By Sam Coles:
The Xbox 360 is a brilliant console which has lasted for over 10 years which is a really long time for a console life span, the last console to last that long was the Atari 2600. I wanted to do a buying guide on the console that got me back into gaming. It’s hard to believe that the Xbox 360 is over 10 years old now and I want to walk you through the hardware, accessories and games I would highly recommend. Let’s get into it!
Now you have to be careful with the different models especially the early consoles. The reason why I say is that the 2005-2008 models don’t have HDMI ports you had to use the HD component cables and plus these models had a habit of overheating and melting the motherboard.
The models I would recommend are from 2009 and onwards I have the model from 2009 and it shares the same design as the early ones but it has a HDMI port and were more reliable, but the disc trays have a habit of getting stuck over time. These are cheapest models you can get but make sure you test them because people for strange reason didn’t treat them well. These models come in a variety of colours and different packages such as the Arcade which don’t bother because it doesn’t come with a hard drive, premium which comes with a 60 GB hard drive and the Elite which is black and comes with a 120 GB hard drive. I would recommend getting the elite for the hard drive space alone.
The next model is a slimmer and quieter model because the old 360’s are very loud when disc drive starts spinning and fan can get really loud as well. This model came out in 2011 with a nice black and shiny finish. They are very quiet and are very reliable, however they do not have a protective buffer for the disc tray so if you bump when it’s spinning the disc will get knocked out of place and will leave a ring mark on it. Just bare that in mind. This model has a 250 GB hard drive at most so get that version if you are interested.
Then there is a final model which came out in 2013 just before the Xbox One launched and it has a striking resemblance to the Xbox One in terms of its look. This is a good model as it comes with a 500 GB hard drive and is very reliable, but if you’re are tight with cash at the moment this is the most expensive model as it is the most recent, so I would recommend getting the models before it if you doing this on the cheap.
The controllers aren’t that different from each other but there is the wireless one of course which came with every 360, these take AA batteries so I would recommend getting a recharging pack or some rechargeable AA batteries like I have. You can get a wired controller if you’re not bothered about wireless which a decent reach if you’re playing in a living, plus it doubles as a controller for you PC if you game on that.
Now what you have to bear in mind with this generation of consoles is that save games take up a lot of room compared to the PS2 era so get a hard drive and plus you can download game digitally. I would recommend having a 120 GB at least for your 360 with the older models and they are very cheap these days. The hard drives are not universal with the different models as they changed the input with the updated consoles so bare that in mind when you’re out buying and specify what version you have. If you don’t want to get an official Xbox hard drive you can get external hard drives which I would recommend getting a 1TB hard drive.
Something you don’t use often but is very handy if you’re playing a game where you have to name characters or writing signs in games like Minecraft. You can plug in keyboards into your 360 which makes typing messages easier or when you have to name a character in a RPG. If you don’t want a massive keyboard taking up space you can get a small keypad that plugs into the bottom of your controller, but it does limit the use of your headset.
Here are some recommended games, now these games aren’t necessarily exclusive to the console just ones I own for the system which you can also get on PC and PS3.
Let’s start off with a heavy hitter, Halo 3. Halo 3 is one of the best Xbox 360 exclusives on the system with a fantastic campaign which can be played with 3 other friends either online or split screen. This game is great if you want to get some friends over for some co-op or vs action with beautiful graphics, awesome gameplay and great characters.
Modern Warfare Trilogy
Now I know we get a sigh from the gaming community when you say Call of Duty these days, but Call of duty was at its best during the Xbox 360 era and the Modern Warfare trilogy is brilliant. The Modern Warfare games have over the top campaigns where you can get into the action with great graphics and tight controls. If you’re looking for something that is loud and dumb pick these games up for some great popcorn entertainment.
Kingdoms of Amalur Reckoning
This game went unnoticed due to the fact that it came out a few months after Skyrim because it is an RPG in the same vein as the Elder Scrolls. This game was made by one of the lead designers who worked on The Elder Scrolls IV Oblivion and it gave me the same feeling that Oblivion gave me when I first played it. It has a beautiful art style which is cartoony and colourful, it reminds of World of Warcraft with its visuals. If you’re looking for a unique RPG then I would highly recommend it.
Another RPG like the Elder Scrolls from Capcom of all developers to make a game like this. Imagine this you take The Elder Scrolls, Shadow of the Colossus, Monster Hunter, Devil May Cry and Dark Souls and you get an interesting RPG. The combat is a joy in this game as it has the fast pace action from Devil May Cry and climbing mechanic from Shadow of the Colossus when you fight big enemies. Just take this into consideration this game is very brutal with its difficulty when you start off when you’re a low level that’s where the Dark Souls influence comes into play.
Grand Theft Auto IV
In my opinion I preferred this game with its story and don’t get me wrong I liked GTA V’s story, but it lacked something with its characters. Niko Belic is a great character who you can sympathise with because he is just trying to get by in life and if that means committing crime to support those who he loves he will. He’s not a completely morbid character he is very witty and provides great one liner’s to those who are pissing him off.
Metal Gear Rising Revengence
Now here is a great hack and slash game set in the Metal Gear universe, this was made by Platinum games that are most famous for the Bayonetta games. You play as the cybernetic ninja Raiden and you go through levels cutting enemies to pieces and the great aspect of this game is that you can cut enemies precisely this comes into play when you have to regain health.
Max Payne 3
I bought this game when it first came out I can play it over and over again where I can pretty much remember every line of dialogue off by heart. This is a great action game with John Woo style gun carter with the over the top diving in slow motion as you see bullets flying past and bits of wall exploding everywhere. It has an engaging narrative in a different and fresh setting of Brazil.
Driver San Francisco
I feel that this game underrated because I never hear anyone talk about and I don’t know why because it’s great concept for a driving game. This game takes place after the events of Driver 3 where Jericho is going on trail, but things go wrong and Tanner is in a car accident which puts him in a coma. You play in Tanner’s coma which he finds out that he has the ability to shift into different drivers and take control of them. This makes car chases interesting because if you’re losing them you can shift into a lorry up the road and ram them off the road.
Red Dead Redemption
Westerns is a setting that isn’t really explored with video games, I don’t see why it isn’t gun slinging action is perfect for games. Here is a game that caught everyone by surprise back in 2010 by being absolutely wonderful with its well written story and characters and a vast open world of you to explore. The gameplay is great whether you’re riding your horse or if you’re gunning down bandits or lawmen.