big, black, and heavy

I’ve neglected to mention that I got an XBox, and XBox Live, over a week ago. I previously maintained that Panzer Dragoon Orta would win me over to this monstrously giant XBox machine, and while that is still partly true, I just couldn’t hold out much longer. The allure of online play was too strong. Sure, Sony has had the online adapter available for over a month now — but you’d be hard-pressed to find one. Sony fucked up big. They had a chance to lure a fair amount of people to their online services, but with the low shipment volume that they had, they’ve shot themselves in the foot. Their hype is gone. I’ve heard few stories about online gaming on the PS2; but tons about people’s experiences with Live.

I was surprised by how well Live worked out of the box. I was expecting some annoying configuration issues with my router/firewall set-up, and I feared that setup would be a bitch. None of that happened. I just took the Live disc, put it in, and without any hassle the XBox told me I was up and connected, and then asked me if I would like to subscribe to Live. That was it. Plain and simple. No problems whatsoever. If only all Microsoft OSes worked this great.

After the tedium of entering my credit card info with a standard controller (the only real problem), I was up and playing MotoGP (online version came with Live) and MechAssault (got it at same time… there was a $20 discount if you get it alongside the Live Starter Kit.) MotoGP is a good and fun racer, but the real gem here is MechAssault. I played a bit of MechAssault back at E3, and I wasn’t particularly impressed. I thought it was OK, but nothing stellar. Regardless of my initial feelings, I purchased it anyway, because it was either that or Unreal Championship — which interested me even less than MA. I’m glad that I did. It took a while to get into MechAssault (ugly UI!) so my first impressions weren’t much better than those from E3, but after spending a bit of time with it I began to truly appreciate its level of detail and sheer depth. It lends itself to online play extremely well. It’s frantic and explosive, but, at the same time, remains strategic and balanced. Definitely fun. I’ll be playing this one for a while, no doubt.

And if anyone out there is going to be playing as well: you can find me using the “gamer tag” n0wak. I need to bulk up my friends list, as it’s desperately desolate. Perhaps there are certain parallels to my own non-XBox-related life in there somewhere, but that’s another issue altogether.

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