We are in a golden age…
These past couple of years have brought use some of the most memorable titles in the history of gaming. Bioshock, Gears of War, and Call of Duty 4 to name a few, and with other awesome features such as achievements, online-gaming, and downloadable content, there has been no better time to be a gamer then right now. What still amazes me, however, is the quality of these games: Games that will immerse us into epic storylines. Games that will push our hardware to the limit, and games that will try new things to help keep gaming fresh. With so many good games to choose from, it’s hard to comprehend why everyone on earth doesn’t game. What I do understand though, is that the golden age hasn’t stopped, and there is no end in sight. This holiday will be one of the greatest ever for us gamers (especially 360 ones), and we here at TGR are going to give you some insight on what 360 gamers can expect throughout the rest of this year.
Reason 1: New Xbox Experience
One of the exciting things we all saw at E3 2008 was the New Xbox Experience. Microsoft first showed off the snazzy new dashboard at their press conference. At first glance, the creepy Mii-ish creatures caught our attention and we all had a bad feeling about where Microsoft was going. But then they showed us all the new features that would be coming with the new dashboard, anticipation mode begun. We’ll be getting party chat, we’ll be playing games off our hard drive, and we’ll even be able to take a part in Xbox Live primetime which feature game shows like 1 vs. 100 in which you can win real prizes. While the new ‘Avatars’ look like copies of Nintendo’s Miis, it still is looking like a cool feature to have, they’ll be appearing in some of our XBLA titles and will feature tons of different options that will keep your Avatar different from someone else’s. We have just barely scratched the surface here and the New Xbox Experience is looking like a welcome addition to our Xbox 360s.
Reason 2: Gears of War 2
The sequel that we’ve all been waiting for: Gears 2 is arguably the biggest game coming out this year, and it’s exclusive to us 360 gamers. The first game was a smash hit, receiving Game of the Year awards from several different magazines and sites. What’s more is Gears of War 2 will be bigger and better. Cliff Bleszinski (or Cliffy B) has promised us a more dramatic focus on the story line, epic battles, and updated graphics. New features such as chain saw duels, all the new ‘curb-stomp’ options and updated multiplayer will keep the game fresh and on top of that, we’ll also be getting some new weapons and a number of new, scarier enemies. No 360 gamer can pass up on this, with a release date of November 7th, Gears of War 2 couldn’t come soon enough.
Reason 3: Left 4 Dead
Left 4 Dead is Valve’s new project and the hottest looking zombie game around. Left 4 Dead is setting out to make co-op like it has never been before. Co-op is no longer going to be just a little boost of help from your friend, you’ll now need to stick together, covering each other’s back as the horde of zombie’s sprint towards you at full speed. If you get separated from the group you’re as good as dead because the zombies want your brains and you’ll be an easy target. Left 4 Dead might just be the best zombie game you’ll ever play, as long as you have some friends to play with. You’ll be able to tackle the brain-eating zombies starting November 20th, see you then.
Reason 4: Fable II
Set 500 years after the first game, Fable II takes the original’s formula and makes it better. Taking advantage of the 360’s capabilities, Fable II will feature a deep online co-op system. Letting you and your friends mess around in your world and their actions will actually affect your game, so keep an eye on your so-called ‘friends’ because they might just turn around and kill your in-game wife. Fable II will feature an epic story line (like the first game) and will let you ‘choose your path’. This allows you to make your own decisions and your actions determine whether or not you’ll be good or evil, making for an excellent opportunity for multiple play-throughs. We’ll all be playing Fable II on October 21st which isn’t too far out. But my friend better watch out, because I might just accidently kill their wives. (Kidding… or am I?!)
Reason 5: Exclusive Grand Theft Auto IV DLC
Microsoft was kind enough to snag us 360 gamers some exclusive DLC (downloadable content) for our crack-dealing, beer-drinking, murder fest we all know as Grand Theft Auto IV. In GTAIV we were immersed into a fantastic storyline, without argument, the best in the franchise and now we’ll be recieveing some more. While details are a little short, it is rumored that Niko Belic will not be featured in the DLC and the content will be arriving in time for Christmas. So parents out there, make sure you buy your kids some friendly, educational Grand Theft Auto IV DLC this holiday, I’m sure they’ll love it.
Reason 6: Price Cuts
If you still haven’t purchased a 360 yet (shame on you), now is the time to do so. With the prices lower then ever and a brand new 60 gig SKU on the market there would be no better time to purchase a 360 then now. The games that are coming out will be completely awesome and you’ll totally be missing out. This is definitely going to push the sales up on Microsoft’s console, making for more 360 owners and developers trying to make better games. This is the time to get a 360, so I’m asking you personally, please go buy one because you can’t miss out on Gears 2, Fable II, Left 4 Dead and all the other great games. Here are the new and improved 360 prices:
Xbox 360 Arcade $199
Xbox 360 $299
Xbox 360 Elite $399
Reason 7: Netflix
We talked about the New Xbox Experience earlier but we didn’t get into one of its best features. Netflix will be debuting on Xbox Live with the release of the new dashboard and will be exclusive to the 360. With the new Netflix system, Xbox Live gold member and Netflix subscribers will be able to stream over 10,000 different movies on your Xbox 360… for free. Not only that, you’ll be able to invite your friends over Live to watch the same movie you’re watching and everyone knows that watching movies with a friend is better then watching it all alone. Oh yea, did we mention it was free?
Reason 8: Fallout 3 and its exclusive DLC
Okay, we know that Fallout 3 might just be the best RPG ever created. With a massive world and so many places to explore the opportunities seem endless. Fallout 3 takes FPS combat and makes it so much better. Sure, you could go through the whole game, playing it like a normal fps, but you would definitely be missing out. The new VATS system allows players to ‘freeze’ the game and target an enemy on any part of his body. Then you’ll be watching a cinematic scene of you blowing the enemies head/arm/leg off. What can be better then that? On top of that it plays like a normal RPG with a number of different perks and upgrades, and Fallout 3 features a ‘karma system’ which gives you points depending on your good or bad actions. Fallout 3 is being developed by the team who created Oblivion, so we know this is going to be big. Oh and did we mention that Microsoft snagged some exclusive DLC for us 360 gamers in the future? Prepare for the release date of October 28, 2008.
Reason 9: Xbox Live
Well, maybe Xbox Live isn’t something ‘new’ and it isn’t some amazing game. But none can deny the fact that Xbox Live is the best online system around. Ever since launch Microsoft has given us an amazing online experience with the easiness and fluidity that Xbox Live is know for and no other console can provide. Sure, you might have to pay 5 bucks a month but don’t you think it’s worth it? Microsoft is always looking to improve our experience with new features and new content that appears almost every day, making sure that our online experience never gets old. Then you throw in the New Xbox Experience, which is coming, and Netflix support, we know that Microsoft is doing all they can to make our online experience the best it can be.
Reason 10: Fall of Arcade
We all remember the amazing online games that came out this summer: Braid, Geometry Wars 2, and Castle Crashers to name a few. The barrage of games that came to Xbox Live that came out that season were affectionately tagged as the Sumer of Arcade. Now Xbox Live will be attempting to pull out some more amazing games to satisfy our hungry Arcade needs. Xbox Live general manager, Marc Whitten, tells us:
"The debut of the new strategy proved to be a huge success, with the Summer of Arcade making August the highest grossing month to date. But the focus on quality games doesn’t stop with the Summer of Arcade. We have plenty more great titles coming out in the next few months and beyond that we think will continue to fuel this incredible momentum."
What we have coming is amazing. Remarkable games and new experiences will be explored which proves that this is the best time to be a 360 gamer. With more approaching over the next couple of years there would be no better time to invest in a 360 then now.
Don’t worry; we here at TGR aren’t all biased 360 fanboys. Stay tuned, in the next couple of weeks we’ll feature a PS3 and Wii version of this article. Until then holdout a little longer for the holiday season because it’s coming, and it’s going to be epic.