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Aaron N. Tubbs

Dragon chaser.

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I feel like there’s something wrong with admitting this, but I really like my recently won xbox 360, at least in theory. The whole subscription-based gaming model makes an awful lot of sense, and it’s novel being able to download demos, and after some fighting, I’ve managed to get it to cooperate with my wireless network. The wireless controllers just work and work great at range, and the control sensitivity feels great. I haven’t tried the bundled headset yet, but the integration into the controller is awful novel. When it comes right down it, it’s priceless to be able to sit on the couch, 15 feet away from the TV, without a haphazard assortment of wires stretched across the room.

I wish there were more free arcade games, as the little micropayment system kind of bugs me, but I suppose everybody has to make a buck. I’m still miffed by the idea that a console doesn’t actually come with games these days, and after somebody dumps a half grand on a box, they have to go and spend another $60 to get the firs game. I’ll live on demos and borrowed disk for the time being, thanks. I think the best way to fix this is to inject a little bit of credits into one’s account every time they achieve something (say 1 game achievement = 1 credit, so we’re not talking anything substantial), or every month a live subscriber should get a certain number of credits, but that’s just me. I just figure if one ends up having to pay for live service every month anyhow, the benefits should be a little richer. Oh, and bundle a killer game for the platform, please!

But, like anything, this nifty hardware is nothing without some good software, and this brings us to our next problem. Call of Duty 2 is pretty cool; I’ve borrowed that and am playing through it now … I’m adapting to FPS without the use of the mouse better than I expected. Apparently the table tennis game is quite exciting, but I’ve not tried that yet.

But the bummer for me is that there are no good racing games. All of them fall into one of two camps: The first is the crime, drifting, guns, choreographed crash, and street cred racing game, which has no pretense of realism, but focuses instead on stunts, explosions, crime, running over pedestrians, and police avoidance. The second camp is the traditional racing game … but every demo I’ve downloaded has a physics model about as accurate as an Atari. I can do all sorts of stupid shit, like trail brake into a corner, pop the ebrake, slam on the gas, and execute a brilliant drift at 150 mph into the next s-curve. Or, I can swerve hard, screw up my weight balance, and a little nudge of the wheel and I’m running like an arrow down the racetrack. Maybe I just need to wait for Forza 2, and I’ll go ahead and try Forza in emulation mode, but the lack of a good driving sim is a big weakness for me.

Oblivion looks interesting, but I’m sort of scared about the prospect of being involved in more than one RPG at a time. I may try and see somebody else playing it, to see if it’s worth heading down that road. What I guess I’m getting at is, this deep into this platform’s lifetime with no real competitors, why are there only about 20 titles of note out for the platform? I mean, everything looks really nice on a 50" HDTV at 1080i, but all the pretty graphics in the world don’t make for a great experience alone, otherwise George Lucas would be able to make movies worth watching.