(the one who got me a 360)
Well, you'll be glad to know dear play chums that my 360 malaise has passed. It didn't actually take that much to beat it. Thankfully my procurement of a 360 wasn't as hard fought or traumatic as our very own Hargosh's. I didn't pre-order, I didn't research e-bay auctions and I definitely didn't stand in the rain. But I think we'll all applaud Hargosh for his dedication.
The week of the UK launch approached and my malaise was still hanging over me like a heavy cloud. I had pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I wouldn't have my hands on a 360 before Christmas and so might as well leave the purchasing until DOA 4 came out.
I hadn't figured on the tenacity of my friend Woods. There were three of us putting certain irons in fires to try and secure a last minute delivery. I had one long shot. A friend had pre-ordered at Game and HMV and if they both came in I'd be guaranteed the other. He was one of 16 people who got the call from HMV on Thursday to say he'd got one.
On Tuesday one of our trio had secured his box. And by Wednesday evening Woods had secured one of his, but was waiting to see if his other contacts would come up trumps for me. He was almost certain I'd have a 360 the next day.
And then I had a moment of madness. I actually almost called Woods back and told him I didn't want the machine!! I know!? But it was a strong bout of anti-next gen fever.
I figured that the launch line up wasn't all that and I could do without buying a present for me just before Christmas. I mean isn't it supposed to be the season of good will to others? Not"ooh another present for me, for being so me and great!
The one thing that stopped me would be Woods utter disbelief and disappointment if I didn't take the machine. It would have been heart-breaking.
By Thursday morning, the TV and radio was full of 360 frenzy stories and I was feeling a gentle buzz of excitement at being one of the lucky few. I got the call that my box had arrived and I could pick it up. I was out on Thursday evening, so finally went to get it on Friday evening. There was a manic rush to the store before it closed to secure myself a copy of Kameo and I was set. Phew!
My malaise has now well and truly lifted and I spent a large chunk of the weekend playing Kameo. I'm sorry, but I've got to disagree with our Mr Hargosh, but PGR is not the most gorgeous game on 360. I've seen PGR and yes it looks amazing, but it's not really that much more than we've seen before in driving games.
Kameo on the other hand is outstanding. The graphics are so solid it's truly incredible. The figures look so three dimensional that you could think it's claymation. The textures are so reach-out-and-touchable they have to be seen to be believed. The lighting effects are magical and the fabled mountainside full of trolls is breathtaking.
Riding through an army of trolls on the back of a beautifully realised horse reminds me why I play games.
Although, when it comes to jaw-dropping graphics, it's got to be the sweat, of all things, on EA's NBA Live title. Oh my effing god! The graphics are so realistic it's kind of disturbing. The player likenesses; even down to the differences in the texture of their hair and their skin is frankly, unbelievable. We all sat, slack-jawed and speechless. I've never seen such convincing sweat before – and that's not something you get to say every day.
I do agree with Hargosh though, the first line of games is impressive and things are only going to get better. So roll on DOA4 and Elder Scrolls, ooh and Too Human"oh and (just one more) Halo 3 of course!!
As for the machine itself, it makes the original Xbox feel like a prototype. This is a much more finished product, which actually feels like a design team had something to do with it. It's fairly slinky, curvy and white, as all consumer electronics should be these days. PCs go black and everything else goes white – it's a topsy turvy world we live in kids.
I haven't plugged into Live yet, but seeing it in action on another machine it's completely intuitive and user friendly. The only thing I'm hoping for is some MMOG action in future, rather than just Live enabled features on otherwise offline games.
Unfortunately, NCsoft, publisher of Guild Wars and City of Heroes and Villains has pulled out of plans to develop for 360. Incredibly, they're claiming that Microsoft isn't committed enough to the online side of things, which I find hard to believe. Needless to say, I'm disappointed, being a Villains and Heroes devotee. However, maybe this will leave the way clear for somebody else to develop a killer MMOG for the 360, if only to convert my boyfriend to console gaming.
Most played: Kameo
Most wanted: DOA4