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Last Updated: Wednesday December 14 2005 14:10 GMT

Console review: Xbox 360


Release date

2 December

Price
209 for the basic package, 279 version includes 20GB hard drive, wireless controller, headset and remote control.

What's new?

Xbox 360 is the first of the new batch of consoles to hit the market, and it's much more powerful than the first Xbox.

It's sleeker than the original, with a shiny white finish that makes it look much nicer in your bedroom or lounge.

It also hooks up easily to other devices like cameras and MP3 players, as makers Microsoft hope it will be kind of general entertainment centre rather than just a games machine.

All that new power does have one downside - it needs noisy whirring fans to keep it cool, which can ruin the atmosphere of some quieter games.

Graphics

As you might expect, it's got the best graphics of any console out at the moment, by a long way.

Plug it into a high-definition TV and things get even better to look at.

Online

The console comes with a free Silver account, which allows you to download previews and buy some games from Microsoft's online store, Marketplace.

But if you want to play against other people, you'll have to pay for an upgrade to a Gold account.

There are good security features to keep you safe online, and getting together with your cyber-pals is quite easy.

Controller

Basically the same as the smaller original Xbox controller, but with a couple more buttons. Comfortable to hold, and a bit more sensitive.

The wireless controllers on the more expensive version are a nice touch too.

Games

This is what will make or break the 360 - no matter how good the console is, if the games are rubbish, there's no reason to get it.

And it's here that the new console stumbles. All the games are basically prettier versions of stuff we've seen before.

At the moment, there's not a really outstanding game that would make you pester your parents to fork out the 300 for a new console.

That could all still change, and with all that power, the 360 has a lot of potential left unfulfilled.

Hit or miss

A hit. It's a great update on the Xbox, with wireless controllers and loads more power.

But a lack of top-flight games might mean you should hold off getting one for a few months.

NR rating:


Do you have an Xbox 360?

It is wicked! I could of queued for years for this diamond geezer!
Michael, 10, Arnold

You must be joking? 279 for a console which offers no new next generation features other then improved graphics!
Wesley, 13, Middlesbrough




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