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    Impressions - New Xbox Experience
    Sunday, 23 November 2008
    360 on, signed into XBL, prompted with the update. A blink later and the thing had downloaded and installed. I'm a little bit shocked at the speed. It's always good to start on a high, so far so good.

    Now to create my Mii, sorry, avatar. It's all pretty standard really. You're Dr. Frankenstein for Generation Z. You can make your creation slim, although as much as I tried not skeletal, or plump them up a bit without actually making them fat. So there you have it, political correctness personified. There are other limitations in that unlike Nintendo's Mii's you can't choose to move facial features around. This pretty much limits you to making everyone look human, so you wont be seeing any Chewbaccas or Hitlers running around any time soon. Ginger people of the world rejoice, you are accepted by Microsoft unlike nasty cruel Nintendo.

    Look at Mii!

    One nice little feature that Miis have decided to do away with in their utopian dream is the ability to change clothes. Being the savvy consumers we are, not only can we have a mini version of ourselves but we can have a mini version of our capitalist materialistic habits. It's good to learn this stuff early in life; money equals happiness after all. Needless to say, the clothes selection is relatively limited. I give it a week before the micro transactions start offering themselves on the marketplace.

    Once you've impressed yourself onto your profile you'll notice your friends list has mutated into a lively avatar line-up. It looks pretty sleek, a nice touch being the avatars grouping together when they are partied up playing Gears of War 2 and the like. There is also the option to use your avatar as a gamerpic. It is disappointing that Microsoft have basically kicked old gamerpics to the curb, a feature where they were transferred onto the front of a plain white t-shirt for your avatar to wear would have been great. Themes have been jazzed up and suit the sleek new look. Aesthetically NXE is gorgeous. If Tricia Helfer was a user interface, she'd probably look like this.

    The next feature, my most anticipated, was the ability to scupper my 360's attempt to either deafen me or escape by launching itself, using its jet engine disk drive, through the closest open window. I decided to install Fable II, largely to see if I could make the painfully slow pause menu any smoother. It took it's sweet time to install but as a one off, and being a PS3 owner, it is an absolutely minuscule inconvenience. I started up the game and there was a noticeable difference. The menus were much quicker. I used to dread going into the menus but now it's silky smooth. Area load times are improved and in general the game moves at a much slicker pace. The guide is similarly as smooth and is a great improvement over the juttering blade system from before.

    I'm impressed with the update. It puts Microsoft in a very good light. They have completely overhauled an interface which, even though it had some slight niggles, really didn't scream for change. Sony have made massive strides with their Playstation updates recently and comparatively the XMB was a joy to use due to its speed and ease of use. Although I personally prefer the ad free, slightly more Spartan and much more freely customisable XMB, that is all it is; a personal preference. The New Xbox Experience is a great update and just makes you wonder how we lived with the old blade system.

    And the noise is gone. I'm so happy.
    posted by flameboy @ 22:02  
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