John Walker's Electronic House

Xbox 360: Worst Impressions

by on Nov.19, 2005, under The Rest


Here are my impressions after spending up to two hours watching someone else use an Xbox 360 and having a quick go myself. Yes indeed – by far and away the most accurate way to judge something:

“Oh dear, they will have fun pretending to love it.”

And in more detail: A very troubling launch-list will send everyone into apoplexy as they attempt excuses and overrate everything in desperation.

Fifa 06

The crowd smear as one

It’s hard to know quite what the console is capable of, unless of course the horror show zombie apocalypse of the new Fifa is what it’s capable of. Screams. That was the most common response to the ghastly visages of the seemingly deceased England football team. They’re not the prettiest bunch of men at the best of times, but the waxwork monstrosities generated by all this new processing power caused yelps of panicked disgust from a room filled with deeply hardened Men. The entire game appears to be in blur-o-vision, everything ghosting horrifically in the dreadful animation. Which is as nothing compared to the most hilarious crowd animations beyond anything you could imagine. Moving as one, the thousands of identical blobs appear to be trying to break the record for the largest number of above-water synchronised swimmers in one stadium. It’s near impossible to concentrate on the tedium of mis-angled penality fluke-outs when in the background Earth’s most complicated Mexican wave is taking place.


Zelda who?

Oh dear, oh dear. The curse of being bought by Microsoft is now confirmed in Rare, as they generate Yet Another Generic Platform Game, this time with added rubbishness! A horribly long and boring first level introduces the central pixie character’s three other assumable forms – furry ice beast, roly-poly spike ball and angry plant – involving the mandatory repetition of simple platform tasks, frustrated by an evil sluggish camera, hellbent on facing the wrong way in all situations. Once this has been completed, you’re then required to take part in… a basic movement tutorial! Yes, that’s right – as soon as you’ve discovered how to move left, right, fly, walk and fight with the idiot camera for yourself, it then painstakingly tells you how to do those things! It had better get a lot better very quickly. This is the game Rare didn’t rush to complete for release, which bodes very poorly for Perfect Dark: Zero.

Condemned: Criminal Origins

I wonder what the graphics are like

Hard to say from a cursory glance really, it might be awesome. But the confusion of CSI style poking around murder scenes with shooting innocent people in the face for the crime of being a drug addict does seem a little worrying. Beyond the Fifa-esque facial tragedies, it looks pretty enough. Somewhat boosted by being played in the pitch black the entire time.

Project Gotham 3

There's a reason they only show you close ups of the reflections in the released shots

Heavens to Betsy, do we need another identical Project Gotham? The original and its sequel being two of only six games that ever made it worth knowing someone else with an Xbox, I imagine Microsoft are relying fairly heavily on this licence, especially without a Halo 3 to throw at the launch. If familiarity will offer comfort to customers, then Project Gotham 3 will score the win by being seemingly the exact same as Project Gotham 2.

Call of Duty 2

Britain's war with the sky was finally won

Which leaves the only hope for the console in the arms of Call of Duty 2: The One Without The Subtitle. Which is already out on PC. Which is a better medium for playing games than a 360.

Keep it calm. This is what consoles do when they’re brand new – have games that don’t know how to make use of a tenth of the potential. Compare the awesome Call of Duty 2: Big Red One on the PS2 with any PS2 FPS five years ago. But man, Fifa – what the hell?

27 Comments for this entry

  • Adam

    You’re a spanner.

    Trying to give impressions on games you hardly played – well done!

    “Which is already out on PC. Which is a better medium for playing games than a 360.”

    Why is it a better medium? Millions of gamers disagree – cynical you are, but also very very wrong.

  • matt

    Hmm, what a pathetic excuse for a read that was. You sir, are utter balls.

  • Rev. S Campbell

    Dear Adam,

    “Millions of gamers disagree” with the statement that the PC is a better medium for gaming than the 360? You mean millions of people have a 360 now? Blimey, you want to alert the media about that one, heck of an exclusive you’ve got there.

  • Oddbob

    God forbid anyone should dare to be disappointed. If being a spanner these days equates to not wanting to be spoonfed more of the same at a higher resolution with frame rate drops then you can call me Mr Spanner too!

    Nice to see RARE are still keeping true to form. Stroll on some decent titles.

  • The Rev

    I do need another identical Project Gotham. I’m not particuarly proud of that fact, but I do.

    And I’d personally rather play CoD2 on the 360 rather than my PC. Well, I think I’ll prefer it. It’s yet to be confirmed, I suppose.

    I’m not planning on getting on of those others. I keep finding myself tempted by Kameo, but then I just repeat “Starfox Adventures… Starfox Adventures…” to myself and the urge goes away.

  • Rossignol

    It does appear to be a rather dull line up. I’ve yet to see an Xbox game that looks like it might be worth spending hundreds of pounds to play.

  • Tim E

    Amped 3’s awesome. Awesome if you have a sense of humour, and kind of enjoy snowboarding games, at least.

  • bob_arctor

    Oh dear I did chuckle at the Fifa bit. Good stuff.
    I thought at first, upon reading the paragraph it would be a spoof of Eurogamer’s Xbox2 (There are no Xbox 3 – 359) first look, critising how journalists are quick to judge. But no it’s just your criticism of the boring Xbox2 lauch games. Which is true I suppose. I never really considered getting any of the new consoles, although from an innovation-centric perpective the Revolution controller intrigued, as does John’s new favourite system the Nintendo DS. Which certainly has more interesting games (OBJECTION!) that this Xbox2, notable only for its slightly prettier graphics. Microsoft’s men may talk of “revolution” to The Money Programme reporters, but they lie.

  • Dave McLeod

    I’ve got temptation because, frankly, my PC is too much of a pile of compost to play stuff like Quake 4. It’s not just the graphics(Geforce 5600 – the deformed nephew of the Nvidia family), im on a 2ghz P4, and 512mb RAM. Used to be enough, but now…

    I’d rather enjoy some decent games that wont run on my PC at the moment (Quake 4, Oblivion), as well as the console remakes I missed (time to cash in on never having played Gotham Racing). I still prefer the PC for gaming, but I’ll be playing the clasics for a little while longer…and Call OF Duty 2, which runs without a hitch oddly enough

  • Dave McLeod

    Forgot to mention, spot on about the thing about not reaching potential. Good summary there j’ai pens√©

  • admin

    Dave – stick another 512 of RAM in there. It makes the world of difference, and costs about 50p.

  • Richard Hamer

    Yeah, you really have to be trying *very* hard to get excited about anything on the Xbox360.

    Especially since i’m going to boycott Perfect Dark Zero on the grounds that they changed Johanna Dark into an American. I’m not being racist… i’m just faintly disgusted with the idea that apparently Rare need to make a totally nonsensical character change, simply because my nationality isn’t good enough for the mass market anymore.

  • admin

    But they’re right. Your nationality is RUBBISH. Whichever one it is.

  • pork factory

    excellent impressions, thank god someone other than me thinks that the effect used by 360 titles on people like in fifa and COD is terrible too.

    Sorta greasy clay model sometimes wrapped in clingfilm look

  • Grill


    Obviously, I’m immensely biased having taken the Microsoft shilling, but I agree the games (particularly the EA ones) so far for the console haven’t stretched it in any way. I like CoD2 on it, just because its the first FPS I’ve preferred the feel/control system for to the PC version, and I’d agree with Tim that Amped 3 is absolutely amazingly excellent due to its utter dudeiness. Condemned is great gory fun but a bit like Playing System Shock 2 just with the Spanner.

    In terms of power, a near-top end gaming PC for ¬£280 you can play on enormous resolutions in’t half bad. Having a good PC, I’ll still be playing that, but the 360’s sofability rebalances it for me.

  • Rossignol

    I wanted to make some sofa gag, Dan. But I just feel really tired.

  • Rossignol

    Tim: /Hundreds/ of pounds.

  • Grill

    Dude! It’s past four in the morning! I thought you’d finished your book?

  • admin

    Unless “I thought you’d finished your book” is code for “I thought you’d given up being a freelancer”, I’m not sure of your logic.

  • Grill

    Ooh, confrontational. :) Damn you and your logic, Spock!

    There are many reasons for a man to be up at four; insomnia, nausea, living in Australia; I was just focussing (logically) on one I knew to be the linked to Jim (the book) which I hadn’t had a status report on and combined it with an expression of concern for the health of Jim.

    Satisfactory explanation?

  • Feet

    Ooooh, does that mean there’s an opening?

  • Grill

    You can’t put me out on the streets; I’ve an ego and two young ids to support!

  • Larandor

    It means there’s now only 4 contestants in the Copyright infringing reality show of the year – ‘The Freelancer!’

  • AK

    I’ve had a go on almost every game mentioned here and I’m left feeling this; cold.

    Although Gotham 3 looks sublime. Almost *real* at times.

    Not that that justifies its existence. Or the existence of Xbox 360.