"It's a Competent System, but Technical Issues Hamper It Too Much"3.0 starson by Hellrazr360
Pros: Plenty of great games offered, excellent Xbox Live service and Dashboard interface.
Cons: Prone to technical issues, games only use DVD-9 rather than HD-DVD.
Summary: Microsoft were the first to step up and make the jump to the next generation of gaming with their second iteration of the Xbox. While many thought lowly of the early release, the system has gone on to selling rather well, while managing to get the largest gaming library between the 360, PS3 and Wii. The 360 is a great system, however its very prone to technical issues and as a result, the system is a very questionable purchase.
I guess the first place to start would be the console's appearance, which strikes a mix between cool and just average. Since Microsoft are the way they are, the system looks very computer-like, but also has somewhat of an Apple-like touch to it. There haven't been many great-looking home console systems, but the 360 isn't half-bad, at least it looks better than its bulky predecessor.
Next let's talk about the Xbox 360 Dashboard and its interface. The Dashboard is used as the 360's own selection of menus, which are divided by slides that you access by pressing left or right on the controller or remote (provided you have one). There are five slides that make up the Dashboard: System, Media, Games, Xbox Live and the update added Marketplace slide. There's plenty to access from the Dashboard and its several menus, but it's very easy to find what you want to. Plugging in your MP3 player and listening to the music off of it while you play games is easy as one, two, three and the Xbox Live selection of downloads is also very organized. It's a creative idea and the Dashboard turns out to be one of the 360's strongest attributes (and it's more creative than the rehashed PSP menu interface on the Playstation 3).
Now for the games and accessories, which are probably what make the 360 a stand-out console. There are several games, and the release of Halo 3 is nearly upon us, which puts the 360 in a great position as far as games are concerned. The game selection is both large and great, with titles like Gears of War, Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter, BioShock, and The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion already making a big splash in the water along with Halo 3, Mass Effect, Lost Odyssey, Too Human and Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare looking to make the experience even better, the 360's definitely got the goods to make it last. With the accessories, there's a few good options, although they're nearly as good or robust as the games. The main attraction for accessories would have to be the $150 steering wheel (which comes with Project Gotham Racing 3) and the Guitar Hero II controllers, which are both great products respectively. While there are other accessories like the HD-DVD drive (King Kong HD-DVD movie included) and larger hard drives, it's a bit of a shame there aren't a few more reliable and necessary add-ons.
Speaking of the HD-DVD player, it's only an add-on, none of the four 360 SKU's come with it. If you're interested in purchasing it, the player costs an extra $200. This may make the 360 seem like a less-than advanced console than the PS3 (which it is in a sense), it's nice to have the choice in whether you want to buy an HD player with it or not (unlike the PS3 which you have to buy it as it is with the Blu-ray player included). However, for you HD junkies out there, the 360 does fall short of what you might expect. The main reason behind this is that the games aren't available in HD. While you can hook your 360 up to an HDTV to get the optimal experience (and in a few cases the only way to get a great experience, like Dead Rising's text issue), the games are played in DVD-9 rather than HD-DVD. So, when considering the HD-DVD player add-on, you'll want to reconsider and ask yourself if the $200 is worth it if you can only watch movies in HD but not movies. Whatever route you go I leave as a choice for your taking.
So with all this in mind, the 360 sounds like a system with only minor faults and one that you should rush out and purchase ASAP. However, the 360 has several issues that ultimately amount to one huge Achilles Heel: the factor of reliability. As far as unreliable consoles, the 360 could quite possibly be the worst in history; this IS including the PS2. Just to give you a realistic idea of how "reliable" this console is, have a look at the list of issues I alone have encountered:
-Three Flashing Red Lights "Red Rings of Death" (system failure)
-Prompted updates from Xbox Live causing the system to freeze up frequently and possibly cause the Red Rings issue.
-Consistent freezing only on certain games (works for Guitar Hero and Oblivion, but freezes on Saints Row, BioShock, Forza Motorsport 2 and DiRT).
-Having to download a single demo as many as three or four times to actually be able to play it without the system freezing.
-Downloaded videos from Xbox Live Marketplace randomly freezing at certain points.
-Screen goes black, Dashboard slide sound can be heard but nothing shows on screen, hitting the eject button brings you back to the Dashboard (essentially, the game technically freezes but the system doesn't).
And that's not even naming most of the issues that you'll read about in several other areas. Where the PS2 primarily had the "Disc Read Error" issue, the 360 has so many awkward and unforgivable issues that it maks a purchase of one rather scary. While you might hear that the failure rate of 360's is about 33%, the amount of people you'll encounter who say they've had no issues and have owned theirs for over six months is going to be exceedingly slim. For me, the longest one of my 360's has lasted was just under a full year, the other two I've had lasted six months (the first) and six weeks (the second). And no, there have been no adjustments made to the hardware to make the system work. Instead, Microsoft has treated us to extended warranties that basically replace broken systems with systems that'll eventually break. Oh, and they took the time to add HDMI outputs to the 360's but not any means to make the hardware more reliable.
There's a great system, an excellent one in the 360 and really, it's a great system through and through. However, until the technical issues are finally resolved, it's simply a purchase that may want to be reconsidered, even if the system has Halo 3. If you think luck is on your side to get a 360 that won't eventually break, go ahead and spend a few hundred dollars on this bad boy, just do so with caution.