I've had a little bit of time to test out my 360, about 2 weeks now, and I thought: "Why not do a review of it"? I know I've never done a review for anything here. I have plenty of opinion pieces. I have a couple of speculation articles. I even have a couple of dreaded lists. But I've never, ever reviewed anything before. Here's my first one, don't be too rough on me about it. Now the only question is...What do I think? I like it. Mostly.

First the hardware itself. I like the look of the console. It has some pretty smooth lines and looks nice next to my PS3. I, of course, bought the elite model to match the rest of my hardware. I don't care too much for the chromed out disc tray, the only feature on the case that I think they could do away with. Why couldn't they make it match the color of the console? The controllers are also a good fit with the console. The black and gray color is great and I do like color coded buttons, they really stand out that way. I also like the size of the controllers (in fact, I like the size better then my undeniably great Dual Shock 3). The button placement seems pretty good. I don't understand the offset sticks, but it doesn't effect the gameplay. I like the feel of the triggers and the shoulder buttons. The only problem I have with my controller is the right trigger makes a damn squeaking sound on occasion. On the plus side, I haven't had any problems with the much reviled D-pad, yet.

Upon power-up the machine works very well. The blades come up very quickly and connects to Live just as well. Navigating the blades is easy. I didn't have any problems finding what I wanted. Upon entering the marketplace things got a lot less friendly. The descriptions of the games leave a lot wanting. Another thing I would love to see is previews of the gamer pics and themes before they are purchased. At this point it's a crap shoot. You may like it, you may not. The problem is you won't know until you pay for it. This is an area that I've read a lot about over the last few months that has been identified as a problem. So why hasn't it been fixed? We don't know, but here's one possible solution.

Playing a game in the drive is one area I have a problem with. As soon as I start a game the 360's incredibly loud fan kicks in. It actually drowns out the sound from my TV. But that is a minor annoyance, the sound fades into the background after a while. Games run smooth, with no problems. The controllers are responsive and are comfortable even after using for hours at a time. The hard drive is efficient and relatively quiet. I hear it every once in a while, but it's not as distracting as the fan is. As far as graphics performance goes, Mass Effect looks really good, but that's more to the credit of the developer and not the hardware. I can't compare the graphics to my PS3 because I don't have the same title for both consoles, and honestly, I really don't care. I'll get a game based on the story and gameplay, not necessarily graphics.

I think that covers just about everything. As you just read, I think the 360 is a good console with a lot of potential. It does have one or two...quirks, but nothing that will keep me from playing it. I've played through Mass Effect and I plan on picking up the first Halo game this month. If I'm going to start with the Xbox, I might as well start from the best and the beginning. One of these days I'll have to pick-up the wireless adapter so I can get a dedicated connection for Live. Eventually, I'll see you all online.



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