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Xbox 360 Games

Buying Guide
Console gaming has come a long way from the days of Pong and Atari. Havi...
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Buying Guide

Console gaming has come a long way from the days of Pong and Atari. Having the ability to play games with arcade like graphics in one’s home was once a dream. Now consoles have as much power if not more than some home computers.

The first console of the newest generation is the Xbox 360, released in 2005, Microsoft attempted to gain a strong foothold in the market by being the first system out of the gate. Featuring their touted online play service – Xbox Live and high end graphics, Microsoft was able to gain a sizable market share before Nintendo or Sony released their newest consoles.

The Xbox 360 probably has the best and most expansive library of games out of the three next gen systems, with games such as Oblivion, Dead Rising, Gears of War, BioShock, and of course Halo 3, they have a strong library of “killer app” games readily available.

Types of Games:
Probably the most popular genre is the FPS or First Person Shooter. This is probably the area where the Xbox 360 shines above all others. Games such as Halo 3, Call of Duty 4, Gears of War and Rainbow Six Vegas are great examples of exciting FPS experiences. With titles such as Gears of War 2 and Call of Duty 5: World at War, the Xbox 360 will be the home of killer FPS games.

Rhythm Games are probably the hottest genre around; the two major titles – Guitar Hero and Rock Band have dominated the market; by using plastic instruments to emulate their real counterparts, players must strike colored keys in rhythm to some of music’s greatest songs. Originally Guitar Hero was just a guitar oriented game, while Rock Band featured drums and vocals to give the player the true band experience, this past month featured the release of Rock Band 2 and the full band version of Guitar Hero dubbed – World Tour. With these games, the player can play with other people live or join with friends or strangers online to rock out. These games are truly a blast to play and are some of the best social party games around.

Action Role Playing is another popular genre, where the player lives the life of a character that evolves and grows as time progresses. These games are usually non-linear, meaning choices made in the game will affect the eventual outcome of events at the end, hurting the wrong person instead of helping will have consequences. One of the most popular 360 games in this genre is Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, it literally features over a hundred hours of game play. Mass Effect is another such game from the makers of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, one of the classic action role players on the original XBox. One of the most anticipated titles on the horizon if Fable 2, the follow up to another original Xbox title.

MMORPG or Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games are extremely popular in the PC realm, however, in the console world they are few and far between. Final Fantasy XI is the most well known iteration of this genre, based on the popular series from consoles past, it is the first cross platform MMORPG, allowing console players to interact with their PC counterparts.

In case you have been living under a rock, there is a game called - Grand Theft Auto IV, this is a member of the action game genre. Designed in a sandbox environment, GTA IV allows the player to explore the entire gamescape, featuring elements of a third person shooter and a racing game, it offers hours of endless action. Other members of this class include Splinter Cell: Double Agent, Dead Rising, Dead Space and Saint’s Row 1 + 2.

One thing that differentiates consoles from PCs is the use of a controller instead of a mouse and keyboard, this makes the console ideal for sports games. While sports games are pretty much the same across platforms, the 360 is the best console for them because of their Xbox Live platform. EA games such as the Madden, NHL, Tiger Woods and NBA series allow online play, in fact the latest NHL 09 features six on six online play.

The Xbox Live experience is subscription based, but it is the best online gaming service outside of the Steam system on the PC. Here player can buy games that are stored on the Xbox 360’s hard drives. Games found here include casual games such as Uno, Geometry Wars, and Texas Hold’Em. Classic arcade games such as PacMan, Frogger, Robotron and Scramble can be purchased from Xbox Live.

Buying brand new games is no small investment, most titles are $60 at release, so buying a title at its release can lead to disappointment if a title is all sizzle and no steak. Sometimes a title is hyped to death and once it comes out, people realize that it is repetitious, too difficult or worse, uninteresting. It is important to turn to resources such as here at TestFreaks, Gamespot or IGN for reviews from both professional writers and the general public.

We hope this summary provides a flavor of the offerings for the Xbox 360. Microsoft’s latest console has the biggest and most robust game library to date and there should be game genres for almost everyone.

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