Our annual Week of Hate
is slowly grinding to a close, but we're not quite finished with it yet. No, before we let go, we’re going to fire one last parting shot across the bow of every console on the market. Actually, we’re going to fire 60 of them.
See, as much as we love games and the systems we play them on, the fact remains that no console (or PC) is perfect. In fact, every last one of them has a wealth of glaring flaws that deserve to be dragged out into the light and enthusiastically yelled at.
Above: A perfectly sane and rational individual
Enough chatter. Bring on the hatred!
For some reason the internet seems to think we at GamesRadar blindly adore the 360. Nonsense! We view it just as critically as every other system, and to prove it, we’ll tear it apart first.
Red Ring of Death:
Easily the most infamous, widespread technical glitch to ever strike a game console, the Red Rings represent a general hardware failure that can strike at seemingly any time, for no clear reason. Microsoft claims to have fixed the issue, but reports are still common – even in the GamesRadar offices – of 360s that red-ring, are replaced by Microsoft, and red-ring again, over and over, with no end in sight. Even those of us who’ve never had a problem with our consoles live in fear of the idea that someday, without warning, that evil red semi-anus will start flashing at us and we’ll be subjected to the same unending nightmare everyone else has been moaning about for years.
Above: The horror... the horror...
No built-in WiFi:
The PlayStation 3 now comes standard with built-in WiFi connectivity in both of its current configurations. The Wii featured it right out of its $250 gate. Hell, even the DS and PSP come with built-in WiFi, and they’re comparatively cheap handhelds. And yet somehow, nearly four years after the 360’s launch, Microsoft still sees wireless connectivity as a precious and rarefied commodity, worth sharing only with those willing to fork over an extra hundred bucks. Which reminds us…
Its accessories are all proprietary and insultingly expensive:
Think that 360 Arcade pack is a steal at $200? You might think differently once you realize that you’ll need to spend at least another $50 just for the privilege of saving your games on an overpriced memory card.
Above: The rationale for that 'overpriced' comment
Meanwhile, if you want to download any games off of Xbox Live Arcade, you’ll need a hard drive, which will run you either $99 or $149 for 60 GB or 120 GB of storage, respectively. And then of course, there’s the inexplicably costly Wireless Adaptor, which costs more by itself than it does to set up a home WiFi network.
Xbox Live is full of assholes:
There’s trash talk, and then there’s what you’ll hear during an average play session on Live. Does this actually need any further clarification, or should we stand around screaming like drunken Nazi skinheads until you get the picture?
Above: Xbox Live
Noisy DVD drive: Got a surround-sound system and no neighbors? Great, maybe then you can drown out some of the roars and hisses emitted by the fan and drive motors of earlier 360 models, which were presumably fine-tuned in a vast subterranean wind tunnel by deaf engineers.
Advergaming: Disguising ads as games is a novel way for companies to get their message to customers, and if the games themselves are free (or at least really cheap) and actually fun, then we don’t mind so much. But for every passable Doritos Dash of Destruction, there’s an awful Burger King Big Bumpin’ and a seemingly endless supply of creepy, creepy Sneak Kings.
Above: So that's where they live
It might be easy to ignore them, but the fact that crappy advergames even exist is puzzling; why would any advertiser want gamers to associate their product with a lousy game? The Yaris game, for example, probably did more damage to gamers’ perception of the car than it did to raise their awareness of it. The lesson here is clear: insult our intelligence with crappy games, and the thought of whatever you’re trying to sell will leave a bad taste in our mouths.
Above: PLEASE BUY OUR CAR NOW
Shitty d-pad: Tried playing Street Fighter IV lately? Yeah, so have we. Unfortunately we haven’t had much success, because the default controller’s mushy d-pad keeps turning our shoryukens into standing punches, our flash kicks into feeble jumps and all of our online opponents into Ken.*
*OK so maybe not that last one.
DRM for XBLA games: If you’re one of the unfortunate thousands who’ve watched a 360 red-ring and sent it back to Microsoft for repairs, you might have noticed some problems when you tried to play the games you paid to download. Microsoft released a fix for the problem last year, but the fact that there are additional hoops to jump through even after you’ve gone through the trauma of a red-ring incident is more than a little infuriating.
Microsoft pays for platform exclusives: Are you wondering when the PS3 version of Grand Theft Auto IV is going to get its own exclusive, downloadable episodes? Then you should probably pay more attention to the industry, because that’s not going to happen anytime soon. In a bid to become the definitive platform on which to play GTA, Microsoft floated Rockstar Games $50 million to produce add-on content exclusively for the 360. The Lost and Damned is the first of several planned episodes to come out of that agreement.
Above: A taste of what $50 million can buy a console
It’s not limited to GTA IV, either, as Microsoft established early on that it was willing to pay developers for 360-exclusive games and add-on content. How despicable is it? That depends on whether you think of it as Microsoft paying developers to create new things, or as Microsoft paying developers to not create new things for the competition. Either way, Microsoft’s making an effort to keep games out of the hands of those who didn’t buy its system, and that’s not cool.
No Achievements in community games: There’s a very good chance that some of you are completely unaware of the Xbox Live Community Games service, which enables independent developers to upload and distribute their games through Live. There are numerous catches, of course, one of which is that the developers can’t add Achievement points to anything they create.
Above: It's fun, but will Achievement whores ever play it?
While it’s understandable that Microsoft would think some “developers” would immediately abuse the system and go nuts inflating gamerscores, there are a lot of great Community games that are being completely ignored just because Achievement whores don’t think they’re worth the time or money. You’d think it’d be worth it if a modest 50 or so points could convince more people to buy games like CarneyVale Showtime, but Microsoft apparently disagrees.