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WiFi Connection - suddenly not so special

Discussion in 'General Video Game Discussion' started by Doctor Oak, May 29, 2006.

  1. Doctor Oak

    Staff Member Overlord

    To those living under a rock this last week, I got myself a 360 on my B-day and am thoroughly happy with it. I have to admit, when I bought my original Xbox it kinda came with a "I just paid out about £80 in total just to play one game (San Andreas) :/" guilty feeling.

    With the 360, it's a case of "I've spent about £400+ on this already and I couldn't be happier". The games are pretty cool (Oblivion is your new God, and Tomb Raider Legend is a great return to form on any system but actually looks the part on the 360) but overall, I have to say that it's the system itself that I get the most enjoyment from.

    For starters, it looks fantastic. The original Xbox interface was clunky and fugly - it almost yelled at you "please! play a game, quick!". I could seriously play with the 360 'blades' all day. Whether it be mindlessly flipping through them for no good reason or effect or customising the look the themes and wallpapers. The interface itself is just so simple to navigate as well, made all the easier with the Xbox Guide button in the middle of the controller that brings up a menu whether you're on the Dashboard or playing a game and gives you the option to modify settings, play music or even exit a game or shut down the system.

    But tip of the top of it all has to be Xbox Live.

    Microsoft have finally made it free to access and use (for the most part), more than likely under the pressure that it just wouldn't be feasible to expect EVERYONE to pay just to connect in the first place, a necessity to get system upgrades etc and more importantly, essential to play original Xbox games.

    You cannot, however, play games online without paying. You get a free month to kick you off but after that, it's time to shell out for more. Easy enough to do so though, if you can't credit card it then just go down to GAME or whatever and get a pre-paid subscription card to punch the code in for. (MMOs require a seperate monthly fee as well, but you don't need Xbox Live Gold for those, just their own subscription - so if you're only going to play FFXI online, then no worries. Otherwise :/)

    Nintendo's WiFi Connection is, of course, completely free for any game and will remain as such until a third party finally gets ballsy enough to say "well, actually... we need a bit of extra cash". But so far, that's the biggest advantage.

    Nintendo touts the WFC as 'easy to set up'. With XBL, you either plug it into your computer/cable box with an Ethernet cable or connect to a wireless Access Point (But you need to get the wireless adaptor) and, assuming that your internet is actually set up to allow another service to use it, that's it - you're connected to Xbox Live automatically for free - and what's more, as a default you'll STAY connected to it and have games communicate over the webs automatically for scoreboards etc.

    So far I've had more troubles trying to get the DS online than I have with the 360 - and I've also used it at least as much in a week as I've used the WFC since AC in December.

    And of course, the games just use it better. You have your online races in PGR 3 just as you would in Mario Kart (only in a PROPER racing game) and you have your shootouts in HALO 2 just as you do in Metroid Hunters but whereas the DS ends there, the 360 takes it further. Both free and paid-for additional downloads for new tracks, Oblivion missions, HALO maps etc.

    And that's all before you take into account the massive marketplace that has a metric shitload of free HQ E3 trailers, game demos, themes, gamerpics and even movie trailers. Or the Arcade, full of more simple but equally fun arcady games - with a free trial for all the games so you can play them and taste them before splashing out on your paid points for them.

    Certainly, when Nem challenged me to a game of Hunters today, I kinda felt ".... I wish I was playing this on the 360 instead..."

    Of course, the Wii promises us a downloadable array of games that will knock the pants off the XBL Arcade and will have the downloadable content - in an easier to obtain system thanks to WiiConnect24 for that matter - but game trailers? demos? Noooope.

    There's also the matter of Friend Codes - quickly becoming a major pain in the arse as you begin to pick up a whole collection of them from every single game (not to mention they change when you change systems). With the XBL GamerTag, you have your Tag and that's it. You use that and you stick with it. Not only are they a pain in the arse, but Friend Codes also limit who you play against. Whilst it means you can avoid playing people like Leeroy Jenkins or Chocolate Milk Kid, it also means that Nintendo et al get very lazy in giving you a mode to actually play strangers... and NOT include such morons. It's a case of play your friends, or play the ph00lz, one or the other with no middle ground.

    Overall, i'm very dissillusioned with the WFC right now - something that will either only be lifted or compounded by D/P's release later in the year. Right now, however, I'd much rather stick to Xbox Live - and hope that the Wii can only match even half of what Microsoft has acheived so well with XBL.
  2. Linkachu

    Linkachu Hero of Pizza
    Staff Member Administrator

    Friend Code:
    Not sure that's 100% true. Originally Ninty said you'd be able to download DS demos via the Wii, and unless they've since stated that that's not true anymore I'm gonna assume it is. Maybe the demos will be minimal (as they currently are at DS download spots) but if the ability is there who's to say they won't improve on it?

    Anyways, as for DS WFC vs XBL - what were you expecting? 360 games can hold MUCH more space than DS games, so right off you know it'd have better online modes (or at least should). As for unlocking new game content, DS somewhat does have that ability (ie. new AC WW items), just to a much lesser extent. Then there's simple fact that WFC for DS is handheld, not a console. Its weaker, has less functions, BUT can be played anywhere with a wifi connection. I can take my DS around town and access open wifi connections in several areas - no TV required.

    All in all, you can compare DS online to 360 online but it's still handheld online verses console. The entire purpose of a handheld is to be portable afterall, which the WFC for DS does just fine. The Wii's online network will undoubtly be much better than the DS for that matter. How much better, or how it'll match up against XBL, has yet to be seen. Who's to say how many different online modes SSBB will have?

    Friend Codes are bittersweet IMO. They have their pluses but obvious negatives, too. Since I haven't used 360's XBL I can't really comment on how much better it is, but the freedom sounds handy.

    Now, question. If you have XBox Live Gold do you simply pay for it, or do you need to pay extra for every game you use for it?
  3. Doctor Oak

    Staff Member Overlord

    You only pay for the Xbox Live subscription - every non-mmorpg XBL game will use that 'free'.

    Sony's system on the PS2 was that you paid for every individual game - and is likely to be the same on the PS3. Though rumours have circulated that they're going to do a rip-off of Ninty's central free hub. In which case, Microsoft would probably respond by scrapping XBL Gold.
  4. Linkachu

    Linkachu Hero of Pizza
    Staff Member Administrator

    Friend Code:
    Sorry if I sounded snappy. I'm just too poor to afford a 360 and/or XBL, and DS has been "the little handheld that could" for me. The whole "free online" thing really helps jobless Uni students, even if it means less power/functions ^^;

    I still don't know anyone IRL with a 360 so I don't have any first-hand experience with one - aside from demos of Kong and Tomb Raider at stores. But demo set-ups always suck. The controller is stuck up against the unit giving you barely any room to play :p

    Having the paid system is probably one of the reasons that their online can have so many functions, though. If they went to a free hub, would they keep all of those extras or have to cut them?

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