: X-Box, My Opinion.

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X-Box, My Opinion.

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  Right now Microsoft says that the X-Box DVD will be out of the box, but that was a lie, they stated at the CES show that you will need to buy an activation remote control of some sort, for whatever reason and price, and I find that ridiculous. The hard-drive that is built into the X-Box may not be upgradeable since it is inside the console, and you can only store 8 gigs on it, while the PS2's HDD you will be able to store anywhere from 20-30 gigs, that's a whopping difference eh? Broadband will also have to be bought separately unlike Microsoft said prior to the unveiling and no, a modem will not be included either. The X-Box features four controller ports, which are NOT, USB ports, but modified USB ports, so regular USB products cannot be used, like they can be on the PS2 without any installation. Did I also mention that future PS2 sports games will support digital cameras through a USB port, with this you can take a picture of yourself and paste your face on a custom created athlete, maybe in FIFA 2002, NBA Live 2002, Madden 2002 or even WWF Smackdown. With no USB ports comes no fire-wire port for multi-link hook up between two X-Boxes and two TVs, like there can be with the Playstation 2. The back of the console features a huge fan in the back to prevent overheating problems, and only three ports, one for AV, other for the power cable, and the other for the modem wire hook-up. 

  The 3rd party support of the X-Box is almost as good as the PS2's, in fact almost every single developer has signed on the X-Box that has developed for the PSOne and will be developing for the PS2, except SquareSoft. If X-Box gets no SquareSoft it is very unlikely that the console will succeed as far as RPG gaming goes, because remember Nintendo 64 had decent 3rd party support but flopped mainly because Square wasn't available. Nintendo still has Namco (Ridge Racer 64), Konami, Electorinic Arts/Sports, Rockstar, Activision, Acclaim and so on and so forth. Notice how because Square had no part in this, Nintendo fell behind and never reclaimed their spot, it's a shame because if N64 had used CDs, the console would have most likely be number one. At the moment the current line-up of X-Box games is less than impressive, it consists mostly of PC ports and re-hashed games from the previous generation. Games like Blade of Darkness 2, Dragon's Lair 3D, The Devil Inside, and 1906: Antarctic Odyssey are all PC ports and frankly neither of them am I excited about. Although I am interested to see Halo, Oddworld and this updated version of Tony Hawk, called Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2x. Then we have the console ports so it's pretty much been there done that, with games like SSX, Tomb Raider, Silent Hill X, Metal Gear X (which we still don't know whether it is the original or sequel), Madden, and the other EA Sports games so I can't really say I'm envious of any of those games since the PS2 has either gotten them or will be getting very soon. As far as I am concerned Microsoft will pretty much never come close to what Sony has or will give us, such as the Gran Turismo series, The Legend of Dragoon (which should see a sequel soon for PS2), Dark Cloud, Twisted Metal series, and the Syphon Filter series, that has its third game in development for the PS2 as well.

  From what I can tell you folks, I was excited about the revelation of the X-Box hoping it would look as promising as it sounded. But I was disappointed when Microsoft showed the final design of the console, and the features that the console offers are weak, but Microsoft makes them sound huge. The built in 8 gig hard-drive may not even be expandable since it is inside the console, in order for the DVD to work you have to buy a special activation remote control, other wise no Matrix or X-Men on your X-Box. I also feel that the incredibly easy method of developing is a disadvantage rather than an advantage, the Sega Dreamcast is a very easy to develop tool and yet all of their games have pretty much the exact same quality in detail (but DC games still look good though), that is because the console isn't very deep to get into. Much like the DC, the X-Box could quite possibly suffer from the same threat, if it is as easy to develop for as Microsoft says, then developers will quickly dive into the system's power and bring us visual detail that will never evolve as time goes by, therefore will be dated material. Meanwhile the PS2 may be a hard system to understand, which it isn't anymore, the visuals will always evolve, amaze Sony fans, while X-Box owners will never feel the power of visual evolution like we PS2 and original PSOne fans will or have. Remember the Nintendo 64? It was supposed to be easy to develop for and it was, and looked what happened, all of the visuals on every game share the same quality level, Zelda 64 and Zelda: Majora's Mask had no difference at all, and there was a 2 year span between each game. But the PSOne was more difficult to program for and companies were able to make games look better and better as time went by, Final Fantasy, Gran Turismo and Crash Bandicoot series are perfect examples.

  This whole editorial is what I think of the X-Box personally, and there is nothing you can do or say for me to change my thoughts on the topic. Also at the CES show, all Bill Gates and his little buddy talked about were visuals, not once did they mention anything about innovative gameplay, because they know that the other consoles can do it as well, just not as flashy as the X-Box can. And if you ask me it seems as if there is no real innovation in anything around the X-Box, controller, games, system, and etc. Take Tony Hawk 2x for example, a Neversoft rep said that they will change the game around so that you can interact with every object on screen, but the current version of the game already does that, and why should we care about little visual changes that make an injury look more realistic, it is all in the gameplay, and the fact is that developers have nothing innovative to throw at the X-Box and are pretty much testing it with older products, to see how well it does, maybe then the real deal is released, depending if the launch is successful or not. Remember folks this is all strictly my opinion and not the truth! 

  What's the deal with the hard-drive too? It is supposed to eliminate loading times, but I've said it before and I'll say it again, "I don't care about loading times"! First Nintendo ranted on how the 64 will eliminate loading times, but no one cared, and now Microsoft is doing the same, if you ask me this hard-drive may very likely be for bulking up the price and downloading patches for games that haven't even finished the testing cycle. If I may use this quote from Daily Radar, it features J. Allard (leader of the X-Box team) answering a question about the price of the X-Box and here's what his reply was: "Does the PS2 come with a massive hard drive and broadband adapter?" The fact is although the PS2 may not come with a "massive" hard-drive, you will soon be able to purchase a hard-drive that holds three times the capacity of the X-Box's hard-drive, 20-30 gigs compared to only 8 gigs, go figure. I had incredibly, and I mean incredibly high hopes about the X-Box's potential, but now my thoughts of it are nothing more than the next Panasonic 3DO or Jaguar, it is sad because if Microsoft didn't rush into this business and took some time with their console design, made an innovative controller, maybe even make the X-Box harder to dive into so that visual presentation evolves, and gathered up a better list of 'been there done that' games, the X-Box could have been great, but it may not be and frankly I'm just disappointed. I'm pretty sure that in 2001 the Playstation 2 will out sell every console by far, and Nintendo will be taking in good numbers with their new GameCube, which I must say I have changed my mind about, and am anticipating the release of it because of games like Too Human, Luigi, Zelda, and especially Metroid. Drop me a line of what you think of the X-Box and I'll post them on a special letters page specific for X-Box replies.

1/11/2001 SolidSnake

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