get back there was to race him, but he refused because he knew I would win. It’s clear that the ranking system should have been better thought out, at least in my opinion. Overall though, if you enjoy NFS, then you will like this one. Just jump into with with patience, and you will be fine.

Ridge Racer 6

Supports 1 or 2 Players and Online Multiplayer of up to 14 People and includes Live Leaderboards – HDTV 480p/720p/1080i

I was a huge fan of the Ridge Racer series for the Playstation 1, although I didn’t play any for the PS2. RR is not meant for hardcore racing enthusiast, but rather someone who wants laid back racing that’s not difficult to control. Ridge Racer 6 does this well, and I have found myself to enjoy this installment as much as the older versions.

You start out with a huge ladder of races, 111 to be exact. There are three end points, which all should be completed. As you beat each point, you unlock more difficult races, which will help keep you glued to your seat. This game is certainly not for everyone though, as it has an odd control scheme. Drifting is making a huge appearance in this game, and that’s what you must do to turn most corners. If you play wisely, you may never hit a wall during a race, regardless of how fast you are going. As you approach a corner, if you apply your break to drift, you will smoothly turn and will easily straighten back out. This makes the game feel easy, but once you unlock the first huge handful of extra races, the competition get’s much tougher.

The game does not use licensed cars, but Namcos creations. Most of them have similar names to each other, and don’t really look like any actual car on the market; Namco strives to be unique. Regardless, the cars all look very sweet and there should be one that screams at you. Most control differently, so picking the right one can be difficult at first. Once you nail down the control scheme and get used to the tracks, you will be very happy with this game.


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