Ok before I start this I want you to know two things. Yes I am a PS3 owner, and I don’t have an Xbox. However, I am VERY fond of the Xbox and am seriously contemplating getting one for myself (For the second time, my first one Red Ringed on me and I raged). I believe Xbox Live to be the best console online gaming experience to date and lets face it, 90% of my friends have one.
So yesterday, the New Xbox Experience came out (or as it’s now known, the NXE, not be confused with the Playstations XMB). Basically the NXE is the much anticipated Dashboard update, which every single Xbox owner has been wetting their pants over. Of course, I always like to look at everything from a critics perspective (I’m a moody, arrogant person. What do you expect?) so here’s my personal opinion on Microsoft's latest attempt at securing the market.
Ok so my first impressions. It’s pretty, very pretty. It’s what the dashboard should have always been. It’s slick, sexy and HD. It’s awesome. The new interface is simple, and very well spaced out (although I dread to think how it looks to people without a HD TV over 19”), I love the whole sliding from behind thing that’s going on and the new achievement list is brilliant.
Avatars, although as pointless as they were on the Wii (at the present time that Is, no doubt Microsoft will pull something out of their sleeves on a later date) are pretty and a lot more complex than the god-awful Mii’s and serve a very good point. I love the fact that your friends are represented by their avatar in your friends list, and that their online status is judged by whether their asleep or awake. Nice little touch.
Xbox Live marketplace is the same as before, the new feature of being able to install games to reduce loading times is better than the current system on the Ps3 although Sony have nothing to worry about as disc space still hasn’t been increased. What I really want to know is, how is the Xbox HANDLING this? Yea It can do HD gaming but how the hell has it managed an interface this complex? The Dashboard was always rather jumpy I found and never really worked, yet now the Xbox button brings up the old dashboard as the bloody minor interface for when your in game! Insane!
So well done Microsoft, I consider this to be one of your strongest achievements since launch. Although, you COULD have done this at first you know, you weren't really being stopped…
It doesn't change my opinion on the Xbox as a whole, I still personally like the PS3 better but it’s certainly easier on the eye and now the software finally reflects the hardware.
But of course, it’s still the Xbox, and my good friend Bucko could not have made my day any other way when he said this:
“My new Xbox experience involves a ring of red.”