GW: Going Multiplatform

Here at TSA we recently started talking about the Xbox360. It’s nice to see that we’re not the only ones who enjoy a multiplatform gaming experience. In this Guest Writer feature TSA member Shrimp3h talks us through the reasoning, unboxing, setup and future of his multiplatform experience.

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First of all let’s set the scene, I’m a PS3 owner always have been and in all likelihood will always regard it as number 1. So imagine my surprise when casually browsing the net looking for stuff to waste my hard earned money on, I started looking at prices for an Xbox 360. So now that your imagining a relatively surprised PS3 owner sitting at his computer, further build on the image by imagining said dork finding he could buy a 60gb Xbox with an extra controller and four (yes four) games for 166 pounds, that’s just mental compared to the £425 with 1 game and 1 controller I paid for my PS3. By this time my mouth had dropped and eyes were bulging at the thought of exciting new technology. I promptly reserved the bundle online, jumped into my car and drove like a crazy man to get there before they realised they had made some kind of pricing mistake. Once I got the console things weren’t looking so good, all 4 games had been destined to not even see the light of day before being traded for some essentials e.g. Halo. This was hampered by the fact that they all had massive BUNDLE logos across them and no barcodes which ruled out trading them in. If anyone wants Kung Fu Panda and Lego Indiana Jones let me know. I ended up playing Sega Superstars Tennis, it wasn’t great but a good laugh with 4 players and to be honest I reckon I would probably quite enjoy PGR4 if I ever get around to opening the packaging.

Now my main reasoning behind the impulse buy was that all my friends at home have one and are, for want of a better way of describing them, massive gaming geeks. This in my mind meant awesome fps sessions and more importantly not having to buy a single RPG ever as they have a huge archive of games between them such as the vast majority of all the Squenix releases just sitting there gathering dust as they refuse to get rid of them on the off chance of sometime playing through them again (oh did I mention I’m a huge RPG fan). Now it turned out only 1 of them pays for Live so the first reason for getting a 360 was out the window, but not to worry I still had a wealth of games to borrow, and this was exciting, none of my mates at uni have a console and we will get onto my friends from work later needless to say they don’t have any games I would want to borrow, so this was uncharted territory in the latest generation of gaming for me.

On setting the console up I realised how big everything is, the power pack is just a monster is there really any need for it to be so big? Someone please tell me. The composite lead was huge as well. And it made me feel like the thing I was plugging in was some kind of caged beast just waiting for a small connector to be plugged in so it could annihilate it.

I turned it on and was instantly impressed by how clean and clear the first time setup interface was, my display was in 720p and I was online without having to do a thing. My only gripe was that I couldn’t see an option for the keyboard to be in QWERTY and it took me a few seconds longer to create a Live account than it should have done. Syncing the controllers was a breeze (I had a friend bring 2 of his to add to the party) no cables for these bad boys oh no just a simple press of a button. And that was it the 360 was ready to game.

The first thing I did was head over to the marketplace to check it out, you could say I’m a bit of a PS store aficionado and love the quality of games we receive on our lovely store with about 30 cluttering my XMB. Now while I was browsing through I noticed ‘Castle Crashers’ somewhere, hell it could have been anywhere as I didn’t have a clue how to navigate around in any sensible fashion and found myself pining for the simple PSN store interface, while wildly flipping through pages upon pages of games. This is a game I’ve literally heard a tonne of good stuff about from an acquaintance at uni (one of those people you’re not really friends with but you can’t get rid of) who I would go as far as saying would sleep with the games creators. I thought now is as good as time as any to buy it especially as there was 4 of us sat around the telly and I’d heard it was supposedly great multiplayer. Why not splash a little money on the marketplace as I’d got such a bargain I thought. This is where things got even more confusing and I wanted my regular store back; suffice to say I’m not a fan of change. The MS points. Possibly the most awkward currency in the world. Castle Crashers 1200MSP. The multiples you can buy points in 1000, 2000 or 5000. I’m now stuck with 800points as the only other game I’ve heard of that comes close to the quality of stuff we have over in camp PS3 is Braid and I bought that on Steam months ago (can I just say it’s great). So if anyone’s got any star buys for 800points hit me up with suggestions.

Enough about that lets talk game-play Castle Crashers is the most fun to be had with 3 other guys since that first time you played Mario Kart 64. Even better though women can play it, and not just gamer women, standard never really been interested in a game before, you guys are such geeks women. Only a handful of games can manage this LBP is one and Mario Kart is another, there’s probably more but I can’t think of them off the top of my head.

Moving back to the core reason for this article: Migrating Xbox accounts, boy does it take a long time approximately 25mins for a friend with 10k gamer points and about 15 for a friend with 3k. Also not a recommended activity if your Xbox at home isn’t online as a friend of my mine lost over 1000 gamer points, and I definitely couldn’t begin to touch upon the phrases that came out of his mouth over the wasted hours (roughly 70) he’d spent on Star Ocean. Once you have got past the initial “oh god its taking ages lets switch on the PS3 and have blast on Bomberman” stage though, it’s a pretty solid service.

My first hour with my new purchase was incredible from plugging in the chunky connectors that made me feel like the console had a ridiculous near illegal amount of power, to blissful initial setup, to wireless controller syncing, to effortless gaming. The Xbox just reeked of pure gaming enjoyment. And the next hour upon hour I felt the same thing, this was a console designed with the gamer in mind. All of which leads sharply onto my conclusion.

I’m sure most avid PS3 fans were looking for me to rip all over the Xbox with its lack of Blu-ray etc. But I’m just giving my initial impressions and that is that it was worth every penny. I’m not going to pay for live as I have a PlayStation for COD, KZ2 and anything else I play online and I have a strong friend group to play with in the form of work mates that literally don’t play anything but modern warfare, and the TSA community. I’m not going to become an achievement whore as I’m already a trophy whore. I’m not going to love and cherish it as much as my PS3. I’m going to call RT, R2 and A, X. But I am going to enjoy it for what it is, a quality gaming machine. I’ve already had 20 hours of game-play out of it from just Castle Crashers and Saint Row 2. Let’s not even get started on Mass Effect, Lost Odyssey, Bioshock(yes I know it’s a travesty I haven’t played this yet), Halo 3 campaign, GOW, GOW2, Star Ocean and Psychonauts which are sitting on my shelf just itching for me to play them.

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