Xbox360 impressions about two years too late

I dropped by a friend’s place last night and new to his collection in a Sony 52 inch rear projection LCD screen and an Xbox 360.

I’ve never been a console gamer but I really decided to give the thing a go.

First up I was really unimpressed with the HD on his TV. He has an awesome TV but everything looked a little fuzzy in Crackdown and Gears Of War.

Viva Pinata and Fight Night 3 looked better but I would think that a AAA title like Gears Of War would look better. The motion blur made a murky ugly as hell game even worse and the frame rate was dodgy at times as well. Gears Of War has a completely unintuitive control scheme that was just awful.

At least Crackdown was a little easier to control even though the HD still looked unimpressive.

All in all I’m not impressed by the 360. Is the PS3 as ugly?

Was he running the 360 in HD through HDMI/component, or was it going through s-video/composite?

Yeah, it sounds like he didn’t have it hooked up properly, or possibly didn’t set the 360 for HD. It should look just as good as a PC monitor in ~1280x720 or 1920x1080, since that’s pretty much what it is.

Seriously, his setup is messed up.

He is generally pretty clued up about these things and I didn’t have the heart to tell him his brand new setup looked a bit shit. Next time I’ll ask him what cables he is using. I’d like to see that setup running properly.

If it’s a rear-projection @ 52", it’s probably a Grand Wega rather than an SXRD set. It will look fuzzier than a monitor.

Gears of War looks fucking gorgeous on my 24" Dell LCD, FWIW.

But I agree about the control scheme, but I figured it was just because I hadn’t figured it out yet (only played for about 2 hours so far). Can you really not jump in that game? The only way I’ve found to go over obstacles is to use them as cover, then flip over them, which is workable at best. I just find it difficult to go into/out of cover whenever I want to, but I just figured it was a case of Bad Brain rather than something inherent in the control system. Hmmm…

I prefer having no jump in Gears if only to eliminate the bunny hopping that goes on in Halo.

Someone described it as horizontal platforming. It really gives you the feeling of keeping your head down as you move around the war zone. The context sensitivity of it is kind of annoying but you get used to it. Plus the lack of bunny hopping is definitely a bonus.

And your friend’s setup is definitely messed up, Gears looks fantastic on my 42" DLP.

There are times that I miss the ability to jump in some of the games. Then I go and play something that allows it and get annoyed with the hyperactive rabbits that have taken the place of combat soldiers.

It shouldn’t look dramatically fuzzier, though. Even those old sets looked great running HD content. I’m gonna go with “wrong cables”, too.

There are a lot of gripes about the 360, but ugly games usually isn’t one of them. Especially not the ones mentioned. Gears of War is a gorgeous game.

Actually, I can’t disagree with you more. IMHO, Gears has one of the best control systems for a TPS I’ve ever played. SWAT turns and the roadie run are brilliant. Also, it’s supposed to be a much slower and tactical game than your typical twitch FPS.

And thank God there’s no bunny jumping. Those stupid excessive side rolls could do with some tweaking though.

Whoops, wrong topic, dummy §

I’d say Gears is still the best looking game out on a console right now. Dirt and Motorstorm being some close contenders.

I’ll jump on the bandwagon about your friends setup. First, that 52", being rear projection, will look fuzzier than a LCD or plasma. Second, I sit 12 feet away from a 50" plasma and using component cables my games are crystal clear. Emphasis on the crystal.

As for the controls and whatnot, you may or may not like them but they do grow on you quickly. After the first game using a controller you’re comfortable. After the third, it’s like an extension of your hand. And the control schemes are pretty similar game to game so it becomes MUCH easier over time.

With the amount of great stuff to play on the 360, for me it comes down to “do I want to sit on the couch tonight or sit in the computer room.” And I still consider myself a big “PC gamer” despite how much i love my 360.

CliffyB says that Bionic Commando is a big influence in the movement design. Which sounds weird, until you realize that, yea, the A-button does pretty much extend out, attach to a cover point, and then pull you in like a crazy Doc-Ock tentacle.

He also talked about how they played a bunch of paintball and realized just how much the whole run/jump mechanic that had become prevalent in FPS didn’t jive with you you really move when you’re fighting other humans with guns.

Gears of War definitely gets that paintball feeling right. The only thing I get a little tired of is the over the shoulder viewpoint. It just makes it too hard to aim and when combined with the host advantage in online games, it can make you pretty unhappy playing others.

All rear projection sets are technically going to be fuzzier than a flat panel direct LCD or Plasma set, but not enough to matter much. My 56" DLP is razor sharp, it’s the whole reason I bought it - as a giant htpc monitor that I could easily read a web page or ssh session off of. Course these days prices have dropped so much on Plasmas I would probably pick up a 58" if I was in the market atm.

If your friends set was a CRT rear projection, then yah, I would believe your complaints. But you said it was an LCD rear projection, which should be crystal clear. I can bitch about LCD rear projection all day, but I would never call it muddy or anything but sharp. Toss me in the “he wasn’t using component or vga cables” category or he left it on 480i. On a properly configured HD set the 360 can put out some amazing visuals. Kameo still amazes me to this day, goofy art aside.

Same thing with the PS3. I know people who have an awesome TV, knew enough to buy the right cables, but never adjusted it off the 480i. It’s always good for a laugh to tell them it looks like shit, have them bluster, then throw the magic switch to 720p/1080p. Watching their jaw bounce off the floor is usually priceless.

I like Gears, but I’m not that enamoured with the graphics -everything is too closed-in and claustaphobic. The character models are obviously great, but even on the console, I think the open vistas of Oblivion’s graphics are more impressive.

Apparently he is running with HDMI.

Also, The reason I’m picking on Gears Of War’s control scheme is that Crackdown was pretty easy to pick up and play even for someone with no console playing experience while the viewpoint/camera and controls of Gears Of War were just difficult. Before anyone else says it, I will admit that it might just be that I suck.