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Which Console Did You Buy/Receive Over The Holidays?

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Game Profile
Xbox 360
GENRE: First Person Shooter
PLAYERS:   1-32
November 22, 2005
Perfect Dark

Perfect Dark

Perfect Dark

Condemned: Criminal Origins
Perfect Dark Zero
 Written by Nick Doukas  on November 22, 2005

Specials: Next gen gaming has arrived?

After much anticipation, preorders, fanboy ravings, Internet speculation and worries about shortages, the Xbox 360 has finally arrived. It was cold and raining last night here in New York, but after an hour or so of waiting with about 15 other gamers eager for their next gen fix, I was rewarded with a 360, play & charge kit, and copies of Perfect Dark Zero and Condemned: Criminal Origins. Hey, even gaming journalists are not always privy to free gear. We actually only got one 360 unit from Microsoft here at GT, and that one goes to the boss. So with my retail unit in hand I arrived home to hook up my new baby to the 50? HD plasma while trying not to wake my wife up in the process. So, after playing PDZ and Condemned until 5:30 this morning, here I sit bleary-eyed at 9:30am, exhausted but happy and excited. Does the 360 deliver? So far, it delivers in spades?.

So, between talking to my Live buddies over the past ten hours or so as everyone trickled in with their new purchase and hopped online, I've been feverishly playing Perfect Dark Zero ? both single player and multi. In a word ? amazing. Oh sure, it has a few blemishes and minor issues, but as Xbox 360's flagship shooter, it's a fantastic technical and artistic endeavor and a return to form for Rare. I've only managed a few minutes of Condemned so far, but my God what an incredible looking game! Beautiful texture and bump mapping that brings every surface to convincing life, and lighting that puts Splinter Cell to shame, Condemned is a visual tour de force for the 360 launch. Its incredible atmosphere lends frightening authenticity to the gloomy proceedings as you attempt to hunt down the serial killer known only as ?The Match Maker?. I'm looking forward to getting into this once the sun goes down tonight ? of course, I have a lot of multiplayer PDZ to get to as well, so it looks like we may have another all-nighter here folks?.

Ok, where was I? I just disappeared into PDZ for two hours again there ? deadlines be damned, it's just that addicting. The shooting mechanics and guns are simply spot on perfect, and it's extremely satisfying to pop out from cover and execute fools with a vengeance. The production values are polished to a fine sheen and the textures and character models are pixel perfect in hi-definition. There's just too much to take in so soon, and with so little sleep. I'll have more impressions of the PD multiplayer next week, and fellow GT editor Glenn Wigmore will have his impressions on Friday, as well as his take on the hardware, Call of Duty 2 and Kameo so check back with us as we update regularly.

As far as the system itself ? well, it's clearly an incredibly powerful machine, and the media features it sports are nothing short of astounding. You can pause your game and use the ?ring of light? button to call up your friends list, send invites, or chat and you'll always have the option of going right back to playing. Everything on the dashboard is integrated smoothly and the blades are simple and intuitive to navigate through. The sleeker design of the 360 is a welcome addition to any home theater, and the wireless controllers are a dream come true. Nicely balanced, comfortable and ergonomically perfect, the 360 controller is a solid evolution. Downloads through the 360 Marketplace, full media center functionality and the console even turns off your wireless controller once it's been idle for a specified period of time ? how's that for service? Overall this is a nicely designed piece of hardware that produces some of the most incredible visuals you've seen yet ? and this is just the beginning. If the launch titles look this good, what kind of gaming ambrosia are we in for come 2006 with Gears of War and Oblivion hitting shelves? Trust me, once you've hit the parking garage at the beginning of the third mission in Perfect Dark Zero, you'll be blown away at the previously unattainable texture detail the game displays running in 720p. You can almost reach out and touch it?

Well, that's about all I can muster right now as my eyes are starting to glue themselves involuntarily shut. I need some sleep if I'm going to frag all night tonight, so stay tuned for Glenn's impressions Friday and more on PDZ's multiplayer next week?plus anything else about the system that strikes our fancy.

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