xBox owners, Impart your knowledge to me!

I might have purchased an xBox at the weekend. Possibly. With Fable 2. Perhaps. It might even be the Elite model... (well, I have a dirty great full HD TV, I needed something to use those bloody HDMI connectors on the back...and now FFXIII is coming out for it...)

I actually got a fairly decent deal...HMV were doing the Elite with Fable 2 and FIFA'09 free. I immediately went to Game and swapped FIFA for a second handset (and they were utterly unshocked with the move, I suspect they see things like that all the time). I then goaded Gill to drive home faster (FASTER!!!) Getting it all set up was fairly simple, as I could just ignore most of the associated component wires, and instead just just the HDMI cable and the fucking enormous power block monolith. Slightly dissapoined to find no integrated wifi (more on that later), so created an offline account, chucked in Fable 2, and began my epic journey of heroism, discovery, petty violence and theft starring Babychaos and his faithful hound DeathReaver (who quite likes chasing rubber balls).

My question to all current xBox owners is what else can this thing do? I need to get it online, however the offical M$ wifi adapter costs £60!?! There must be a cheaper way of doing that, surely? My current line of thought is a wifi access point and a short length of CAT5.

Live Gold worth it? What do you get on Silver? As far as I can work out thats shop/patch access, and voice, but no online play? Is anyone here on Gold at the moment?

I'm guessing it can operate as a DVD player as well? I think I asked this before, but what are the options for playing video to a TV? Can I move media from my PC to the xBox (given it has a 120gig HDD)?

As far as games goes my plan is to work my way through a selection of the back catalogue, utilizing the bargain bins and re-sell options at various shops to save some cash.


Um... network access is going to be a pain. You could but the insanely overprices wifi adaptor, or you could go for a wifi bridge from someone like netgear that would probably cost about the same, but would allow you to plug other things into it. The cheap (but ugly) option would be to run some cat5/6 down from the study and plug it in directly, you'd get better bandwidth that way too.

The only advantage to Gold membership is online play. I have gold, EMW doesn't - I don't know about anyone else. You'd probably like playing FPSs online though - the controller is mince compared to a mouse/keyboard combo, but you get integrated voice for free, so you can bitch-talk to eight-year-olds as you spawn-camp them if you like. Not my thing, but I can see it working for you. :)

As for video, it'll play xvid/divx and a few other formats, but (to the best of my knowledge) you can't copy them to the box - you need to stream them from a PC. You also need special software running on that PC; Vista will do it out of the box, as will Windows media centre edition. I think XP will with Media Player 11, or something - I don't remember. There are a couple of third party doodads that will do it as well. I used TwonkeyMedia on my linux box, but it might be available for windows, too.

Oh, yes, it's a DVD player too. And it'll upscale to HD as well (and do a better job of it than my £300 denon upscaling DVD player,) so you should notice a significant viual improvement when watching DVDs. Not as good as actual HD media, but a lot better than vanilla DVD.

AggroBoy's picture

Cheers for the answers!

Hmm...eBuyer have access points for £23. I wouldn't really be happy with a CAT lead down my stairs, or out of the office window and down either (I've just got rid of the old TV ariel that did just that!). I shall have a scout around town at lunctime and see what there is.

I can't imagine using the controller for FPS...I have enough trouble controlling the camera now with my right hand on Fable. Also, given how little FPS I've played recentl, I rather suspect it will be the 8-year old bitch-talking me, while I swear at the TV.

It looks like you get voice comms on Silver Live? Is that from a Friends list or something like that?

Good news about the DVD...I can finally remove the cheapy one we bought in Cardiff!

babychaos's picture

If you're buying an Access Point, make sure it'll work as a bridge client (different makes will have different terminology for that.) Most will these days, but a couple of years ago you had to be careful when picking one, and often make sure that both sides of the bridge were from same manufacturer. Netgear should be a pretty safe option, as long as you get one of their current generation.

AggroBoy's picture

Pete, Hexy (Jo) said to post this up:

brainwipe's picture

I don't have gold I've never seen the point in it you can buy stuff and get the demos on silver (though you have to wait a few days for some of the popular game demos) and I know so few people on gold it seems pointless to waste all that money to get multiplayer when I'm unlikely to use it. Th

The PC Gamer in me also feels it's a bit of a con to charge you for something you should get for free. I wonder how long microsoft will maintain that given their competition does it for free and the pc is never likely to take to paying for multiplayer except in the very special case of MMO's.

Evilmatt's picture

Don't buy GTA4 for the 360, the PC version is going to have better graphics and expanded multiplayer. And it's out in only 3 weeks.

brainwipe's picture

After a look round town, and taking on board some of Aggro's (extremely useful) side notes about Wifi bridges I've capitulated and gotten the M$ USB adapter. I can't find any confirmation that the cheapy ones on eBuyer will work with my current router...

Thats a pretty good deal on the Gold cards. The current plan is that Gill may well be getting a 2nd hand xBox and Fable too, so we may be capable of online co-op'ing it...

/added. To be honest GTA4 doesn't really appeal to me. I found Vice City and San Andreas a bit...lacklustre. They tried to be too many things, and ended up watering down the core experience...

babychaos's picture

Mills put me onto some bloody cheap Gold cards.

I've always been a silver man personally.

Nibbles's picture

Pete and Repeat were posting on the internet...

babychaos's picture

Thanks for the heads-up Rob, I was seriously considering picking it up for the 360.

AggroBoy's picture

Right, 3 days of cold / tonsilitis have completed Fable. Excellent game by the way, and I can see myself playing through it again at some point and trying a different technique (possibly less evil...)

I now need to get together some more games, and I'd like some recommendations from those with more knowledge of the back-catalogue. What I've discovered so far is that;

1) I really struggle using the right analogue to aim (as per pretty much all FPS's and sandbox-types). I've tried a few demos (Crackdown, Shadowrun) and anything other than the keyboard/mouse feels wrong

2) Blue Dragon is a HUGE dissapointment. Listed as being a FF-type game, it has far too much Dragonball-Z for anyones liking.

3) Most RPG's on there have a pretty poor review

4) The Pure demo was actually really good...

Ideally I'd like to get stuff off the budget range, as I have a couple of years of material on there, and there must be some decent stuff. The one that has caught my eye so far is Dead Rising...anyone played that?

babychaos's picture

Not really constructive but bloody hell, mate. Sounds like you've been hit for six! Do you find it difficult gaming when you're ill?

brainwipe's picture

From an RPG perspective, Blue Dragon was pretty poor, as was Enchanted Arms. I really liked Lost Odyssey though - you can probably pick that one up cheap by now.

I thought Dead Rising was crap. You're welcome to borrow my copy if you want to play it though.

AggroBoy's picture

Rob - not really. I was bunged up, which is no biggie, and tonsilitis for me is not a vicious thing, its 2 days of a really sore throat (my tonsils work according to spec, they stop infection going further down into the lungs, rather than the tonsilitis other people seem to get which knocks them sideways). So I spent the last 3 days wrapped in a blanket on the sofa, drinking tea and eating bacon sarnies...and sounding like ET underwater.

Aggro - wouldn't mind borrowing it. What put you off the game? I'll look up Lost Odyssey...

babychaos's picture

I think my biggest complaint was the constant need to take stupid bloody photos of everything. The zombie fighting mechanics are generally pretty good, but but the game just doesn't put enough emphasis on that and, instead, makes you do 'missions' (usually taking a suitably exciting photo of something) and get involved in annoying boss fights (which are generally against other humans.) Basically I thought it was a terrible missed opportunity. I'll bring it round next time I'm at yours.

AggroBoy's picture

The demo didn't cover a boss-fight, so didn't see that bit.

Lost Odyssey looks good...cheers for the recommendation!

babychaos's picture

I really enjoyed Assassin's Creed if available for cheap then well worth a go.

Nibbles's picture

I've heard mixed things about AC...apparently the later game gets very repetitive?

I also know of at least one person who bought it "as they like the music"... he was referring to the advert, and Massive Attacks "Teardrop". I could have saved him a fair bit of money!

babychaos's picture

There's quite an element of grind to it, but having said that it's good fun enjoyable grind. The main issue I had with the game is the hill which each and every fucking mission starts from.

The Escapist review: is pretty fair.

Nibbles's picture

Assassins Creed has a wonderful engine and gorgeous graphics they just should have put a bit of extra effort on the mission stuff.

It is fun but you do the same three missions again and again.

That being said the parcour scramble over buildings mechanic is awesome but it seems to be where the majority of the dev effort went leaving out some more varied gameplay later on. It's still fun but it's a 7 out of 10 game good but not great.

Tell you what, I'll dig out my copy that's currently gathering dust somewhere and lend it to you.

Bioshock is quite good fun but if you are not down with the right stick aiming mechanic perhaps it's not for you. Same for Dead space really.

Fallout 3 has been getting rave reviews but I've not played it yet (my copy should arrive today).

Call of Duty 4 is awesome but you might do better with the PC version.

I really enjoyed Mass Effect but I suspect it is something of an aquired taste. The action stuff is a little off but still fairly fun.

Saints Row one and two are good if you like gta like games they have an advantage over GTA4 in that you don't have to pick up your bloody cousin every 5 minutes to go bowling and they have fun physics rather than accurate can't drive physics like gta4. Saints row is on budget and has slightly less stuff than the new version (they are essentially the same game but with 2 having had a bit more polish and new mission types shoe horned in).

I can't think of any others right now.

Evilmatt's picture

COD4 and Fallout are awesome on the PC and I mean Awe.

brainwipe's picture

That's the thing with the 360 really, there are a tonne of good games, but most of them are out on the PC as well - and better.

Having said that - there's something to be said for a big screen and surround sound, even if it means slightly lower resolution. I played CoD4 on the 360 rather than the PC for that reason (I have some weird internal criteria for what constitutes a "console game" and "PC game" that even I don't understand, and I always buy games on the "appropriate" platform,) and it totally blew me away.

AggroBoy's picture

COD4 was great on the 360 maybe it's the whole immersive story aspect. The whole SAS Ghillie Suit mission was just amazing, it really gave a feeling of being in the thick of it.

One other advantage in these times of DRM and phone home software is you don't get that on the 360/ps3/wii they use their own slightly less destructive copy protection. I've never bought a 360 game then found the drm prevents me from playing it, that happens quite a lot on the PC these days.

I would concur that some games are just better on a console, I'm not quite sure why either. It's like oblivion and fallout3 with both of those I felt console was the way to go ... for no valid feeling other than gut. Orange box was PC. RTS's PC usually.

Evilmatt's picture

I picked up Assassins Creed and Lost Odyssey for cheap at the weekend (£10 each...). haven't really started Lost Odyssey yet, apart from to confirm that its Final Fantasy under a different name (and its comical how hard they have had to go to avoid some of the copyright'ed stuff)

'Sin's Creed...the movement is very good, the combat is a little...repetitive. Also, why the hell did they have to put some kind of futuristic bullshit overlay on it? What was wrong with actually playing an assassin from the crusades period, as opposed to some kind of pseudo-bullshit "genetic memory" version of one? I've completed the second assassination with that so far...

babychaos's picture

The futuristic bullshit is one of the reasons I gave up on this after one evening, the second being running enormous distances pointlessly to do anything.

fish's picture

The futuristic thing is one of the worst plot devices I've ever seen! My main enjoyment of the game was in the running about scouting out shit etc... Have you come across the templars yet? Those cunts win the annoying award for the actual in game stuff.

Nibbles's picture

Yeah I don't know why they did that futuristic bullshit, it didn't really add much to the story. Maybe it was the only way they could explain their lead characters American accent.

I found the stupid horse thing annoying, gallop along at proper horse speed and every soldier in a ten mile radius instantly yells "ASSASSIN!" and comes to eviscerate you. Is it only assassins that have mastered the canter do all other horse riders in the pseudo holy land, where every town is a few minutes away, not know how to make them do more than a slow trot. Why have a horse in the first place if it can only move at walking pace most of the time.

I found the running across roof tops leaping from building to building stabbing rooftop guards through the eye with the flying stabby maneuver great fun.

Those bloody beggars and crazy drunks that annoy and occasionally hit you are a bloody annoyance the number of missions I failed due to one of those guys hitting me while I was trying to stalk someone against the clock was too many to count and you can't even hit them back without getting guards all over you.

Evilmatt's picture

I have apparently killed 2 templars so far, though not actually seen any. They seem to die when I am running from the guards.

I've worked out that you can grab and throw the beggars without any repercussions. It's probably not going to be long before I start "experimenting" with the assassinate option instead though.

The horse stuff is daft. I've taken to charging along at full tilt and just ignoring the soldiers/pedestrians etc. I also find it peculiar that you can do a leap of faith into an always well-placed bale of hay to hide, and absolutely no-one sees you plummet like a stone in front of their eyes.

babychaos's picture

Agree, I found that good gallop through the country generally meant that you lost most of the guards who were upset with you for not walking.

The templars are the vaguely challenging scraps (the ones where the instant kill counter is not the only thing you do, you have to do the grab counter as well).

Nibbles's picture

Running them over with the horse was OK but every now and again they bunched up enough to knock you off. It was just a petty annoyance that seemed to serve no purpose.

The different weapons were a bit of a mystery in the game, throwing knives and swords fair enough, stealth assassin blade ok, but what were the other two for they just slightly altered the moves when fighting but were no more or less effective than just your sword.

Evilmatt's picture

Fallout 3 is very good it looks very nice and the game is pretty fun. I'm a gun wielding goody two shoes scientist with the bloody mess perk that means my enemies mostly explode into chunks bloody flesh when I shoot them. I shot one guy got a critical and his head legs and arms all separated from his torso and flew in different directions spraying blood, all in slow motion, AWESOME!

The V.A.T.S. (Vaulttec Assisted Targeting System the multi aimed shooty system) thing is good though it does tend to mean most fights are:1)Use shoot them in the face/knees/elbows/antenna as many times as possible 2)watch the cool shooting sequence 3)if any survive run backwards taking manual potshots till the action meter recharges enough for a second V.A.T.S. volley. It's not really an fps mechanic as such ... so maybe this is a xbox game for pete.

Evilmatt's picture

I'm going to wait and see how Fallout is recieved in 2-3 months time. A lot of games (GTA4, Spore) have not lived up to the initial hype, and also I'm going to try and be frugal on buying games...

babychaos's picture

There is a lot of stuff out at the moment it is a time where proper game planning is important.

Waiting is probably not a bad idea, some of these things are good on intial impression but long term not so much, I do wonder how reliable reviews are likely to be with so much stuff hitting at once game journos might well be cutting corners.

Evilmatt's picture

I've played a couple of evenings of Fallout3 and I have a Mini Nuke Launcher and Iguana on a Stick! Need I say more.

I wasn't sure Fallout was going to work as an fps but fortunately the transition doesn't seem to have cost any of the genius of the first two. The VATS thing is weird in an fps but is comparable to bullet time in Max Payne. Obviously this isn't a cod4/cs hardcore fps it is still a conversion from a turn based combat system but more fluid.

I'm playing a more morally neutral sneaky thief character (my karma yo-yos as I do something good for someone and then rob them.)

I'm running it on an 8800GTS at 1280x1024 4xAA 8xAF on XP.

I'd definitely recommend it.

fish's picture

I've not played it too much yet, but I'd concur that it's definately a game with promise.

When you're looking over a massive apocolyptic terrain, with the scattered remnants of a destroyed civilisation and in the distance you can see some raiders fighting or some mutant to avoid, you really do feel a little bit small in a nasty world.

baron's picture

The radio is also interesting both for atmosphere taking a leaf out of the gta book for it's random insertions often leading to missions or commenting on things I've done in world.

Evilmatt's picture

Loving the look of Fallout 3 but will need an upgrade before I go there.

brainwipe's picture

Once Fable 2 is done and dusted I shall have a look at Fallout for the 360. Saints Row 2 is damn tempting as well...

Not played that much Fable but VERY impressed with it so far.

Nibbles's picture

I've heard the PC version of fallout is hampered a bit by bad control conversion since it is a console designed game but the PC looks the best of the three platforms ... assuming you have the hardware to run it :D

Now I have my bad arse 37" 1080p telly I need to fire fable 2 up again and take a look at it. Fallout 3 looked awesome on it the slow motion cinematic of a flying plunger taking the head off a raider now looks that much more vivid.

Evilmatt's picture

Apparently the PS3 version of Fallout is flawed as well.

New tele Matt? Is my new screen in any way responsible?

babychaos's picture

controls seem fine to me for fallout on the pc

baron's picture

Your screen may have given me a push to do something I've been meaning to do for ages :D I also used it as an good time to sort out some proper TV furniture and storage stuff as soon as I can finish putting it all together and am in early enough to consider drilling holes in the walls I think it's going to look much better.

I had my doubts but so far I'm glad I did shell out for a new fancy set that actually supports HD :D Although my 360 is the previous non HDMI version I'm going through the VGA which shouldn't make too much difference.

I'm going to be interested to see what the PS3 is like when my HDMI cable turns up.

Evilmatt's picture

I rebound a couple of keys for Fallout but haven't noticed any control issues. I haven't tried console controls but I'm not a fan of them for fps anyway.

fish's picture

I wish they'd gone with a slightly more extensive selection of music in fallout, I'm getting tired of listening to "I don't want to set the world on fire" every couple of minutes. The 50's music adds to the atmosphere sure but they seem to have about 4 tracks on a loop. And other than GNR none of the other radio stations I've found play music, unless you count the american national anthem (which we don't), and don't make much for background.

Evilmatt's picture

Agreed, I've just turned the radio off.

fish's picture